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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Super 8

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

This sci-fi thriller takes place in rural Ohio in 1979. A group of junior high school students led by Charles (Riley Griffiths) are making a super 8 mm film for a film contest but they are making it up as they go. Zombies are prominent.

Joe (Joel Courtney) makes model trains. He lives with his dad, Deputy Lamb (Kyle Chandler), as his mom has just died. Joe is in charge of make-up and he has a huge crush on Allie (Elle Fanning) who takes her dad Louis’ (Ron Eldard) car to drive the gang to the train station to shoot a zombie scene.

As they begin to shoot Joe notices a pick-up truck drive onto the tracks of an oncoming freight train. There is a spectacular crash and the cars are detailed. The kids are terrified and run off, leaving the camera rolling. It catches secrets the US Air Force, that arrives on the scene very quickly, doesn’t want anyone to know. Strange square objects burst out of the cars, and Joe picks one up to take home.

The kids go back for the camera and in the three days it takes for the film to be developed, all kinds of things happen. We discover that there is great enmity between the two fathers, Louis and Deputy Lamb, and why. We also see that their children are lonely and long for their parents love when they are grieving for different reasons.

There is an alien in their midst, and the kids’ goal is to discover what the alien wants. In some ways we’ve seen this movie before - think E.T., District 9, and a little bit of the Wizard of Oz and the typical fairytale structure of the death of the mother that in its own way motivates the actions. But it is so well made, the performances so engrossing, that the time flew by for me.

It is the perfect film for the Pentecost season. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are all there: peace, love, joy, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, wisdom, knowledge, reverence and so on. See how many you can find.
Sometimes I think that Steven Spielberg makes the best Christian movies ever. Then J.J. Abrams, who gave us the hit TV series “Lost” doesn’t do such a bad job himself.


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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog When we suffer, we don’t just come to understand the pain of Christ’s cross more, we come to understand the depth of God’s love for us: that he would endure such pain for us—in our place. We have a God who endured death so we would never have to do so.

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