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Criteria for Web site's rating system shady

Jan. 25, 2001

What do Schindler's List and American Beauty have in common with Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo and Scary Movie?

They were all given the same review by Web site, 'Christian Spotlight on the Movies': extremely offensive.

The conservative site picks apart Hollywood's latest offerings, and explains why it is your Christian duty to be offended. Look up your favorite movie, and it's sure to be there. More likely than not, it will be on the offensive list.

So what is universally unnerving to the devout? Well, there's nudity. Even The Little Mermaid isn't safe with a heroine who 'is only sixteen, yet darts about in a skimpy seashell bra.'

Cynicism is also grounds for dismissal. The site pans Dustin Hoffman's 1968 hit The Graduate for featuring Simon and Garfunkel's 'sarcastic theme song Mrs. Robinson.'

Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List also received the honor of being on the site's 'highly offensive' list. What did Christian Spotlight have to say of Spielberg's Best Picture Oscar winner? 'While Schindler's List won seven Academy Awards and 11 Academy Award nominations, it is a movie that left this reviewer a little uneasy.' It's about the atrocities of the Nazis during the Holocaust. It shouldn't make you feel good. But the film shouldn't be dismissed, either.

What received a good mark from the site? Some films that aren't so innocent, if you take criticism to the absurd like the site does.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which Christian Spotlight calls a 'film that belongs on every Christian family's must-see list,' features shameless displays of gluttony, greed, belching, enslavement and child abuse.

How about The Littlest Rebel? Sure, it's got ever-precious Shirley Temple, but it also glorifies the Confederacy. Not so funny to all those Union supporters out there. The Wizard of Oz even receives a glowing report, despite its blatant portrayal of witchcraft.

As an amateur film critic, it boggles my mind to think that Christian Spotlight critics have reduced film critique to the joyless art of counting the number of times the 'f' word is said in a movie (29 in Almost Famous, I've since learned).

As a film buff, it makes me wonder if the site has missed the point of filmmaking somewhere along the way. Focusing on the drug use in American Beauty is a bit like looking at Picasso's Blue Nude and saying, 'Hey, there's a naked lady in that picture.'

My advice? Go see Traffic Saturday night, and hold your head up high on Sunday.

KAREN KALB

Entertainment editor

Karen Kalb is a junior French and journalism major from Garland.