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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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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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