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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Bandslam

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Tim Jo, Alyson and Charlie Saxon star in a scene from the movie "Bandslam."
Residents of Lodi, N.J., will likely be pleased with the plot of "Bandslam" (Summit/Walden); the citizens of Cincinnati not so much. That's because the teenage hero of this genial comedy with music finds social success in the former burg after being bullied and harassed by his peers in the latter, the Queen City.
 
When his divorced mother, Karen (Lisa Kudrow), relocates east, friendless high school student Will (Gaelan Connell) sees the chance for a fresh start with a new image. Even his fondest hopes are surpassed, though, when popular, attractive cheerleader-type Charlotte (Alyson Michalka) befriends him, initially drafting him to work at the day care center where she volunteers.
 
Discovering that Will possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music, Charlotte makes him the manager of the floundering rock group she fronts as lead singer. They're preparing for the titular competition, where they hope to best the formidable band led by Charlotte's ex-boyfriend, Ben (Scott Porter).
 
As Will—with a swiftness only possible on the big screen—transforms both himself and his new proteges, his confidence gets a further boost from his blossoming romance with bookish goth Sa5m (Vanessa Hudgens). (The 5, she explains, is silent.)
 
Naturally there are complications, and the youthful cast, which generally delivers the comic and musical material with aplomb, is less adept at navigating the dramatic passages.
 
These more downbeat scenes deal with a few mature topics, such as the fatal consequences of a long-ago drunk-driving accident. But the nearest thing to edgy material is a running gag about the group's drummer, Basher (Ryan Donawho), who declares his preference for "older chicks," and becomes mildly infatuated with Karen.
 
The script, co-written by director Todd Graff and Josh A. Cagan, makes it abundantly clear that this comic fancy will lead to nothing.
 
Despite its classification, "Bandslam" is unlikely to interest very young viewers. But this exuberant salute to clique-defying friendship is free of anything unsuitable for the tween-and-up audience at whom it's aimed.
 
The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
 
- - -
 
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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