Over at an inspy forum, a couple members got to discussion the movie NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE. Pretty much the general response was that they thought the movie was stupid. I like the movie, so I responded with this:
I have to say that my youth pastor-husband has often used clips from ND in his sermons. Why? Because no matter how much us "adults" don't get Napolean, students do. Even the popular ones because down deep inside most students perceive themselves as not fitting in like ND did.
When I sat down with hubby and our kids to watch the film the first time, I couldn't stop wondering why teenagers liked this movie. But then Napolean met Pedro. Instead of focusing on how much of a pathetic person Napolean was, I began to see him as a person who just wanted to be accepted. So many people -- adults and students -- spend their lives seeking acceptance, seeking that answer to the loneliness in their souls.
Napolean found his "answer" in his relationship with Pedro. But he didn't realize he could stop playing games to appear cool. In their first few conversations, Napolean lied about his girlfriend and his "skills." Eventually, though, he learned to be honest because he finally realized he didn't have to lie for Pedro to like him.
I think many of us are like Napolean in our relationship with Christ. We finally have someone we can be real with, honest with, intimate with (intimacy doesn't mean sex), yet we still play games. We substitute church activity for being with Jesus. We do the right things to make us look spiritual, when really we have no idea what it means to "crucified with Christ" so that it's no longer us who lives but Christ who lives in us.
In the end, Napolean sacrificed his need to appear cool in an attempt to help his friend win an election. He had no idea that his dance would win the audience's approval. In fact, I suspect he feared it wouldn't, but he took the risk anyway because a skit had to be done. Look at his face expression and body language when the dance was over.
That scene is one that the average teenager doesn't skim over because they all want a friend who is willing to sacrifice himself/herself for them. And if you can show a student that Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice....
To "get" the movie, my advice is to remember what it was like to be a teenager. Remember those things that you've chosen to forget because they hurt too bad. Remember when you were last to be chosen for t-ball or started your period right in the middle of art or when the class cutie barely touched your hand while square-dancing yet practically assimiliated the perfect Suzie's. FYI, none of those happened to me, but we all have memories of childhood and our youth years when we felt unacceptable.
Anyway, that got me thinking: Do you notice spiritual themes or subtexts or analogies in movies? I, personally, think movies and tv shows are a non-threatening way to share a biblical truth...if one can find one in the movie or tv show. Trust me, I don't see much in 24 or SURVIVOR, but LOST and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA often have wonderful scenes that can be used to start a spiritual conversation.
Or you could watch a movie like CONSTANTINE.
What about you? Have you found a biblical truth or analogy in a tv show or movie? If so, what was it?