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And So It Goes

Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Scene from movie 'And So It Goes'
The indignities of romance in one's 60s entwine with a mortifyingly weak and implausible script for two aging actors in "And So It Goes" (Clarius).

Michael Douglas, who plays grumpy widower and real estate agent Oren, and Diane Keaton as lissome widow and aspiring singer Leah, are engaging as they go through their paces. It's just that director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Mark Andrus have nothing new to say about either the vicissitudes of aging or the need to connect with family members.

It's a mostly moral story told in the style of a "family" film, although so weakly, its intended audience isn't even clear. Adults won't mind it. Anyone under the age of 20 probably won't be interested.

In leafy Fairfield, Connecticut, Oren, whose wife died 10 years ago, has been trying to sell his mansion for $8.6 million, but has found no takers, in part because of his occasional racial insensitivity. He's staying in a small apartment building he owns, along with Leah, whose late-life singing career stalls because she bursts into tears whenever she mentions her dead husband and the love they shared.

Into this comes Oren's son, Kyle (Austin Lysy), with a granddaughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), that Oren didn't even know he had. Kyle fathered the girl, who's about to turn 10, back in his drug-addiction days. He's about to serve a jail term -- not for narcotics, but on a trumped-up charge related to his boss being investigated for insider trading.

Oren makes a single attempt to return Sarah to her junkie mother, an episode that seems tacked on. More troubling, Oren makes no attempt to get the woman into any kind of rehab program. Once her addiction is evident, he simply takes Sarah away.

Formula takes over after this. Sarah teaches her caustic granddad the importance of compassion. This, in turn, helps him come up with a way to set Leah's singing on a more lucrative path, and Oren and Leah both stumble into the perils of a physical relationship.

Ambling, philosophical stories about adult romances in pretty settings can be enjoyable. But here, the philosophy is reduced to wisecracks and the ambling obstructs reality. Fairfield, however, has never looked lovelier.

The film contains implied premarital sexual activity, a scene of childbirth, a few uses of profanity and fleeting crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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John of Monte Corvino: At a time when the Church was heavily embroiled in nationalistic rivalries within Europe, it was also reaching across Asia to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Mongols. John of Monte Corvino went to China about the same time Marco Polo was returning. 
<p>John was a soldier, judge and doctor before he became a friar. Prior to going to Tabriz, Persia (present-day Iran), in 1278, he was well known for his preaching and teaching. In 1291 he left Tabriz as a legate of Pope Nicholas IV to the court of Kublai Khan. An Italian merchant, a Dominican friar and John traveled to western India where the Dominican died. When John and the Italian merchant arrived in China in 1294, Kublai Khan had recently died. </p><p>Nestorian Christians, successors to the dissidents of the fifth-century Council of Ephesus’ teaching on Jesus Christ, had been in China since the seventh century. John converted some of them and also some of the Chinese, including Prince George from Tenduk, northwest of Beijing. Prince George named his son after this holy friar. </p><p>John established his headquarters in Khanbalik (now Beijing), where he built two churches; his was the first resident Catholic mission in the country. By 1304 he had translated the Psalms and the New Testament into the Tatar language. </p><p>Responding to two letters from John, Pope Clement V named John Archbishop of Khanbalik in 1307 and consecrated seven friars as bishops of neighboring dioceses. One of the seven never left Europe. Three others died along the way to China; the remaining three bishops and the friars who accompanied them arrived there in 1308. </p><p>When John died in 1328, he was mourned by Christians and non-Christians. His tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage. In 1368, Christianity was banished from China when the Mongols were expelled and the Ming dynasty began. John’s cause has been introduced in Rome.</p> American Catholic Blog We look ahead to the coming of the Son of Man, standing erect and with heads held high. We live in hope, not in fear. Our experience of God is no longer limited by human weakness or even human sinfulness. God has always been one step ahead of us, with a plan that exceeds our greatest desires.


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