I am constantly watching the Netflix New Arrivals list for films that are streaming that have good overall watchability as a youth ministry movie and that also may have a specific scene that can be useful as part of a youth group lesson. One recent addition that is worth noting is the 1999 film Mystery Men.
Basic plot of Mystery Men:
Imagine a world where the main superheros fail at their jobs and suddenly there is a need for new heroes. Thus begins the story of the Mystery Men, a ragtag group of less powered (if at all) heroes who are trying to save the world. The film itself is fairly funny and is slightly mature in parts, deserving of its PG-13 rating.
A Useable Clip:
One of the heroes of the Mystery Men is the very serious The Shoveler, played brilliantly by William H. Macy. In his role of the film, he is almost the paternalistic leader of the group of ragtag replacement heroes. But his home life comes into conflict because he won’t give up his superhero persona as The Shoveler to stay home at nights. In this scene, The Shoveler is having a conversation with his wife where he explains that he can’t give up his career. The great line he utters is this “Lucille, God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well.” His wife then works hard to downplay his gift and his call. (This clip is found starting at the 19:40 mark in the film.)
How to use this clip:
This clip is great to use to help youth articulate what their gifts are and to encourage them to keep using them, no matter what others around them think. You can also use this clip to talk about how the gifts that God has given us may help shape our call.
Questions to ask after watching the clip:
1. In the clip, Eddie aka “The Shoveler” returns home and his wife Lucille questions how long he is going to keep at doing what he does. His response is that God gave him a gift and he has to use it. What do you think is the gift or gifts that God gave you?
2. Lucille tries to say that just because God gave Eddie a gift, it didn’t make him a hero. Have you ever known anyone to put down what your talents are? Have you ever thought less of your gift?
3. Eddie is confident that because God gave him a gift, he HAS to use it. In the Christian world, we may talk about that idea as a “call.” Knowing what your gifts are, what call do you think you may have?
4. At the end of the clip, after his wife has given up on Eddie, his son comes up alongside him and says “I believe in you Daddy.” Sometimes we need people in our life that believe in us. Who are people that believe in you, encouraging you to use your gifts? Who are the people that you need to be their “Roland” and tell them that you believe in them?
5. Have students read 1 Corinthians 12. (The Message version is especially useful in this case.) After reading the passage, talk about how each of the gifts that we have are important for the Church. Sometimes there will be people who discourage our gift or think that our gift isn’t enough but it doesn’t mean we should stop using our gifts!
For a semi-hokey closing, depending on the size of your group, have everyone in the group go around and make their own variation of the Shoveler’s speech:
“God gave me a gift. I BLANK. I BLANK very well.” and then encourage them in that gift by having the group say “I believe in you!” (Be prepared to help some students to figure out what they see their gift as and encourage them in it! For some students, it is hard for them to see their athleticism or artistic talents as having anything to do with their spirituality. Help them see all of life and all of their gifts as coming from God!)
You can watch the clip here: http://www.anyclip.com/movies/mystery-men/unsupportive-wife/
Shout out to The Youth Cartel for sort of hijacking the “you can use” label that they use for their YouTube You Can Ise emails which are a great resource to plug into for free.