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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.
 
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Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.




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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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