Making the Grades
FRESH OUT OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, Max Keeble (Alex D. Linz) is ready to make the big move into junior high. He has the perfect hair, the perfect clothes, and he's been practicing the perfect look in the bedroom mirror. But his first day on campus proves to be a big challenge. Spurned by his secret love interest (Brooke Anne Smith), victimized by the school bully (Noel Fisher) and maligned by his egotistical principal (Larry Miller), Keeble seems doomed for the next three miserable years... until he discovers his family is moving to Chicago.
Without the restraints of consequences, this bully-branded seventh grader decides to take matters into his own hands. Breaking into the school with a couple of buddies (Josh Peck, Zena Grey), Keeble sets up a chain of pranks designed to get revenge on all his tormentors, including a massive cafeteria food-fight staged for the visiting district superintendent.
But while he basks in the success of his antics, plans at home change (thanks to some wise words Keeble shares with his browbeaten father), and instead of moving, the pint-sized vengeance seeker is left to deal with the aftermath of his actions.
This is another kid-power movie where most adults (especially educators) are doltish or evil, and children are left to tackle the tough problems. Featuring all forms of bullies, from the nasty ice cream vendor to the slick dressing lunch money lifter, the one that most young viewers will relate to is the super-sized thug who pushes new kids around. However, the film does show there are some consequences to pay (someone has to clean the mustard out of the tuba), and eventually Keeble must reevaluate the "tit for tat" philosophy as an answer to his problems.
Besides the concern of children mimicking aggressive behaviors depicted in this movie, parents may also want to discuss the seriousness of stealing, and the importance of wearing a bike helmet -- especially when racing down the street. But overall Max Keeble's Big Move does acknowledge (at least minimally) that life goes on after a movie scene fades to black.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Max Keeble’s Big Move (2001).
The janitor says that any kid can make a mess but it takes a man to clean it up. What do you think he meant? Do you think Max acted responsibly for his actions?
Max and his father both needed to exercise courage when facing bullies in their lives. Who were the bullies and how did they stand up to them? Were there other characters that showed courage?