Go Campus Movie Guide
These are a few suggestions on how you can use a movie clip for impact on a group event, or simply for a group discussion starter. This generation of students is very entertainment driven. This is a great tool to meet them where they are, and present God's truth in a relevant way. Obviously, everyone has many different convictions when it comes to movie ratings and content. It is up to you and your leadership to be aware of any video content before you show it to your group, and go from there. The Coaching Center is making ideas for movie clip options available to you, but it is your discretion whether you choose to show a rated R movie clip during your group event. We do not recommend showing a whole movie that contains scenes that are not appropriate for a youth group, just a clip that you can use to make a spiritual point. Also, we are not endorsing these movies, but realize that the students you are trying to reach are probably very familiar with these movies.
The Rookie (G)
There is a scene in which Dennis Quaid's character comes onto the field after all he has been through to get to the big dance....Major League Baseball. The sacrifice, the mind games, the time, everything is boiled down into this moment. And it is very emotional...and sweet! In our walk with God, it can get really tough. Living as a Christian in this world and culture can obviously wear on us. But we need to rest assured that one day the gates will swing open and we will not be walking onto a Major League Baseball field, we will be entering into the courts of our Creator God. If we think walking onto a baseball field and pitching is emotional, just wait!
The Count of Monte Cristo (PG-13)
A story of betrayal. A story of love. A classic tale! In this updated version of the story, we find a ton of spiritual overtones. In one scene in the prison, we find Dantes telling the priest that he does not believe in God, yet Dantes follows the priest to learn more and eventually escape! We see the role of the priest as an invaluable role that, even at the end of the movie, Dantes does not forget. The priest helps Dantes discover who he really is. This is a great illustration of the impact of a mentor/friend on the life of another. Another classic scene in this movie is when Dantes escapes but does not kill the man on the beach in the knife fight. He gives the man grace, and the man is indebted forever to Dantes for this. In the same way, we should be in debt to our Lord for the grace he extends to us daily!
The Matrix (R)
This gives the movie away...but at this point most everyone but my dog has seen this movie. (My dog was asleep, thank you.) It has an R rating, so be aware of that. In one of the final scenes Neo is shot, and we presume him to be dead. Neo then in his own mind believes who he is and "arises" from his death. He then goes on to see the world in a whole new way, a way in which he is "The One." When we give our lives to Christ, we also have a battle to fight in our own minds. Our flesh will presume that we are still the same person and try to lead us into a flesh driven lifestyle. BUT...our new spirit...the Holy Spirit (if we so choose to submit to it) will lead us to a new victorious lifestyle over sin and into His presence. There are about a billion other spiritual references or points in this film, from "this world is not our home" to "decision making." If you choose to show rated R film clips, this movie is a buffet!
The Lord of the Rings (PG-13)
A new classic of sorts. Frodo Baggins is called into the service of just merely saving the world with the "Fellowship of the Ring." Their nemesis is the evil Lord Sauron. In this first part of the trilogy, we see Frodo coming to terms with his calling to be the ring bearer. We also see him discover the individuality and uniqueness of his call. This is good versus evil. This is the battle we all face every day from when we get out of bed to when we crawl back in. We all face issues of evil and sin in our lives, and it is a lifelong journey to deal with it. Luckily, we too have a fellowship to join us in our fight. The church, our friends, and family join us in our life adventure of seeking Christ and fleeing sin. In the movie, it is the journey to overcome evil. In our lives, evil has been dealt with. Christ's death on the cross took care of that. Now it is in our hands to carry the cross to all who can hear; that is our journey.
If you need a good laugh, spend some time watching Shrek! We see an ogre named Shrek whose world has been interrupted by the decision of a ruthless king. Shrek goes on a journey to simply get his life back the way he wants it. Along the way he meets a princess who is more than she appears! At the end of the movie, she is revealed for who she really is. Princess Fiona is afraid Shrek will not like her for who she really is. But he loves her! Yeah!!! Show this clip, and then explain that many of us are insecure in who we are and that we are afraid to let others love us. Share with your group that no matter what, God loves you for who you REALLY are...remember it was Him who made you in your mother's womb! God really loves you... really, really.
In the beginning of the movie, Maximus looks to his men before battle and says, "What we do today echoes in eternity." This is one sentence that really brings home the bacon, gang! Show this clip and emphasize the power of a moment, that decisions and choices we make today have the potential to impact eternity. Challenge your group to have an eternal perspective; ask questions like... "What do you want your campus to look like in 5 years?" Use statements like, "Wouldn't it be cool if many years from now, students were still hearing about the Gospel because of the stand you take now?" "Think about, many years from now, someone telling their kids about Jesus because God gives you the opportunity to share with them today!" Cast vision by using this clip about eternity.
The Patriot (R)
There is a lot of death in this movie. Be aware of this beforehand! Mel Gibson plays a father who unwillingly ends up fighting for his family. In a powerful scene, after his son's wedding, Gibson's character is leaving to return to battle, and his youngest daughter (who had never spoken to him at all) runs to him. She is crying and screaming,"Daddy, don't leave!" This scene has a lot of power to it. After you show this clip, share that we all fear our Dad not being there. Consider how Jesus felt on the cross when His own Father God had to turn His back on His son. Consider how we would feel if our own fathers were to leave us, and we were left to fend for ourselves. Now take hold of the truth that our God will "never leave or forsake us." He is Abba now and forever. This scene really emphasizes the emotion involved in a relationship like this. Bring a tissue!
Remember the Titans (PG)
There is a scene in which Coach Boone takes his team on an early morning run and ends up at the Gettysburg Civil War battle fields. Coach Boone exclaims to his team that if they don't settle the war going on within themselves, they will never fight the way they need to fight as a team. Incredible truth! Show this clip and challenge your group with the importance of honesty, boldness, and integrity. We need to come together and love each other. If we can't love our brothers and sisters in Christ, how are we ever going to take this love to a dying world who needs the incredible, redeeming love Christ offers? This scene casts great vision! If you choose to, show the last scene of the movie. It is the scene in which the team wins the state championship. After your challenge, let your groups know: WE CAN DO IT... TOGETHER! ("Imagine one day everyone hearing the gospel. What is preventing that from happening?")
Wow. This one can go in a ton of directions. Two ideas here: first the concept of dying to self. When Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, is deserted, he has nothing. He has to learn how to survive with essentially nothing. This can cast a great vision of surrendering to the Lord's will in our lives. Would we be willing to submit, even if He was to do this to us? Or, are we just following God when it is easy to do so? Challenge your group with this. The other direction you could take with this movie is how he adjusts at "home" after his life changing experience. He is uncomfortable, he does not really know how to act or relate in this new environment. It is obvious he is a different person. The Chuck at the beginning of the film is a driven man; the Chuck at the end is a broken man searching for his place. This happens to many of us as God does things in our lives (especially after a powerful conference or retreat!) We are different and our world is the same; these final moments of the film show this conflict. Encourage your group with God's faithfulness in our journey with Him.
Simon Birch (PG)
Get your tissues out... this little boy is gonna make you cry! Simon is an oddity; he is abnormally small, but has an incredible heart! In the scene in which the church bus is driving home from a retreat, it swerves off the road and plunges into the lake. Simon (who several times during the movie acknowledges that God has a plan for Him) becomes a hero. He helps others off the bus and, in doing so, (spoiler alert!) Simon eventually dies. In the hospital, Simon's concern is "did we get everyone off the bus?" Simon gave his life for others, including those who made fun of him and ridiculed him for his size. Simon saves their lives. This is a great picture of the Gospel. While we were still sinners and drowning in our sin, Christ rescued us. He rescues us even though we have denied Him with our lives. You see in Simon's eyes, right when the bus is sinking, a decision to lead. He knew what he had to do and he did it. Christ himself must have had that look of determination when He came to save us. This is just a great picture of the gospel.
There is a clip in which the son and father realize who each other are while talking on the HAM radio. (Beware of the language here!) The dad had died due to a decision he made while making a fire rescue as a fireman. The son tells his dad to go a different way in the fire so that he would live. Then show the clip in which Dennis Quaid takes the different path and lives. Use this as an illustration about decision making, how crucial it is, and how God's Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
Meet the Parents (PG-13)
The classic scene in which Greg is asked to pray at dinner can be used here. Greg makes a hilarious effort to bless dinner. Use this funny clip as an illustration about prayer. Encourage your group that it doesn't matter how eloquent the speaker is; what matters is the heart. Also use this clip to encourage your group that prayer has the ability to have a deep impact. Imagine what could have happened if Greg was seriously walking with God and that came across in his prayer! Remember what it says in Philippians... "One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Learn to do it now...or be forced to later.
Sixth Sense (PG-13)
There is a scene in which the kid is in the hospital and he confides in Bruce Willis that, "I see dead people." Show this clip and mention to your group that we all see dead people, frequently! This can be a great object lesson. Explain that if someone is not alive in Christ, he is dead in Christ and alive in sin. Therefore, he is a dead man walking. Use this as a great discussion starter about the need for evangelism!
In the final scene, Bruce Willis' character pushes Ben Affleck's character onto the spaceship and stays on the asteroid to blow the nuclear weapon. He knew he was going to die if he did that. His final words were, "Take care of my daughter." Jesus knew when He came to earth that He would have to be left alone to accomplish His final goal. In the same way, His desire is for us to take care of His bride... the church!
The Bourne Identity (PG-13)
Matt Damon stars as Jason Bourne. Throughout most of the movie, Bourne is discovering who he really is and what he is capable of. In the beginning of the movie, he is found almost dead floating in the sea and is rescued by a fishing vessel. The movie finds him tracking clues to his true identity. Along the way he destroys a bunch of things! There are many clips that can be used from this movie about identity and our search for who we really are.
Spider Man (PG-13)
This one is obvious. Peter Parker is the average guy until bitten by the scientifically altered spider that changes his own DNA. Once he realizes what has happened, he discovers he has a purpose to use his newfound gifts and power for good. When we come to Christ, we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). As we find out who we are in Christ, we find that He has called us to do something with our own lives, to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). In the newer version of this series, Peter is never 100% comfortable with his identity. As a child of God, we are 100% secure in who we are and what we are about... and luckily it does not involve jumping skyscrapers! You can show many scenes from this movie; pick which one you deem appropriate.
John Q. (PG-13)
In a dramatic scene in this movie, John Q. (played by Denzel Washington) finds himself in the position that his son, without a new heart, is close to death. Due to insurance issues, it looks like his son will not get the heart. John Q. offers to kill himself and let them use his heart so his son would live. This incredible scene shows us the passionate love of a father, one that knows no bounds. Much like this scene, our Father God saw our own sin problem and tore His own heart out so we might live. That heart is Jesus. Very powerful illustration of the gospel!
We Were Soldiers (R)
This takes some serious splicing and dicing. In the beginning of the movie, Mel Gibson tells his troops, "I will be the first person on the battlefield and the last person off; this I promise you." From here, show some clips of the battle that they face, but use your discretion as there are some extremely gory scenes. At the end, show him as the last person getting onto the copter as they leave the field. This is an incredible picture of our Lord, as he is the Lion of Judah. He is the beginning, and will be the end. He always fights for us.
Apollo 13 (PG)
Men are stuck in space in this movie. Three astronauts are in a ticking time bomb quickly running out of oxygen, power, and will. What we see is an incredible team of people who work hard to get these men home. Again in this movie, we see the power of teamwork directed towards a goal: survival. Show the clip in which the shuttle enters the earth's atmosphere; it cuts several times to all those who helped and their reaction when the shuttle plummets through the clouds. Their excitement is contagious. In the same way, there are so many people who play a part in our spiritual walk. Use this scene to cast vision that as Christians, we are on the same team, and each of us will see different results, but we need to be faithful to keep working as a team. What would happen if one of the controllers did not do his job? In the same way, encourage your group with this clip to share in being a part of "saving" others!
Mr. Holland's Opus (PG)
Glen Holland is a man with a vision... it did not include teaching high school for 30 years, but that is what happened. Along the way he changed a lot of lives, but did not really think about it because he was so focused on writing his orchestral piece. At the end of the film, Holland is led into the school auditorium on his last day, because the county cut his job. He is frustrated. He thinks his life has been worth nothing. This clip shows that it was not. Use this clip to encourage your group that using your gifts and following God's lead will create an incredible impact, whether we choose to notice or not. Share with your group that they might not have any idea where God is taking them in the future, but if they follow His lead, it will surely make sweet music for Him!