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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Sitter

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Felony child endangerment presented as "life lessons" constitutes the theme, such as it is, of "The Sitter" (Fox).

Director David Gordon Green and screenwriters Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka run the gamut of degradation, tossing in some racism for good measure.

Jonah Hill plays Noah, a schlubby failure whose only goal is to gain happiness for his mother Sandy (Jessica Hecht). Noah has been kicked around all his life, or at least ever since his successful father Jim (Bruce Altman) abandoned the family.

To let his mother attend a party where she might find a new romance, Noah agrees to baby-sit three neighbor kids: Slater (Max Records) Blithe (Landry Bender) and Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez), all of whom have issues of their own.

Slater—the oldest, at all of 13—is dealing with the budding realization that he's gay; Blithe is foul-mouthed and seeks a hard-partying lifestyle; and Rodrigo, a foster child from South America, likes explosives and has a bladder-control problem.

When Noah hauls them to a drug dealer to buy cocaine for Marisa (Ari Graynor), whom he hopes to make his girlfriend, all goes, er, well until Rodrigo steals a $10,000 "egg" of the drug which Noah breaks. He spends the rest of the night hurtling around New York City trying to make things right for himself, dealing with his own pain, and "solving" problems for the children with oversimplified lectures.

Slater's sexual anxiety is resolved when Noah tells him, "There's nothing wrong with you. You're normal." Noah advises Blithe to jettison the garish makeup and act her age, and explains to Rodrigo his own anger at having been ditched by his father.

All of this occurs after Noah has committed a break-in and multiple thefts, and dealt with grotesquely stereotyped African-Americans at a club.

Be dishonest, engage in crime, put children in harm's way, and all will turn out right. That's the "moral" of this sad, sick fantasy—a take-away that should make all sensible moviegoers stay away.

The film contains an explicit nonmarital sex act, fleeting profanity, acceptance of homosexual activity, pervasive rough, crude and crass language, frequent references to drug use, body functions and pedophilia, as well as racial stereotyping. 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.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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