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Larry Crowne

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

I wanted to like “Larry Crowne”, a new film directed by the brilliant Oscar-winner Tom Hanks and co-written with Nia Vardalos, who gave us the wonderful film “My Big Fat Greet Wedding” in 2002. Yes, I was looking forward to seeing “Larry Crowne” but the best thing about it was seeing it after “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. It gave me a chance to unwind. Unfortunately, I almost fell asleep.
Larry (Tom Hanks) is a middle-aged retail worker who gets along with everyone. He’s been employee of the month nine times. But he is fired because he does not have a college diploma and cannot advance in the company. He was in the Navy for twenty years but this does not seem to count. Recently divorced with no children, he regroups – and buys a motor scooter from his next-door neighbor with a never-ending yard sale, Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), to save on gas.
An advisor suggests that Larry take a speech class and another on basic economics. The speech teacher, Mercedes (Julia Roberts), is unhappy but her class of ten students responds to her reluctant teaching, much to her surprise. When Larry offers her a ride after a disastrous dinner with her porn-addicted husband,  Mercedes responds to his genuine and gentle kindness.
The class is made up of interesting people but they really never get a chance to develop, and the storyline for one girl who drops out to open a business, is never really concluded. There was one student, though, that caught my eye; she looked just like Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, who has had a recurring role as a deliciously devious and brilliant attorney on CBS “The Good Wife”.  The credits listed her as Grace Gummer, another of Meryl Streep’s four children. Grace has a small role here, but she may be an actress to watch.
The economics class starts off well; the professor, Dr. Matsutani (George Takei)  thinks he’s a comedian but he speaks so slowly that the film’s energy drops every time we end up in his class.
“Larry Crowne” is a good-hearted film that wants to encourage people in economically depressed times, to re-train, go back to school, and for some audiences, this will resonate.  It makes a great point that pornography destroys relationships (without showing any). But the mega-watt star power of Hanks and Roberts overwhelms the simplicity of the script that never quite finds its footing.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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