There's no question that the Blues Brothers is a great movie, what with the car chases, Nazis getting their comeuppance and the incomparable Aretha Franklin. But is it a good Catholic movie? L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper that covers the Holy See and publishes official church documents, celebrated the movie's 30th anniversary by calling it a must-see for all Catholics. So you've probably figured out what that means about media coverage of this momentous film review:
Reuters: Vatican endorses "The Blues Brothers"
MSNBC: Vatican calls 'Blues Brothers' a 'Catholic classic' -- Comedy joins 'The Passion of The Christ' among recommended films
Dallas Fox affiliate: Vatican Blesses 'Blues Brothers'
BlackBook Magazine: The Pope Digs John Belushi
This is a fun example of the confusion the media has with what L'Osservatore Romano is, but it happens all the time on more serious issues, too. L'Osservatore Romano the Vatican paper but is it the mouthpiece of the Vatican? Are movie reviews the position of the magisterium (teaching authority) of the church?
In a word, no.
There are two things I would like to highlight. Considering it's the tabloid New York Post, I thought reporter Lou Lumenick's approach was better:
Pope's paper reverses thumbs down on 'The Blues Brothers'
Simply mentioning that it was the newspaper helps these stories so much. Lumenick also advanced the story by reaching back to how it was received by Catholic reviewers upon release:
The Vatican thus effectively reverses the opinion of the Office for Film and Broadcasting for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops -- fondly remembed by generations of us lapsed Catholics by its former name, the Legion of Decency -- whose reviewer took a dim view of "The Blues Brothers'' when it was released 30 years ago and tagged it with an "adults only'' (A-III) classification.
The other piece that I found helpful was this essay in the National Catholic Register. Edward Pentin critiques whether such movie reviews are a wise idea and looks at the review in context of broader questions about the journalism being done at L'Osservatore Romano.