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 underlining under "OXYMORON" changes between when Bill first writes it and when he explains it to Montgomery. See more »
See it for the Shakespeare, enjoy it for it's redemption plot and strong performances.
This is a feel good movie, not very deep BUT well conceived, written and acted. DeVito is excellent as a failing marketing man being transformed into a thoughtful, caring army educator. As important is the film's excellent presentation and discussion of the works of Shakespeare.
No surprise, DeVito's self centered abrasiveness meets with antipathy. Army officers don't care. Convinced of their own worthlessness, DeVito's students are disinterested, at best. During the semester, DeVito, mellows, students learn enough to advance,and Army brass begins to appreciates the new teacher.
The best part of this film is not DeVito's or the student's redemption but the film's beguiling Shakespeare presentation. DeVito teaches the Bard with passion. The writers deliver illuminating, focused student dialog. As one who didn't "get" Shakespeare until seeing MacBeth a year after graduation. This movie was a better class than anything I took in high school or college.
Enjoy the film and the class.
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