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  • Love the movies?

    If you’ve ever read a movie review in the Catholic Herald, you probably read the work of John Mulderig, assistant director for media reviews at Catholic News Service. He’s being doing this job since 2007. He said in his nearly 11 years, he’s seen more than 1,000 movies — that’s about 150 a year.


    John writes movie reviews much like an artist — carefully choosing the precise word, adding a colorful synopsis and ensuring words of caution reveal anything a parent or a movie-goer could find offensive. Often, his reviews are more entertaining than the movies themselves.


    He’s a bit of a legend in our newsroom. We find our “word of the week” while reading his movie reviews. We read them aloud in the newsroom and usually there’s at least one word that we have to look up to get the full meaning.


    Because he writes for a Catholic news service, he pays close attention to things that matter. He keeps a count of profanity, notes problematic themes and never holds back when something counters church teaching.


    I sat down with John last week for a Catholic Herald podcast. I asked him how he handles watching disturbing movies with offensive or scary scenes, movies he wouldn’t choose to see if he didn’t have to.


    “Most of the time, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t stay with, in part because I do see so many movies,” he said. He added “the possible exception of a couple of Saw movies, some of the more gruesome things in those have stayed with me, but otherwise I’m pretty good at moving on to the next thing.”


    Quoting from one of John’s reviews, this time the latest Fifty Shades of Grey movie, he wrote, “Patrons unwise enough to shell out good money for this campy nonsense will get a facial work out as they roll their eyes, drop their jaws and gurgle derisively at the ineptness of it all.” That’s masterful!


    When I asked him about having to see that movie he said, “I’m very proud of the fact that one of my colleagues, Sr. Rose Pacatte, once put on her blog when the first 50 Shades movie came out she wrote, ‘God bless John Mulderig for going to see the 50 Shades of Gray film, so I wouldn’t have to. Here’s his review.”


    Listen to the podcast to see what John does when he’s not reviewing movies, his movie snack preference and — best of all — his Top 5 favorite movies. See if you agree, or find one of his movie recommendations next time you’re searching Netflix.


    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

    @Ann M. Augherton