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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

MacGruber

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

When a screenwriter resorts to making abortion the subject of a joke, Catholic viewers at least can be certain he has hit the comic skids. And so it proves with director and co-writer Jorma Taccone's "MacGruber" (Rogue), the consistently vulgar, intermittently gruesome expansion of a recurring "Saturday Night Live" skit that Taccone penned with Will Forte and John Solomon.

Forte plays the title character, an ever-cocky, frequently decorated but disastrously incompetent special agent in the vein of the "Pink Panther" franchise's Inspector Clouseau.

Ten years before the action begins, MacGruber—reacting to the brutal murder of his wife by his nemesis, evil arms dealer Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer)—faked his own death to retire to a life of contemplation. Thus, some of the opening scenes show MacGruber living in an American Indian village in the Southwest, meditating or perhaps praying in the community's Catholic-looking chapel and dressed in a Franciscan-like brown robe.

However, when Von Cunth—the obscene wordplay on whose name typifies the low humor on display in this tasteless action spoof—gets hold of a nuclear missile and plots to launch it on Washington during the State of the Union address, MacGruber answers the summons of his former commander, Army Col. Faith (Powers Boothe), and returns to action. He's eventually aided in his mission by Faith's subordinate, Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), and by an old friend, undercover operative-turned-pop-singer Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig).

MacGruber's juvenile antics include distracting Von Cunth's thugs by wedging a celery stalk between his bare buttocks and waving it at them. The audience also is subjected to crude scenes portraying MacGruber's supposedly comic sexual encounters, and to the bloody results of his favorite combat technique: ripping open his adversaries' throats.

Theirs are not the only gorges adversely affected.

The film contains much gory violence, graphic premarital sexual activity, upper female and rear nudity, frequent sexual and scatological humor, more than a dozen uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service 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 Catholic News Service.


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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 Blessing of Family

 
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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