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Need movie suggestions organized by character - know of a list/book?


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Is there anything out there that shows which movies display certain character traits (good and bad)?


Dh is Sunday School teacher for middle schoolers and using movie scenes to build interest in the topic.


This weeks scripture - James - be slow to speak.

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First, just a caution to your DH. I personally think it is a WONDERFUL idea** -- but I also have first hand experience of Christians going ballistic about films, especially about what films families deem as acceptable or not acceptable for their children. Even showing a very non-offensive clip from a movie may upset some parents who may then have their children wanting to see the whole movie which the parents may not approve of. Films are very dicey ground in church settings, I'm afraid. Your DH will probably be okay if he chooses very OLD films (which the kids may not have enough maturity to appreciate), or G-rated animated films (which middle schoolers often reject across the board as being "babyish"), or specifically Christian films (which, sadly, are often either hokey or lacking in quality or believability). Just be prepared to use graciousness, patience, and genuine willingness to listen if he uses recent films and gets negative reactions.


**(I think it is critical for us as Christian parents to learn how to look at / think about / analyze the music, books, films, art, other media of our culture so that we can teach our children how to look for God's Truth wherever it is found, and how to NOT be taken in by subtle worldviews also often embedded in our culture. And kudos to your DH for helping those youth on the brink of becoming young adults to start THINKING about what they watch and listen to!)


I don't know of any already-made list using film chips to show character traits, but I can HIGHLY recommend a few Christrian resources for film reviews (most with some "think about it" questions after the reviews), which may give DH some specific ideas for examples to use:


Jeffrey Overstreet, Christian film reviewer -- website with his film review archive:



Christianity Today film reviews (free online e-mail newsletter of film reviews):



Crosswalk Christian film review website:



Christianity Today/Crosswalk film review archives:



Hollywood Jesus -- pop culture from a spiritual point of view (articles on films):




I also highly recommend DH reads the following, to learn how to see film and share clips in the way in which he is doing for Sunday School:


"Through a Screen Darkly" (Jeffrey Overstreet)

A wonderful combination of both learning how to see God's Truth in films, and the author's own spiritual journey in film watching/reviewing and how it has informed his faith.


"Reel Spirituality: Theology & Film in Dialogue" (Robert Johnston / Catherine Barsotti)

"Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith" (Robert Johnston / Catherine Barsotti)

God's Truth revealed in the medium of film, even films not by Christians.


"Movies as Literature (Kathryn Stout)

A homeschool curriculum for learning how to watch/analyze film as you would read/analyze literature.



As far as a specific film clip for "Be slow to speak, quick to listen..." Here are some ideas... some are a stretch, though...


- Perhaps a scene out of Friendly Persuasion? A Quaker family on the edge of the Civil War; it's been awhile since I saw the film, but I'm pretty sure there is a scene that shows the father of the family not speaking back...


- Perhaps the scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" -- everyone is being very quick to speak up and want their money out of the Savings and Loan (which would cause the bank to collapse), but Jimmy Stewart calms them down and explains the situation, and as a result, people believe him and use their words to only withdraw the amount of money they really NEED. Here people went from quick to panic and quick to speak... to listening... and then to speaking from reasoned thought/decision.


- Throughout the film "Forbidden Kingdom" (recent Jet Li/Jacki Chan film for teens) the female character speaks little, and so her every word really counts and is listened to.


- In "The Incredibles", the character "E" (the clothing designer) never lets anyone get a word in edgewise -- and makes mistaken assumptions about what people want or expect as a result.


- Although the film doesn't emphasize the connection enough between hastily spoken words and their consequence, in "Bruce Almighty" he is quick to use his powers as God to bring the moon close to make a romantic night -- later to see on TV that the closer moon caused huge waves, flooding and deaths on the other side of the world.


- I know that in Tolkien's BOOK of the "Two Towers," toward the end, when Sam and Frodo are climbing all the steps to cross the pass into Mordor, there is an incredibly poignant and powerful scene in which Sam starts awake to find Gollum nearby and Sam speaks very sharply to Gollum, killing off the last shred of possible redemption for Gollum. It is an incredibly POWERFUL reminder to me every time I read the book how powerful my words -- especially my hastily spoken words -- are. The film version made Gollum as the evil instigator and justified Sam's quick temper, and so there is none of that same sense of the power of our hasty words causing such harm in others as there is in the book.

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Thanks so much for the thoughtful, helpful, encouraging response.


I am so blessed to read it. Middle school is one tough spot of teaching and he has a heart of gold toward these guys.


They are so mentally checked out when they come in and the movie clip is just enough to get them talking and thinking! It's been great, and we haven't had problems so far with the movies, though we have heard the kids want to watch it if they haven't seen it.


Last one was the Ultimate Gift where they were looking at James 1: 9-11 talking about the poor/rich man. Excellent look at contrasts between the two attitudes.


Again, I thank you!

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