Millions Movie Guide
By Steven Case Posted on December 16 2005
Optional Activity #1:
Get a wide variety of catalogs from a wide variety of companies and spread these out on the table. Give each student pen and paper, (have a few calculators) and tell them to see if they can spend a million dollars. Many of them will be surprised at just how large an amount that is.
Optional Activity #2:
You will need a dollar bill, a five, a ten, and a twenty. Xerox lots of copies of these bills (for fun, cut out a photo of your senior pastor and put in place of the president). After making several dozen copies cut the bills out and hide them around the church. Be creative. You’d be surprised how many kids will walk right under a bill taped to the ceiling. The higher the bill value the harder it should be to find. Split your group into two teams and tell them to bring back as much cash as they can. (Added Twist: Tie the team together by the wrist.) The team that returns with the most cash in twenty minutes is the winner.
Field Trip Idea: Take your group to a local mall or someplace where there are soda pop machines. Let the kid take turns putting money in the machine and then coming back to discreetly watch as random strangers get a free can. You can come up with your own version of this depending on your location. IMPORTANT: Don’t let the students take credit for the “miracle.”
Bonus Suggestion: Play the song If I Had A Million Dollars from the pop group Barenaked Ladies. It’s found on the Gordon CD.
Bonus Idea: Did you notice? Much of the scenes filmed in the boys’ home are filmed as though the camera is floating above the sleeping family, as if you are the guardian angel looking down. (You even get to pass through walls).
About one in ten verses in the entire Bible have to do with taking care of the poor, the orphans, and the widows. In the book of Luke alone it’s about one in six verses. You start to get the idea that this is high on God’s priority list when he actually tells a church (in the book of Amos) to STOP worshiping Him, STOP Singing, because he doesn’t want to hear it from a church that’s been cheating the poor. Select verses at random from the list below and make this point to your kids before starting the discussion.
Exodus 22:25-27; Exodus 23:11;
Leviticus 19:9-10; Leviticus 23:22; Leviticus 25:25- 28;Leviticus 25:35-37; Leviticus 25:39-43;
Deut. 14:28-29; Deut. 15:2-14; Deut. 24:12-21; Deut. 26:12-13;
Psalm 37:21; Psalm 37:26; Psalm 41:1-3; Psalm 112:4-5; Psalm 112:9;
Proverbs 28:27; Proverbs 29:7; Proverbs 31:9; Proverbs 31:20;
Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 16:3-4;Isaiah 58:7; Isaiah 58:10;
Matthew 5:42; Matthew 19:21; Matthew 25:35-36;
Luke 3:11; Luke 6:30; Luke 11:41; Luke 12:33; Luke 14:12-14; Luke 18:22; Luke 19:8;
Romans 12:8; Romans 12:13; Romans 12:20;
1 Cor. 13:3; 1 Cor. 16:1-2;
2 Cor. 6:10; 2 Cor. 8:9; 2 Cor. 9:1-15;
Galatians 2:10; Galatians 6:10;
1 Tim. 5:9-10; 1 Tim. 5:16;
James 1:27; James 2:2-9; James 2:15-16; James 5:4;
1 John 3:17-19
Other Verses: Psalm 65:9, Proverbs 14:27, John 4:10-11
- First one is obvious…what would you do with the money? What would you do after the robber came to collect?
- How true is the phrase “Money doesn’t buy happiness”? What about the joke that goes “Money doesn’t buy happiness but it can rent it for awhile”? When do Damian and his family seem happiest?
- In the beginning of the film we get the idea that Damian has an active imagination. (He was imagining what his new house would look like.) Do you think Damian really saw the Saints?
- In the school, it is Damian who sees that the talking robot is being controlled or at least “voiced” by the nice lady named Dorothy. How easily do you talk about your faith in school?
- How do the brothers deal with their mother’s death differently?
- Saint Anne appears smoking a cigarette and says : “You can have anything you want up there. Its down here that you have to make the effort.” There are some churches that would say smoking is a “sin”. Do you think you can really anything you want in heaven?
- Damian says “Money is just a thing and things change.” When was the last time money played a part in one of your relationships? How did it change things?
- Is there anything in life that doesn’t change? What happens when we try to stop things from changing?
- Anthony tells Damian on the first day of school…”Don’t be so conspicuous or you won’t fit in.” Is this good advice to someone on the first day of school? How much of a goal should “fitting in” be?
- Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost things and Saint Damian is considered to be the patron saint of physicians. How do these names fit the characters?
- Check out: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/patron02.htm Do you share a name with any of the Patron Saints? Does the saints name fit with yours?
- The name of the boys house is Serendipity. (which means destiny or karma. Someone once said that Serendipity is when fate has a sense of humor.) How does the name of the house fit in with the story?
- How does the house itself seem like a character in the story?
- Saint Peter tells Damian he’s going to talk to the man upstairs about getting someone assigned to the Damian’s case more permanently. Do you believe in guardian angels or saints watching over you? Do you have story about a time when you thought you were being watched over?
- When you see magic performed or special effects in a movie, do you wonder how it was done or are you able to sit back and enjoy it as part of the act?
- Has God ever answered one of your prayers in a blatantly obvious yeah-this-is-from-ME- kind of way? Talk about it.
- Anthony is very grounded in reality while Damian is very focused on the intangible. Are you more like Damian or Anthony? Explain.
- Have you ever worked at a homeless shelter or participated in a “feed the hungry” program of some kind?
- What’s the most you have ever “given” to a cause? (You don’t have to answer that with a monetary number.)
- Have you ever bought something for a random stranger? Talk about it.
- What did you think about Saint Peter’s story regarding the loaves and fishes? What would you do if someone were able to offer up a rational explanation for each of Jesus miracles?
- The only organized religion depicted in this movie is the Mormons. They are shown (almost as triplets) as white, blond, male and handsome guys. They talk about being faithful and then as soon as they get cash in hand they spend it on material things. What is a Christian’s responsibility to the poor? (Choose any verse from the first set.)
- The biggest, most convincing argument Damian has for not keeping the money is “Its not ours.” Keep that in mind with the next several questions:
- If the lady behind the counter at 7/11 thought you gave her a twenty instead of a ten and gave you too much change would you give it back?
- If the high school worker at the drive-thru at McDonald’s gave you a quarter too much in your change, would you give it back? Would it matter if you were sitting there in line or if you had already driven away?
- If you were in line for your burger and coke and the employee passed you a giant bag of food by mistake, would you take it and drive off?
- If the cafeteria lady didn’t charge you enough for your lunch and you knew about it, would you correct the mistake?
- If you found a wallet on the floor in the mall would you turn it in? If you found a hundred dollars in loose cash would you keep it? If you found a hundred dollars in cash inside an envelope with the words “Christmas money” written on the envelope, would you turn it in?
- Does the idea “it depends” come into your thinking on any of the previous questions? Should it?
- When Damian’s dad says “I’ve earned it!” Had he really? How does he justify his behavior? How do we justify our own?
- History records stories of “Honest Abe” as in Lincoln who walked five (six, seven, eight, twenty) miles to return a woman’s dime (nickel, penny). Who is the most honest person you know? Who do we have in our culture today that seems to be so full of integrity that they will be remembered for it long after they are gone.”
- Anthony seethes at notion that his father has found someone new. Where does the anger come from? Who is he really angry at?
- Damian’s mother says “You’ve got faith in people and that makes THEM stronger.” How does this work? How does this apply to the characters in the movie? Does this apply to the people in your life?
- Just before the end of the movie it looks like the family blasts off in a cardboard rocket ship and lands in a far off country. We hear the voice of Damian say “This is how I want the story to end.” Why do you think the film-makers gave the ending a “magical” tone?
- In the end of the movie it seems that Damien and his family have used the left over money to purchase a well. Read the three verses listed under “Other verses”. How does this apply to Damian and his family?
God we know you watch over us. Forgive us when we know what we are supposed to do and go running off in another direction because it looks like more fun or because we think we have earned it. Let your presence be known to us in very real way. Sometimes we just need clue, God. In the meantime, give us faith. Amen.