OK, the Sunday School class is watching Rat Race

…for the twelfth time!

My fault. I gave the middle schoolers (with a few high schoolers thrown in) choices of what to do this semester. Rat Race (which the older kids have seen 12-15 times) even beat out “Walking to the donut shop and having the teacher treat”. Which all beat out any Biblical content, of course.

So a few questions:

What IS it about this movie?

Is there anything I need to worry about with the younger kids who haven’t seen it yet?
Besides a pierced chick flashing Seth Green and brother… (Checked with the 60-something senior pastor, who said “Blood and gore bad, boobs good. God made boobs, y’know…”)

Should I be screening something “deeper”, more spiritual, or even a comedy with more depth? Or is “Church = safe, fun place” a sufficient lesson?

And, is there any line in this movie that won’t crop up in your regular life after you’ve watched it a dozen times?
I’ve passed bikers and said "I am een a rrrrace!" in Rowan Atkinson’s accent… and cracked them up. Seems a lot of people have seen this.

Have you considered showing them It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World? They might appreciate it, having seen Rat Race. But they probably won’t recognize any of the actors from the earlier film.

(BTW, I thought your pastor’s response was weird.)

Wait’ll you meet the pastor! Very respectable Lutheran PhD-in-English-Lit type, but regularly slips Lebowski quotes into his sermons.

TRIED Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World… too slow for them. They gave up after half an hour. I had to agree, much to my chagrin (first movie my dad took me to).

I’ve been on record as loving Rat Race much more than its Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad predecessor.

What is it about this movie? It’s a riot, simple as that. Probably the best thing about it is the humorous foundation of the audience knowing much more than the characters know. For example, my favorite scene is when Owen (the disgraced referee) is driving the Lucy bus, and the cow hits the windshield, and WE KNOW WHERE THE COW CAME FROM. Ditto the scene where Amy Smart and Breckin Meyer are arguing with the gas-station owner, and he says, “If the lord don’t like the way I do business, let him say so!” and the rocket car, driven by Whoopi Goldberg and her (film) daughter, creates a sonic boom that knocks down the guy’s shop.

Then there are the jokes with the long setup which pay off nicely, such as the John Lovitz as Hitler in front of the WWII veterans. And the throwaway jokes, such as the rich peoples’ side bets.

It’s a well-woven ensemble comedy, with varied styles of humor, and a coherent plot. What’s not to love?

I’m not surprised. It’s a long movie for a comedy (depending on the edit, somewhere between 2.5 and 3+ hours), and (despite all the slapstick) its pacing is probably fairly typical for a film from that era – in other words, glacially slow for kids who were raised on the comparatively frenetic pace of most modern movies and TV shows.


I’d be surprised if they recognize any of the actors from Rat Race, other than Seth Green and maybe Whoopi Goldberg.

Actually, they recognize Seth Green’s voice (Family Guy and Robot Chicken). And John Cleese (“It’s the guy who bought the dead parrot!”) … but they ALL know Rowan Atkinson (“In Rat Race, it’s like Mr. Bean turned Italian.”).

BTW, I thought your pastor’s response was supercool. Surprising, and probably unusual, but way cool.

I’ve never understood the attitude that violence is acceptable but the human body is not. Your pastor sounds like a man after my own heart (except for the whole religious-believer thing).
ETA: Apologies for what turned into a hijack. Please carry on with the original topic.

Why exactly do you have to accept one if you reject the other? I don’t know any pastor that would be okay with either part. And I definitely can’t imagine 100% of parents being okay with it. Heck, not even my junior high school would show a movie like this without sending out permission slips.

Yes, this pastor is quite odd, and I seriously think it will come back to bite him. This is the type of stuff that causes church splits.

I personally think it’s weird. Boobs at church? PG-13 boobs?

The parents don’t pay for Sunday School, do they?

I’d suggest Scavenger Hunt but it’s only on VHS.

What about Narnia or Lord of the Rings? Not too hard to tie in spiritual concepts to those movies.

You don’t. But in my experience, most of America does. As the old saying goes, if a man fondles a woman’s breast, it gets an R rating; if a man cuts off a woman’s breast, it gets a PG-13.

I agree with you, though, in that I’m surprised no parents have complained yet.

That said, I agree with the pastor and not with the complaining parents, should they ever appear. I’m not gonna get upset if my 8-year-old sees a flash of boob in an otherwise acceptable and enjoyable movie (which I’m guessing this one isn’t — maybe in a few years).


In my recollection, you don’t see the boobs full-on, the audience is looking at the girl’s back when she flashes. Maybe the slightest bit of curve shows at the edges, but you’d see more boob flesh if she was viewed from the front and she was wearing a bikini top that most would consider acceptable in a kids’ movie.

Yeah, even though it’s mostly a bare back and Implied Boobage™, I did strategically walk in front of the screen each time we’ve shown it (to insults and thrown trash from the kids, and sadistic laughter from me). And all the kids are 14-18, mostly boys. Nerdy boys. So for them to be laughing at something with more depth than 4chan is a step in the right direction.

Boobs at church. And frankly, much weirder boobs than what shows up in Rat Race.

I went out on a few dates with one of the extras who was a Lucy in Rat Race. She had boobs, no doubt about that.

Don’t you have a curriculum for Sunday School? I’m a UU and we’re very, very liberal, but even I would expect there to be some sort of religious education going on in my kids’ classes. Is there a movie that’s appropriate for that age group that has a message you could tie in with a sermon your minister gives? A group project you all could do in class that benefits your wider community?

I would definitely vote for the deeper/more spiritual route. I’m betting most if not all of the parents are bringing their kids to church so that they learn about their religion, not just to hang out on Sunday morning.

Incidentally, at my UU Fellowship, there’s a year-long middle school curriculum that’s based around the Simpsons and I think there’s a middle school or high school curriculum based on Star Wars.

ETA: Here’s the book used in the Simpsons course: http://www.secondunitarianomaha.org/list_books.cgi?id=0812694333