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January 18, 1991     The Message
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January 18, 1991

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana January 18, 1991 i i i Entertainment Top-grossing 'Ghost' shows afterlife interest WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Paramount's "Ghost," Hollywood's top-grossing movie for 1990, shows a re- newed interest in the afterlife, according to movie critics Jim Arnold and Gerri Pare. "The spiritual afterlife kinds of movies are making somewhat of a comeback," said Arnold, journalism professor at Mar- quette University and movie critic in the Catholic press. In "Ghost" the afterlife theme is presented positively, said Ms. Pare, a film critic for the U.S. Catholic Conference Office for Film and Broad- casting. In it, star Patrick Swayze plays a man who returns from the dead and is " the prospect" of con- tinuing life in eternity, she said. The movie, which was a sum- mer release, costa modest $18.4 million to make and sur- rised the film industry with its ox-office popularity. It was the only 1990 movie to top $200 million in ticket sales. In "Ghost," Swayze as a mardered young banker uses a phony spiritualist, played by Whoopi Goldberg, to warn his lover, played by Demi Moore, that she also is in danger. The USCC rated it A-III -- adults -- because of"some gris- ly violence, acceptance of premarital sex and occasional profanity." Afterlife themes were popular in the 1940s, when films such as "It's a Wonderful Life," starring i James Stewart and Henry Travers, appeared, said Arnold in a telephone in- terview. They fell out of popularity: but recently reap- peared in such movies as "Always," "Field of Dreams," "Flatliners," "Ghost Dad" and "The Exorcist Ill," Arnold said. "There's been a steady trend of these kinds of films" lately, Arnold said. The critic contrasted the '40s movies with current ones and said the movies from both periods support religious values, but that society was more open to the message five decades ago. "Back in the '40s," a film about the afterlife "very often was a kind of secular support for the mainstream idea of im- mortality," Arnold said. Current movies "don't serve the same function," he said, because the young audience to- day doesn't take them serious- ly. However, these movies still "support religion" since "the average person doesn't have any idea of immortality or heaven," he said. "It's a pop culture support for religious belief in a super- ficial way," Arnold said, and "beats the opposite -- films which undercut belief in God and immortality." The popularity of "Ghost" is due more to its romance than its afterlife theme, however, said Arnold. The second most popular film in 1990 was "Pret- ty Woman," starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, he said. The movie is about a well-to-do businessman who remakes a streetwalker -- Pygmalion style ARE YOU 55 OR OLDER? We have a discount on auto rates just for you. Call us today for a quote. INSURANCE AGENCY 464-5993 -- and falls in love her. The USCC classified it A-III -- adults -- because of depictions of suggestive sexual en- counters. Ms. Pare said the popularity of "Ghost" is a good sign for movie-making given that in a summer "where violent movies were the rule," the one that fin- ished first was a romance. "Despite visually stunning special effects" in such movies as "Total Recall" and "Another 48 HRS," old-fashioned roman- tic values still have appeal to movie fans, she said. "Ghost," with its romantic motif, also conveyed another significant message, that "love transcends death," said Ms. Pare. "That's a spiritual message in itself," she said. Ghost Dad Elliot Hopper [Bill Cosby) is stunned when he realizes he is a ghost, in "Ghost Dad," currently available at video rental outlets. The movie is one of several recent films with story lines involving the afterlife. -- Photo by Howard Bingham, Copyright 1990 Universal City Studios Inc. Funeral Homes ,u ![[i Four ZIEMER'SHEARS Convenient Locations fAST CHAPEL 800 S. HE3RON AVE. JAMES A. NIEMEIER Mater Dei Class of '69 J