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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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Nativity of St. John the Baptist: Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). 
<p>John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life. </p><p>His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). </p><p>John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic. </p><p>The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus. </p><p>Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us pray to Our Lady, that she may protect us. In times of spiritual upset, the safest place is within the folds of her garments.

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