Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2: Discussion
These movie discussions are intended to help you connect your Christian faith to the modern world by:
1. Helping you learn to see echoes of redemptive truth all around you.
2. Challenging you to help other Christians see that their relationship with Jesus cannot be confined to church but must invade our every activity…even our movie-watching.
3. Equipping you to speak Christ into culture by pointing out entry points for significant discussions with non-believers. Many non-believers won’t accept an invitation to come to church, but they will talk about a movie they’ve seen recently…so we want to help you turn that conversation into an eternally significant discussion.
The Meatballs follow-up is fun and clever and, well, every bit as delightful as you would expect it to be in keeping with the first. This one focuses largely on the idea of bullying in a way that is actually really helpful…and ultimately Biblical.
The trouble starts when Flint gets to meet his hero, Chester V, a famous scientist/inventor. Both are scientists; both are inventors; both were bullied as kids. Flint’s entire life’s course was inspired by this man, and now they are friends (at least Chester lets him think so), and Flint is absolutely blinded by his awe and admiration…so much so that he misses that Chester is bullying him and his friends. Even worse, Flint doesn’t realize that because of Chester’s influence, he is being a bully to his own friends.
Because Flint is so enamored with his hero, he, understandably, listens to his hero. Chester wants revenge on his bullies. He wants to rub his success in their faces. This catches Flint a little off-guard at first, after-all, the guy who was his bully, was now his trusted friend. Unfortunately, Chester’s bitterness and mistrust began to take root and color Flint’s perspective, and turn him against him friends.
Sam does her best to remind Flint that, “A bully turned friend will be a friend to the end”—but it’s not enough. Not initially, anyway. But that’s actually helpful. You see, the point is what happens in the end—and in the end, Flint sees the truth. In the end, Flint becomes a friend again.
The movie is full of comparisons that are great for shedding light on the subject.
- You have bullying for payback and out of sheer meanness (Chester), vs. Bullying ignorantly, because of a bad influence, because you’re trying to impress the wrong people (Flint).
- You have someone who turns friends into enemies (Chester), vs. someone who turns enemies into friends (Flint, Sam and friends)
- You have people who recognize when they are being bullied (Sam and Flint’s other friends), vs. those who have no idea they are being bullied (because they don’t know what real friendship is—Barb, or because they are so enamored with the bully they are blind—Flint).
- You have someone who chooses his friends (Flint), and someone who chooses himself (Chester).
- You someone who chooses to forgive his bullies (Flint), and someone who chooses to get revenge (Chester).
Ultimately, it’s that last one that offers the most help. Forgiveness vs. revenge—you can see the difference it makes. Chester ends up friendless, alone and bitter. He had plenty of admirers, granted, but no friends—and admiration is no substitute for love. Those admirers quickly disappeared as soon as they got to know the real Chester. Furthermore, he squandered the power of his influence for good.
Flint, however, because he chose to forgive, made life-long friends of his enemies. He ended up surrounded by people who were willing to forgive him, just as he had forgiven them. He ended up with friends who were willing to follow him, to fight for him, to risk their lives for him. He may not have been as gifted as Chester, but he ended up stronger than Chester, due to the fact that he was not alone.
21 At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22 (The Message)
Questions for Discussion:
- Have you ever been bullied? How did you respond?
- Who do you like better, Flint or Chester? Why?
- How do you think Flint’s and Chester’s response to being bullied made them different?
- Have you ever not realized someone was bullying you (like Barb or Flint)? Why do you think you may have missed it?
- Have you ever bullied someone else, without even realizing it? Why do you think you were acting that way?
- Have you ever turned a bully or enemy into a friend? Has anyone ever turned you from their enemy or bully into their friend?
- Why did Chester have such a powerful influence over Flint? Did he use that influence for good or for bad?
- Who do you influence? How can you use that influence for good?
- Was Jesus bullied? Did Jesus have to forgive people? Did Jesus ever teach on forgiveness? What do you know about what the Bible says about forgiveness?
- How would the world be different (and/or your life in particular) if everyone did as Matthew 18:21-22 says and forgave each other seventy times seven (i.e. more times than you can count!)?
By Stacey Tuttle
Click here to read a collection of quotes from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2.