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REVIEW: Holiday movie suggestions for your family

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)–For those of you who are disenchanted with the obsessive profanity, exploitive sexuality and desensitizing violence associated with the majority of new film releases, allow me to suggest some video alternatives. Below find the new release and its content. Then find the suggested alternatives — films with the same theme or style as the new releases, but without the offending material.

— Die Another Day. 007 action/adventure. PG-13 [one profanity; drinking on several occasions; James Bond smokes cigars; sexual innuendoes abound; a couple of sexual situations, one becoming rather graphic; naked silhouettes of girls dancing during the credits; though mostly bloodless, it is extremely violent].

Video Alternative: The Ipcress File. Michael Caine. Although it suggests some sexual activity, it doesn’t bombard your senses with a lot of rough language or sexuality, but rather focuses on a great espionage caper.

— 8 Mile. Drama starring controversial Rap star Eminem. R [Ten profanities, more than 330 obscenities, several crude sexual terms; several characters smoke and drink; lots of sexual talk, and a couple of sexual situations, both fairly graphic; brief backside nudity; lots of hostility, including some physical violence; mature subject matter, with a great deal of hostile attitude].

Video Alternative: Not a fan of rap music? Let me suggest another film about people wanting to break out through the use of music: “That Thing You Do.” Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Tom Hanks (also writer & director). Lighthearted fare about four musical lads in the mid-’60s as they rise to the top with their one hit. PG [one obscenity; a couple of mild expletives; a scene in a bar has the lead inebriated, with a very friendly waitress coming on to him, but there are no sex scenes; other sexuality is implied rather than forced onto the audience; a rock & roll song is recorded in a church, but no disrespect is shown — in fact, a verse is quoted, revealing at least one band member to be familiar with the Bible].

— Emperor’s Club. Set in a boarding school, this drama deals with the place of ethics in the evolution of man. PG-13 [four misuses of Jesus’ name, four obscenities, two crude words, two sexual references and two expletives; there is one obscene gesture and the expression “Oh my God” is heard four or five times, but none of this comes from the lead character; we briefly see nude photos in an adult magazine; a few juvenile remarks about the female form; some of the boys row over to the nearby girls’ school, where some sexual entendre is exchanged and the group prepares to go skinny dipping, but they are interrupted and chastised for the bad example they have made of their school; we see some teen girls smoking, and later adults have had too much to drink at a party].

Video Alternative: Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Robert Donat is outstanding as a committed teacher. Made long, long ago, but still moving and completely engaging. Wow, what a film.

— Far From Heaven. Set in 1950s Connecticut, this melodrama addresses racism and homosexuality. PG-13 [Six profanities and one obscenity; some drinking and smoking by several characters; adult themes are addressed, including homosexuality and bigotry; a man enters a homosexual bar, eventually he is picked up; we see two men involved in a homosexual lifestyle; a man in a drunken stupor smacks his wife, but quickly regrets his action; bullying white boys torment a black child, later pelting her with rocks].

Video Alternative: Imitation of Life (the 1959 version with Lana Turner). The film, a bit soapy at times, addresses the subjects of prejudice and family relationships. Film also stars Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee and Mahalia Jackson.

— Frida. Bio of painter Frida Kahlo. R [profanity, obscenity, crude dialogue; much sensuality, including lesbianism and fornication; she was a woman who believed in no rules or conventions].

Video Alternative: The 1954 version of “Moulin Rouge.” A powerful film in glorious color, this Oscar winner, directed with finesse by John Huston, stars Jose Ferrer as the tormented Parisian artist Toulouse-Lautrec. Caution: It does contain adult subject matter, but without today’s graphic portrait of sexuality. It reveals that a lifestyle of drunken abandon leads to self-destruction.

— Friday After Next. Crude comedy sequel. R [Crude and offensive language abounds with more than 50 uses of the F-word and 70 of the S-word, plus 13 profanities and a great deal of vulgar slang and sexual remarks of all kinds; some drinking and several drug references; lots of sexual dialogue and situations, with the camera exploiting the female form whenever possible; although the violence is played for laughs, there’s a lot of it in the form of slapstick].

Video Alternative: “Uptown Saturday Night” with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier was hysterical. Caution: contains some adult material, but not graphic or too explicit.

— Ghost Ship. Ghosts haunt salvage crew on lost ship. R [12 profanities, 34 obscenities, 11 expletives and several crude or sexually centered remarks; several of the leads smoke; nudity and a sexual situation with a ghost that comes on to a crew member before causing him to fall to his death; lots of gory, brutal and sickening violence including a deck-load of dancing passengers sliced in half by a taut main brace wire that mysteriously snaps and slashes through the unsuspecting crowd — this scene is downright repulsive].

Video Alternative: A Night To Remember, from Walter Lord’s vivid and emotional novel about the sinking of the Titanic. Moving, scary and thought-provoking.

— Half Past Dead. Rap music and Steven Seagal in prison/heist actioneer. PG-13 [four profanities, nine obscenities, 14 expletives and a couple of crude sexual remarks; some characters smoke, including the lead on one occasion; one sexual incident, no nudity; and a whole lot of violence, including beatings, shootings, killings and explosions].

Video Alternative: Die Hard. Although many an actioneer has borrowed from this Bruce Willis vehicle, it still looks fresh. It keeps you hooked with its action and humorous dialogue. It does contain some objectionable language and a great deal of violence, but the lead proves to be a moral man and loyal husband.

— Punch Drunk Love. Adam Sandler debut drama about lonely/quirky man finding love. R [ four profanities, 33 obscenities; an explicit phone sex conversation and a sex scene outside marriage; there are a few violent images, including two sudden car accidents and two beatings].

Video Alternative: The Nutty Professor. Jerry Lewis was in top form as the lovable Professor Julius Kelp and his alter ego, Buddy Love. The educator, whose secret potion turns him into Joe Cool, learns it’s best to be yourself.

— Solaris. Psychological thriller about a space explorer who finds a replica of his dead wife. PG-13 [One misuse of God’s name, six obscenities and two uses of the expression, “Oh my God.” Some sexuality, including two scenes featuring nudity and sexual relations between unmarried people; some violence, but most of it is implied, including a suicide].

Video Alternative: The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. This gothic romance starring Rex Harrison, Gene Tierney and George Sanders, avoids promiscuity. No, I don’t believe in ghosts (angels and demons, yes), but the serene love affair is difficult to resist. Bernard Herrmann provides beautiful and “haunting” score.

If you are looking for something a bit more cerebral, try “Metropolis.” This 1926 silent classic examines the impact of a mechanized culture on members of new world order. Commanding special effects for its time and a set design nearly every sci-fi futuristic actioneer has borrowed from ever since. Beware, although it is a cinematic masterpiece — it is s-l-o-w moving.

— Sweet Home Alabama. Comedy about girl with one too many husbands. PG-13 [four misuses of Jesus’ name, 18 obscenities and 12 uses of the expression “Oh my God”; three or four crude sexual references and two male characters are gay and make comic inferences at passing men; some drinking in a bar by the leads; Witherspoon’s character gets drunk and vomits; mild violence, with a woman getting punched for bad-mouthing a Southern girl’s momma].

Video Alternative: Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery star in this screwball comedy [the only one Alfred Hitchcock directed] about a couple who discover their marriage isn’t legal and find themselves going through courtship all over again. It’s an oldie (1941), but the sparkling dialogue and inspired performances still hold up.

    About the Author

  • Phil Boatwright