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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Youth in Revolt

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Though sometimes witty, "Youth in Revolt" (Dimension) is, far more consistently, a sex-focused coming-of-age comedy that begins with its main character, lonely California teen Nick Twisp (Michael Cera), engaged in an audible (though not visible) act of autoeroticism, and rarely departs from the theme of physical gratification thereafter.

Much of the more acceptable humor revolves around Nick's sophisticated cultural tastes—typified by his fondness for old Frank Sinatra records and classic Fellini movies—which make him a fish out of water in the lowbrow world of his divorced parents, Estelle (Jean Smart) and George (Steve Buscemi).

So when Nick meets comely, and like-minded, Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday)—a devotee of all things French—on a family vacation to a lakeside trailer park, he falls instantly and obsessively in love.

But fate intervenes to separate the young couple before Nick has had a chance to jettison his virginity by spending the night with Sheeni. (In line with many another Hollywood offering, director Miguel Arteta's adaptation of "Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp"—the first in C.D. Payne's series of novels about the titular adolescent—portrays high schooler Nick's lack of bedroom experience as an intolerable psychological and emotional burden.)

In response to this crisis, Nick develops a suave but amoral alter ego named Francois (also Cera), who proves willing to cause all manner of supposedly comic mayhem—including traffic accidents and a destructive blaze—to reunite Nick with the object of his desire.

Their shared pursuit of Sheeni leads to such adventures as a hormonally charged nighttime stay in her boarding school dorm room and a "magic mushrooms" trip during which Nick hallucinates the illustrations in a sex manual coming alive and floating provocatively through the air.

The film contains explicit animated images of intercourse, nongraphic premarital (and probably underage) sexual activity, masturbation, drug use, at least one profanity, much sexual humor and considerable rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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


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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog God is great. God is good. And God, in his fatherly love, has a plan for our lives that will work out for our benefit and salvation. All we have to do is trust and obey.

The Spirit of Saint Francis

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Blessed Junipero Serra
This Franciscan friar was instrumental in founding many of California’s mission churches.

Happy Birthday
May this birthday mark the beginning of new and exciting adventures!

Sts. Peter and Paul
Honored both separately and together, these apostles were probably martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero.

Wedding
Help the bride and groom see their love as a mirror of God’s love.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
God gave Mary to us as a help in our quest for holiness.




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