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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Going the Distance

By
John P. McCarthy
Source: Catholic News Service

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are girlfriend and boyfriend living on opposite sides of the country in "Going the Distance" (Warner Bros.), a surprisingly raunchy romantic comedy, even allowing for its suggestive title.

Whatever wholesome charms Barrymore and Long possess are obscured by the dirty-minded nature of the dialogue. As for the characters they portray, their separation anxiety pales in comparison to the audience's distress at hearing them continuously spout vulgarities and obsess about sex. "Going The Distance" implies that pining from afar can be tougher on the people around two lovebirds than it is on the sweethearts themselves.

Barrymore, she of the dynastic acting clan, and Long, best known as the "Mac Guy" from the Apple computer ad campaign, have had an on-again, off-again relationship in real life that may account for their easy rapport on screen. Unfortunately, the soul mates they portray lack personality, and director Nanette Burstein and screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe resort to sophomoric bawdiness to enliven the proceedings.

Erin and Garrett meet in a Manhattan watering hole on the very night when Garrett's girlfriend has broken up with him, citing his insensitivity and commitment phobia. He just hasn't met the right girl yet. Enter Erin, a Stanford graduate student in New York for a summer internship at a daily newspaper. They sleep together, but in the morning realize something more meaningful than a one-night stand is possible. After a six-week idyll, she must head back out West and they agree to attempt a bicoastal relationship.

Over the better part of a year, when they aren't texting or saying goodbye in the airport after brief visits, Garrett banters with pals Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day), while Erin fields advice from her protective older sister Corinne (Christina Applegate). Erin has been burned before after dropping everything for a guy. Garrett, who works as a talent scout for a record company, tries to find a job in San Francisco without success. Unless something gives, they're doomed.

In addition to whining about being apart, Erin and Garrett lament the beleaguered state of the newspaper and music industries—a plaint that will resonate most with so-called media elites.

Lacking authenticity, the graphic language and unsavory situations overlaying the plot, by contrast, will ring false to a cross-section of viewers. For two educated, presumably intelligent people, Erin and Garrett have limited vocabularies and imaginations. Ditto their cohorts. The copious amount of alcohol everybody consumes may be a contributing factor.

One positive element of "Going the Distance" is that it implicitly endorses committed, monogamous relationships. Still, there's no indication Erin and Garrett will marry in the end.

The film contains two somewhat explicit if fleeting premarital encounters, rear male nudity, persistent alcohol and an instance of marijuana use, much profanity, frequent graphic sexual banter and pervasive rough, crude and crass 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 P. McCarthy is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Pio of Pietrelcina: In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002. It was the 45th canonization ceremony in Pope John Paul's pontificate. More than 300,000 people braved blistering heat as they filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets. They heard the Holy Father praise the new saint for his prayer and charity. "This is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching," said the pope. He also stressed Padre Pio's witness to the power of suffering. If accepted with love, the Holy Father stressed, such suffering can lead to "a privileged path of sanctity." 
<p>Many people have turned to the Italian Capuchin Franciscan to intercede with God on their behalf; among them was the future Pope John Paul II. In 1962, when he was still an archbishop in Poland, he wrote to Padre Pio and asked him to pray for a Polish woman with throat cancer. Within two weeks, she had been cured of her life-threatening disease. </p><p>Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. Twice (1898-1903 and 1910-17) his father worked in Jamaica, New York, to provide the family income. </p><p>At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After he was discovered to have tuberculosis, he was discharged. In 1917 he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, 75 miles from the city of Bari on the Adriatic. </p><p>On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side. </p><p>Life became more complicated after that. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, which were soon reversed. However, he wrote no letters after 1924. His only other writing, a pamphlet on the agony of Jesus, was done before 1924. </p><p>Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after a 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he heard confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him. Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled. Many of them have said that Padre Pio knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned. </p><p>Padre Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering. At his urging, a fine hospital was built on nearby Mount Gargano. The idea arose in 1940; a committee began to collect money. Ground was broken in 1946. Building the hospital was a technical wonder because of the difficulty of getting water there and of hauling up the building supplies. This "House for the Alleviation of Suffering" has 350 beds. </p><p>A number of people have reported cures they believe were received through the intercession of Padre Pio. Those who assisted at his Masses came away edified; several curiosity seekers were deeply moved. Like St. Francis, Padre Pio sometimes had his habit torn or cut by souvenir hunters. </p><p>One of Padre Pio’s sufferings was that unscrupulous people several times circulated prophecies that they claimed originated from him. He never made prophecies about world events and never gave an opinion on matters that he felt belonged to Church authorities to decide. He died on September 23, 1968, and was beatified in 1999.</p> American Catholic Blog In times of intense loss and grief, we take our place with Mary as she embraces all our grief in her own as she is silently holding in her arms the stark presence of our suffering God in the lifeless body of her Son.

 
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