A down-on-his-luck businessman desperately takes the only job offered - a teacher in the U.S. Army. His mission: keep a ragtag bunch of underachieving misfits from flunking out of basic training! Be on alert as this unlikely new teacher and his underdog class unexpectedly inspire each other to be all they can be! Written by
After failing to bring in audiences as a comedy under the original title "Renaissance Man", the movie was re-released to theaters a couple months later marketed as a drama with the alternate title "By The Book", and unsurprisingly pulled in far fewer receipts the second time through the theaters. See more »
The Silver Star medal is actually a small silver star inside of a large gold star, so at first glance, it would appear Pvt. Davis received the wrong medal, but his medal was was the actual Silver Star. See more »
One of the most moving experiences in cinema I had during the Nineties
was watching Renaissance Man. It's more than a comedy about
underachievers realizing their potential. It's about the man who makes
them realize their worth as human beings getting quite an education
about life himself.
Danny DeVito is that man in a role about as far removed as you can get
from Louis DePalma in Taxi and Lawrence Garfield in Other People's
Money. He's an advertising man who loses a couple of big clients while
getting stuck in traffic and gets bounced from his job.
Needing an income while looking for a job, the Michigan Unemployment
Department gives him an interesting job, a civilian remedial education
teacher for the United States Army. He's assigned to a class of eight
trainees who might wash out if they don't shape up. It's their mental
attitudes that need adjusting.
A little trial and error and DeVito hits upon the idea to use
Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet as a teaching tool. Interpreting and
learning life's lesson from one of the greatest works of literature in
the English language apparently works and in ways far beyond making
these trainees get through basic training.
This is my favorite film with Danny DeVito and he's not an easy fit
into army life. Cliff Robertson, James Remar, and Gregory Hines are
some of the army people he deals with.
But the eight trainees are the heart of the film. Mark Wahlberg, Lillo
Brancato, Kadeem Hardison, Richard Jones, Khalil Kain, Gregory
Sporleto, Stacey Dash are seven of them. One of them doesn't make it
through and ironically because of an act of kindness. But my favorite
in the film is Peter Simmons who plays Private Brian Davis from Grand
Forks, North Dakota. It's young men like him and his father before him
in Vietnam who was killed in action who keep this country safe and
secure. He gets the best recognition possible at the end of the film
and you are guaranteed not to have a dry eye when you see it.
Renaissance Man is a beautifully crafted film from Penny Marshall and
should not be missed when broadcast.
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