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|Index||38 reviews in total|
Jobeth Williams stole the show (with a nude scene, I admit). She
outshone everyone, except maybe Royal Dano. If it isn't the best film
about the perils and pitfalls of teaching, it runs a close second. I
found the balance between comedy and serious drama delicately handled.
The death of Ditto (Royal Dano) -- in class, for Gods' sakes -- is a case in point. It was macabre enough to satisfy anyone, and it touched just the right edge of balance between dark humour and seriousness. Unfortunately, as most teachers have done, I have know not a few colleagues whose daily performance was not far removed from his.
Just by the way, when I taught in junior high school, I came to know Jobeth, as many of my students in speech/drama competed against her. I knew then (mid-1960s) that she was destined for stardom.
Way to go, Jobeth! Huzza!
When the movie came out, I had been teaching in public high schools for
22 years. The staff where I worked had compared the characters in the
movie with people on the school staff. Everyone knew I was the Nick
Nolte character as I was the teacher in the school who had the most
trust of the students. It was not unusual for me to come to school
wearing sun glasses-- sit in my morning homeroom with the lights out
I really did realte to that. In fact when I retired, I cued up the ending of the movie and showed it to the end of year faculty meeting. Remember where the kids says to nolte-- "hey....you're crazy" ?? Nolte's response. "yeah-- I'm a teacher !!" Classic !!!
This is a pretty good movie to watch. It manages to combine drama with
typical '80's comedy and entertainment. It however is not a movie that
is without it flaws and it still does make some bad choices.
It's a bit weird. On the hand I really liked this movie but on the other I'm also still able to recognize it as a not so great movie. Problem is really with its story. It's main plot line just isn't the best one thinkable and it besides makes the movie unnecessarily difficult and serious at times. Besides, the overall movie gives you the feeling it has a bit too many different plot lines going on at times and the movie features 2 or 3 too many characters in it. It also makes the balance between its comedy and drama a bit uneven at times, though most of the time it still works out fine and refreshingly original, luckily.
Still its main premise and original intentions were just fine. Really, having an high school movie that is focusing on the teachers instead is more interesting and fun than it might sound to you. Besides, I really feel the movie managed to do a great job capturing the atmosphere at an high school and the tensions and relationships between teacher and students and the teachers among each other.
It's also a movie that is not afraid to criticize the system. It shows some of the things that are wrong with the school system and how flawed it actually is. And really, it's 28 years later and what has changed? This movie might had just as well been released last week.
But before I'm starting to give the impression this movie is a serious or heavy one, it only is so for half of it's time, or probably even less than that. The rest of the time it really is being filled by some '80's trademark comedy, that is going over-the-top with some of its events and certainly with its characters.
And the movie does really have a surprisingly big cast in it, with Nick Nolte in the main lead. But it's further more starring JoBeth Williams, Judd Hirsch, Ralph Macchio (the Karate Kid himself), Lee Grant, Morgan Freeman(!), Steven Hill and a still very young Laura Dern and Crispin Glover as well, among many others of course. And yes, all of the actors truly help to make this movie worthwhile to watch as well.
I just can't give it a very high rating though. It's just too flawed with its story for that and it doesn't always manage to keep its focus on the main subject and what the movie was all supposed to be about, which is a bit of a missed opportunity. That however doesn't mean that I can't recommend this movie to you as well. On the contrary quite really. It's still a perfectly watchable and unique little movie, you probably won't regret watching.
I first saw this film on video in the 80's. I thought it was pretty funny at times. However, I felt that was sort of a flaw because near the end it gets too serious, which we aren't really prepared for. Maybe it should have been more serious early on in depicting the school being sued by a former student. Nolte is pretty good in his role, although I have heard he was drunk a lot, which does fit his character in one scene with his buddy Roger. The cast is fine, maybe they should've just tried to be more serious and not gone for so much comedy. Also, I like to give star ratings, not a number from one to ten. Basically I give it 2.5 stars for its humor. One more thing. Liked the songs. Should try to get the soundtrack someday.
So, the question for the reviewer above is, "compared to WHAT?" I'll tell ya, the best parts of this flick were left on the cutting room floor. They shoulda never let Aaron Russo near the editor. From reading the original screenplay, I can tell you this is a fine piece of writing, as are all of McKinney's works. Good work by Hirsch and Nolte (in the days when even showing up was a challenge). But this film, like many others, is more a result of the whims and moods of the last person to hold the razor blade and splicing tape. Arthur Hiller's original cut is a masterpiece; alas, it exists only in the memories of those fortunate few who sat through the original screening. Someday McKinney will be recognized for the genius he is.
While there is nothing contemptible about this film, it could have been
so much better. The basic premise is the struggles in an old urban high
school full out out of control kids and teachers who stopped caring.
There is the obligatory clueless principal, the maverick teacher, the
neurotic teacher, the boring lazy timeserving teacher, the troubled
wise cracking kid who is so clever, a knocked up blonde etc etc.
The plot is the school is being sued because one dummy who passed through the system is illiterate and wants to blame someone besides himself. There is an idealistic young pretty lawyer, Lisa Hammond, who is also an ex student, played by Jo Beth Williams. She goes back to get depositions, not to enrich her worthless client, but to change the system by exposing the problems of the school where blatantly unqualified students are passed through just to get rid of them.
So she finds her old English teacher, the hip but jaded idealist, Alex Jurel, and serves him a summons by following him into the men's room. Nolte was Jurel and as always, did his part well. Then throw in Ralph Macchio as the troubled trouble maker but good kid Eddie Pilikian, while still looking like the Italian jd he always reminded me of. He has an even more messed up sidekick Danny, played by Crispin Glover, in a pre "River's Edge" dementia state.
Okay the plot chugs along pretty well some comedy, some problems exposed, some capers, as the staff of the school, aided by the school's cynical lawyer, try to stonewall the case. Lisa tries to goad old idealistic Jurel into changing stuff while putting some moves on him. Blah blah blah. But the steady stream of soap opera cases, like the messed up Danny getting shot dead in the halls by the police and in about a minute he is already forgotten.
In short, the movie tried but was only partly successful. For an 80s movie, it was good but not that good. Also, I wanted to hear at least one person say, "It was more that loser's fault that he never got an education than the schools."
I wish I could find this film cheaply at the 5 dollar or less bargain
box DVD, because I would snatch it up as one of the funnest films of
I have seen this flick several times on tape and in fact, once showed this to a high school class I was subbing in. I think, judging from their blah reaction, the parody escaped them.
This is a parody upon some of the worst stereotyped teachers in education. We know in the US once a teach you keep on until that golden retirement. I never believed an older, tenured and high paid teacher was as good as a new hire, young and enthusiastic.
If you can find this flick on DVD for less than 12 dollars buy it. I'd say since it is dated, two to five dollars would be about right.
This is a movie that was well before its time. It is inspiring for novice teachers. It embodies wonderful archetypes for teachers...clearing giving fine examples of what good teaching looks like and what bad teaching looks like. We can all identify with the characters in this movie. We had teachers like each one of them. The character played by Richard Mulligan is particularly interesting and refreshing. Many of his methods, although viewed humorously in 1984, embody the qualities of outstanding teaching in the 21st century. Nolte's character also embodies sound pedagogic principles coupled with the frustrations. The issues in education are still very similar. The technologies have changed but the tenets remain the same. A study of the archetypal teachers in this movie would be a useful study in teacher training, education and professional development.
"Teachers" really doesn't do justice to show us the real world of teaching
in a school. But I found it to be a funny and touching movie anyway. An
excellent cast came together to create this satire about the lives
surrounding teachers, students, and faculty members of an Ohio high school.
The main plot of "Teachers" is about a former student (who's never seen) who
plans to sue his alma mater, and the pressures the faculty is forced to
take. Nick Nolte is very good here as a popular social studies instructor
who doesn't play by the rules; Judd Hirsch is also good as the Vice
Principal who's a longtime friend of Nolte's. Other cast members include
Jobeth Williams as a lawyer (and former student of Nolte's) who's firm is
defending the person suing the school; Ralph Macchio ("The Karate Kid") as a
troubled student who develops a friendship with Nolte; Oscar winner Lee
Grant as the school's superintendent; and the late Emmy winner Richard
Mulligan (TV's "Soap" and "Empty Nest") as a mental patient who passes
himself off as a subsitute teacher for a history class and acts out all of
the historical events by dressing up in costume. Even Morgan Freeman, Laura
Dern, and Crispin Glover are featured in small roles before going on to
bigger projects (Freeman in "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Shawshank Redemption";
Dern in "Jurassic Park" and "Rambling Rose"; and Glover in "Back to the
Future"). All these actors are well cast. "Teachers" isn't a great film, but
a good one. I was entertained by most of it, although there are a few
preposterous moments. For one thing, I don't buy for one second that a
teacher can win three consecutive teaching awards for the most orderly
taught class, and then spends every class session everyday reading the
newspaper and falling asleep while his students do their school work in
class. That's not teaching. This character should not have been included in
the script, or at least make him teach. This is absolute nonsense. But I
loved the early scene when this instuctor (using some kind of paper machine
in the school offices) gets blue ink squirted in the face by the school
psychologist who wants to use that same machine (this comes because of his
refusal to let her use the machine and as a result the woman flips out).
Also, the scene where a woman walks naked down a school hallway is
ridiculous. "Teachers" is nonsensical at times, but nevertheless I found it
entertaining as I watched it.
*** (out of four)
As an ex-teacher(!) I must confess to cringing through many scenes -
I continued to watch to the end. I wonder why?! (Boredom, perhaps?)
The initial opening scenes struck me as incredibly mish-mashed and unfocussed. The plot, too, although there were some good ideas - the plight of a relief teacher, for example - were not concentrated enough in any one direction for 3-D development.
Not one of Mr Nolte's finer moments. As to young Mr Macchio, does he speak that way in *every* movie?
Plot and acting complaints aside, the hair-styles alone were a nostalgic (if nauseating) trip.
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