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Pay it Forward. Can a simple idea make a big difference?
Cast:
Kevin Spacey .... Eugene Simonet
Helen Hunt .... Arlene McKinney
Haley Joel Osment .... Trevor McKinney
Jay Mohr .... Chris Chandler
James Caviezel .... Jerry
Jon Bon Jovi .... Ricki McKinney
Angie Dickinson .... Grace
David Ramsey .... Sidney
Gary Werntz .... Thorsen
Marc Donato .... Adam
Kathleen Wilhoite .... BonnieBEFORE WATCHING:
Define: altruism Utopia

WHILE WATCHING
Questions:
1. Why does the reporter refuse the offer of the Jaguar?
2. Where does the “realm of possibility exist” according to Mr. Simonet?
3. Why do we consider eleven-year-olds incapable of making a difference in the real world?
4. What is the danger of putting acts of kindness into actual implementation? Does Trevor put hisfamily in danger by inviting the homeless man home? Why?
5. Why can’t Jerry, the homeless man, pay Trevor back?
6. What is the math of “pay it forward”? How powerful is this?
7. What is “faith in the goodness of people”? How does it work in Trevor’s system?
8. Why is Trevor’s project with Jerry initially a failure?
9. Even in a world of human frailty and weakness, good can exist. What is Trevor’smom’s
weakness? What is her first step towards “recovery”?
10. How does the woman on the bridge “save” Jerry?
11. Why do the words, “I forgive you,” from Trevor’s mom to her mom mean so much?
12. Las Vegas, the city of sin and gambling, is the setting for the movie. How is the idea of pay it forward a gamble?
14. Roger Ebert in his review of the movie wrote that “in the real world, altruismis less
powerful than selfishness, greed, nepotism, xenophobia, tribalism and paranoia. If you doubt me, take another look at the front pages.” Can an idea change the way people behave in this real world or do you need something more tangible than an idea?
AFTER WATCHING
1. Discuss
Discuss with your classmates what it means to make a difference to others. Why would someone do something ifs/he weren’t directly helped by it? Who has made a difference in their lives? Who have they made a difference for? Are there particular barriers for young people who try to make a difference? Are there any models of young people who try to make a difference? What keeps people from helping others?
2. Write a “Reacting To Trevor’s Idea” Essay. You can work in pairs.
Read over the following essayquestions about Trevor and discuss the details in a five-paragraph essay.
Trevor McKinney believes he has a world-changing idea in the concept of "pay it forward." In your essay explain what Trevor’s idea is, the reaction of both his peers and the adults in his life, and describe how you would react if you were in Trevor’s class. Be sure to explain why people responded the way they did to hisidea. Explain why you would have encouraged or discouraged Trevor’s idea.
Paragraph One: Introductory paragraph
A. Hook: a statement used to catch the reader’s attention
B. Thesis Statement: a statement explaining what the reader can expect to learn from your essay
C. Transition Statement: connects paragraph one to paragraph two
Paragraph Two: Trevor’s idea of "pay it forward"
A.Topic Sentence: a brief statement introducing a paragraph
B. Supporting Detail One
C. Supporting Detail Two
D. Supporting Detail Three
E. Concluding Sentence: a brief statement concluding the paragraph; connects to next paragraph
Paragraph Three: Reaction of others in the book
A. Topic Sentence: a brief statement introducing the paragraph
B. Supporting Detail One
C.Supporting Detail Two
D. Supporting Detail Three
E. Concluding Sentence: a brief statement concluding the paragraph; connects to next paragraph
Paragraph Four: Your reaction to Trevor’s idea
A. Topic Sentence: a brief statement introducing paragraph
B. Supporting Detail One
C. Supporting Detail Two
D. Supporting Detail Three
E. Concluding Sentence: a brief statement...
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