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John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Dancers are seen in the movie "Fame."
Director Kevin Tancharoen's remake of Alan Parker's 1980 film "Fame" (MGM) jettisons most of the elements that rated the original an "O" classification from the Office for Film and Broadcasting. But, though the proceedings are tidier, the results are mostly tepid.

The premise remains the same: an ensemble drama with music following the ups and downs of a class of gifted students through four years at a New York City high school for the performing arts, an institution meant to replicate the real-life academy that currently goes by the unwieldy name the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Providing the main romantic angle are shy would-be actress Jenny (Kay Panabaker) and happy-go-lucky singer Marco (Asher Book), who build a pleasantly innocent relationship.

Preppy Denise (Naturi Naughton) longs to leave her classical piano studies behind and take up hip-hop singing, but her uptight dad (Julius Tennon) will have none of it. Malik (Collins Pennie), a streetwise aspiring actor-rapper, has to grapple with his equally clueless mom (Michael Hyatt) who kills his buzz by insisting that he pursue a more practical career.

Guiding the growth of these artistic sprouts are a group of dedicated teachers including acting coach Mr. Dowd (Charles S. Dutton), music instructor Mr. Cranston (Kelsey Grammer) and dance maven Ms. Kraft (Bebe Neuwirth).

But the sketchy plot only serves to string together the musical set pieces which see the exuberant students dancing on the lunchroom tabletops and staging an elaborate Halloween party in costumes reminiscent of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Among these offerings, Catholic viewers will particularly appreciate a lively rendition of the traditional hymn "What an Awesome God We Serve."

The sleekly mounted numbers are enjoyable enough, but anyone looking for more than a pleasant diversion will likely feel that the creators of this latest "Fame" fail to earn their diplomas.

The film contains scenes involving suicide, a sexual situation, underage drinking, at least one use of profanity, a half-dozen crude and a few crass terms. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Marie-Rose Durocher: Canada was one diocese from coast to coast during the first eight years of Marie-Rose Durocher’s life. Its half-million Catholics had received civil and religious liberty from the English only 44 years before. When Marie-Rose was 29, Bishop Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal. He would be a decisive influence in her life. 
<p>He faced a shortage of priests and sisters and a rural population that had been largely deprived of education. Like his counterparts in the United States, he scoured Europe for help and himself founded four communities, one of which was the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Its first sister and reluctant co-foundress was Marie-Rose. </p><p>She was born in a little village near Montreal in 1811, the 10th of 11 children. She had a good education, was something of a tomboy, rode a horse named Caesar and could have married well. At 16, she felt the desire to become a religious but was forced to abandon the idea because of her weak constitution. At 18, when her mother died, her priest brother invited her and her father to come to his parish in Beloeil, not far from Montreal. For 13 years she served as housekeeper, hostess and parish worker. She became well known for her graciousness, courtesy, leadership and tact; she was, in fact, called “the saint of Beloeil.” Perhaps she was too tactful during two years when her brother treated her coldly. </p><p>As a young woman she had hoped there would someday be a community of teaching sisters in every parish, never thinking she would found one. But her spiritual director, Father Pierre Telmon, O.M.I., after thoroughly (and severely) leading her in the spiritual life, urged her to found a community herself. Bishop Bourget concurred, but Marie-Rose shrank from the prospect. She was in poor health and her father and her brother needed her. </p><p>She finally agreed and, with two friends, Melodie Dufresne and Henriette Cere, entered a little home in Longueuil, across the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal. With them were 13 young girls already assembled for boarding school. Longueuil became successively her Bethlehem, Nazareth and Gethsemani. She was 32 and would live only six more years—years filled with poverty, trials, sickness and slander. The qualities she had nurtured in her “hidden” life came forward—a strong will, intelligence and common sense, great inner courage and yet a great deference to directors. Thus was born an international congregation of women religious dedicated to education in the faith. </p><p>She was severe with herself and by today’s standards quite strict with her sisters. Beneath it all, of course, was an unshakable love of her crucified Savior. </p><p>On her deathbed the prayers most frequently on her lips were “Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Sweet Jesus, I love you. Jesus, be to me Jesus!” Before she died, she smiled and said to the sister with her, “Your prayers are keeping me here—let me go.” </p><p>She was beatified in 1982.</p> American Catholic Blog It is in them [the saints] that Christian love becomes credible; they are the poor sinners’ guiding stars. But every one of them wishes to point completely away from himself and toward love…. The genuine saints desired nothing but the greater glory of God’s love… <br />—Hans Urs von Balthasar

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