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January 10, 1997     The Message
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January 10, 1997

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8 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ---On the Record--- BIRMINGHAM Confronting and facing pain i Written by D. McTaggart Sung by Amanda Marshall Copyright (c) 1996, Down in Front Music/ Dreaming in Public/ EMI April Music (Canada) and Into Wishin' Publishing, a division of MCA IncJ Sold For a Song/ O'Brien Songs Publishing (ASCAP) 1995, Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc. Virgil Spencer's got a 19-inch Hitachi/And many demons lin- gering/Friday night he pulled a gunfro change the channel/Some- thing that he picked up from the King/His wife remembers well the man she knew/Seems the dreams she had/Have all turned black and blue/She's wasted years/No time for tears By CttARLIE MARTIN CNS COLUMNIST REFRAIN 'Cause there's another chance/And someday soon/Shining like the Alabama moon/She's look- ing for her promised land/Out beyond the lights of/Birmingham It's 3 a.m., and Virgil's/Passed out on the sofa/A fifth of Jim Beam on the floor/She's packed a bag and slips/The keys out of his pocket/She's care- ful not to slam the door/And as she drives she rubs her rosary/She's never been so all alone/She's never felt so free/She's got miles to go/Blind faith and hope (REPEAT REFRAIN) As the rain falls down/Upon the interstate/Any doubts she had/Are all but washed away/One long look back/At Birmingham (REPEAT REFRAIN) What if you were caught in a dangerous life sit- uation? How do you create a future? According to Amanda Marshall's "Birming- ham," one acts with courage. This is what the woman in the song does. With all her "dreams" hav- ing "turned black and blue," she splits from her alcoholic, abusively violent husband. Like the vanishing lights of "Birmingham" in her rearview mirror, she puts fear and doubt behind her. Marshall is new to the pop charts. Her thought- provoking cassingle leaves us with questions: Where is "Virgil Spencer's" wife going? Does she have a plan? How did she attain the courage to leave? The song offers no answers. However, I appre- ciate the way it emphasizes that even in life's diffi- cult situations, options need to be explored. A new beginning takes form when we look at our lives and see them for what they are, even with their pain. No amount of pretending otherwise will change things for the better. The woman in the song could have different approach, for example, own alcohol abuse. This might have porary escape. Yet, like most eas would do nothing to Teens need to realize that if their t hurting, help can be a phone call away. I stand that making such a call is facing the truth of your life and deciding must get better. Who do you talk with? If you are parish youth group, call group moderator. Or if you feel more school, approach the school counselor or', speak with a trusted teacher. Any als are likely to guide you toward those help you improve your life. If none of these suggestions the phone Almost anyone that you might call attaining the support and help that Yes, as the song clearly times when life can hurt. It esty to confront the pain. Yet, you face your life alone. God has put many caring people Take the first step -- the one that with someone who can help you create a future. (Your comments are always address: Charlie Martin, RR 3, Box Ind. 47635.) THE CATHOLIC COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN NEW YORK (CNS) -- The fol- lowing are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) Office for Film and Broadcasting. Reviews are also given for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). out in 19th-century Denmark, some material may be inappro- where the troubled prince Ham- priate for children under 13. let (Kenhdtl Branagl)i, plots ,  .-- .? . ..- : revenge after learning his uncle (Derek Jacobi) had murdered his father in order to wed Ham- let's mother (Julie Christie). Also directed by Branagh, the four-hour production is superbly acted and brought to the screen with a keen sense of drama and remarkable appealing visual flair. Stylized violence and fleet- ing bedroom flashbacks. The USCC classification is A-II m adults and adolescents. The MPAA rating is PG-13 m par- ents are strongly cautioned that "The People vs. Larry Flynt"(Columbia) Romanticized account of the rise of self-described pornogra- pher Larry Flint (Woody Harrel- son) from strip-club owner to multimillionaire smut publisher whose lawyer (Edward Norton) wins a Supreme Court decision upholding the media's preroga- tive to ridicule public figures as a constitutional right of free speech. Director Milos Forman turns Flynt into a poster boy for the First Amendment while "Breaking the Waves" (October) Provocative but uneven drama set in Scotland, where a mental- ly confused woman (Emily Wat- son) comes to believe God will cure her paralyzed husband (Stellan Skarsgard) if she has sex with other men, a morally bizarre concept leading to dan- gerdus situations and a seem- ingly miraculous outcome. Dan- ish writer-director Lars Von Trier's contrived yet absorbing narrative centers in the emo- tional saga of a simple-minded, deeply religious heroine who goes over the edge trying to save her husband by sacrificing her- self, with ambiguous results. Restrained sex scenes and sexu- al references, brief nudity and occasional rough language and profanity. The USCC classifica- tion is A-IV adults, with reser- vations. The MPAA rating is R -- restricted. "Hamlet" (Columbia) Splendid screen version of Shakespeare's tragedy played depicting all those opposed to flesh-peddling as narrow-mind- ed prudes: Sexual'encounters and references, recurring nudi- ty, substance abuse, brief vio- lence, much rough language and occasional profanity. The USCC classification is O -- morally offensive. The MPAA rating is R restricted. "Some Mother's Son" (Columbia) Fact-based story spans 1979- 81 in troubled Northern Ireland where a mother (Helen Mirren) opposed to violence is befriend- ed by a fervent IRA supporter (Fionnula their im Gi!len and a hunger protest their Ulster : Terry human the c violent die for their gove mined to cause. Some mittent MPAA What TV industry ratings are, what they WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "TV Parental Guidelines," announced Dec. 19 in Washington by the television industry, were put into effect by Jan. 2 by the six com- mercial broadcast networks and expected to be in effect by the end of January by syndicators and cable channels. The following ratings apply to programs designed solely for children: TVY: All children. This pro- gram is designedt0 be appropri. ate for all children. Whether ani- mated or live-action, the themes and elements in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, including children ages 2-6. This program is not expected to frighten younger children. TVY7: Directed to older children. This program is designed for children age 7 and above. It may be more appropri- ate for children who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between make-believe and real- ity. Themes and elements in this program may include mild phys- ical or comedic violence, or may frighten children under the age of 7. Therefore, parents may wish to consider the suitability of this program for their very young children. The following categories apply to programs designed for the entire audience: TVG: General audience. Most parents would find this program suitable for all ages. Although this rating does not signify .a program designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger chil, dren watch this program unat- tended. It contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situations. TVPG: Parental guidance suggested. This program may contain some material that some parents would find unsuit- able for younger children. Many parents may want to watch it with their young children. The theme itself may call for parental guidance. The program may contain infrequent coarse language, limited violence, some suggestive sexual dialogue and situations. -- TV14: Parents strongly cautioned. This program may contain some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strong- ly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This pro- gram may contain sophisticated themes, sexual content, strong language and more intense vio- lence. TVM: Mature audience only. This program is specifical- ly designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17. This program may contain mature themes, profane lan- guage, graphic violence, and explicit sexual content. A tiny icon with the rating will appear on the screen at the beginning of each show and also will be printed in newspapers and TV Guide. The ratings will be encoded in shows to work in tandem with the V-chip that eventually will allow parents to lock out shows on their TVs. ing soap shows works, tors and programs shows. If a rate a cable TV station can overrid rating and not be like "20/20, though it is Ratings 19-member tr Showtile :cable TV encouraged descri with the each networks descriptions ed on.air.