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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Getaway

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Selena Gomez and Ethan Hawke star in a scene from the movie "Getaway."
Can the trauma of having your wife kidnapped make you drive faster and more, um, furiouser? Ethan Hawke finds out in the senseless car-chase flick "Getaway" (Warner Bros.).

Hawke plays ex-racer and devoted hubby Brent Magna. Poor Brent's yuletide gets off to a bad start when he returns to his apartment to find that his lovely spouse Leanne (Rebecca Budig) has been violently abducted while decorating their Christmas tree.

And you thought Grandma getting run over by that reindeer was a bummer!

Well, anyway, it seems that the unnamed criminal mastermind (Jon Voight) behind the whole thing isn't after a ransom. Instead, he wants Brent to use a souped-up vehicle he's purloined to cause mayhem on the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria, in order to facilitate a bank heist he's planning.

What's a red-blooded American like Brent doing in exotic Sofia? A belated exchange of dialogue eventually informs us that it's Leanne's hometown and that Brent and Leanne moved there after Brent said goodbye to the speedway. And fire-sale production costs had nothing to do with it.

No sooner has Brent begun to follow orders than his designated auto's teenage owner (Selena Gomez)—who also remains nameless throughout—shows up, waving a gun and demanding her classy chassis back.

Brent, who no doubt recognizes Selena from the Disney Channel, or perhaps "Ramona and Beezus," is having none of that. So the hood toting Miss Anonymous winds up becoming first Brent's unwilling passenger and later his computer-savvy partner in the ongoing effort to foil his adversary.

Though Brent refuses a direct order to kill what's-her-name, director Courtney Solomon does place him in the morally shaky position of endangering hordes of innocent bystanders—and innumerable pursuing police officers—for the sake of safeguarding a single life. But ethical considerations take a back seat as the wheels squeal and the windshields shatter—and as viewers run a gauntlet of crashes, collisions and illogical plot developments.

Since Brent only has eyes for the absent Leanne, there's no bedroom detour on his journey. But Selena puts distance between herself and her magical-kingdom past by labeling everyone she doesn't like with the A-word. Presumably for variety's sake, on one occasion, she settles for flipping some opponent the bird instead.

On the whole, moviegoers would do well to take this woeful picture's title as a piece of friendly advice.

The film contains much action violence, a few uses of profanity, considerable crude and crass language and an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988. Pope Francis canonized him in Washington, D.C., on September 23, 2015.</p> American Catholic Blog Hope and faith can outshine the darkness of evil. However dense the darkness may appear, our hope for the triumph of the light is stronger still. Though violence continues to stain us with blood, the shadows of death can be dissipated with one act of light.

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