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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Tower Heist

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

Whatever you think “Tower Heist” is as a film, it is really not a comedy, despite comedian Ben Stiller in the lead as Josh, the manager of a luxury condominium complex in Manhattan and the presence of Eddie Murphy as “Slide” the gangster.
 
Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is a millionaire financier who lives in the penthouse. The FBI arrests him for a Ponzi scheme that has robbed many people of their investments and livelihoods. Josh must admit to all the people who work at the Tower that he invested their retirement funds with Shaw, without their permission. He loses his job but along with his brother-in-law Charlie (Casey Affleck), an evicted tenant Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), a lock-picking housekeeper Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe), and the newly hired pseudo electrician Enrique (Michael Pena), they discover where Shaw has stashed his safety net funds.
 
I did not think this was a very funny movie but it is very clever and it has a strong moral center in a world where financial ethics are a joke. That center is Josh, who does perpetrate a heist to get their money back but uses illegal means. The FBI is ready to arrest them all but Josh provides the real treasure: information. The FBI agrees to let all his accomplices go, but Josh has to go to prison for two years. For the sake of his friends who had lost so much, he agrees to the deal. And Shaw does get arrested for his crimes.
 
The film was ok but I was disappointed that it wasn’t as funny as the previews led us to believe. Heists are supposed to be improbable tales about losers outwitting the winners and this one did so with interesting characters, though it was almost impossible to understand Casey Affleck’s mumbled lines.
  The heist takes place dangling between the 40th and 50th floors I think. I really hate a heist at that height.


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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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