A well meaning but burned-out high school teacher tries to maintain order against the backdrop of a pending lawsuit against his school district when it comes to light they gave a diploma to an illiterate student.
Monterey, California in the 1940's. Cannery Row - the section of town where the now closed fish canneries are located - is inhabited primarily by the down and out, although many would not ... See full summary »
1956. Obsessed with the hottest girl in class, a gawky high school student takes a crash course in teenage coolness from his motorcycle rebel neighbour, under the watchful eye of the eternal symbol of teenage rebellion: James Dean.
Catherine Mary Stewart,
A troubled Vietnam war vet deserts his wife and child shortly after he returns from the war. He returns after 10 years, where he's been living like an animal in the forest. He finds himself... See full summary »
A highly successful advertising executive decides to put his job on hold after getting an update from his father that he and his wife are divorced and decides to extend his break after revealing that his father is a diabetic.
A teacher overcomes his frustration in a high-school full of flunkies. As he attempts to educate his students, his attempts to help them gets him into trouble with the school board, which only adds to his problems. With the support of his students he beats the school board and his frustration.Written by
K. Rose <email@example.com>
In an unusual move at the end of the film, the picture cuts to an advertisement for the movie's soundtrack album just before the rest of the closing credits roll. See more »
In the opening credits it's snowing, stops and snows again. Lisa is seen walking toward the school in the snow and when she's at the front door its stopped snowing. See more »
Dr. Donna Burke:
Just what the hell are you guys running here, a g**d*** zoo? I'm in the middle of a fundraiser breakfast when I'm informed that your school psychologist has flipped out in the middle of your g**d*** office. And, then I get here and find out that there has been a stabbing, and if that's not enough, one of your kids tries to eat one of your g**d*** teachers. Mr. Rubell, what the hell do you call that?
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I love this film. My father, a teacher for 37 years, loved this film. It's not the greatest cinematic effort in the world, it's not even the best film about teaching (see "The Blackboard Jungle" or "Goodbye Mr Chips"). It is, however, a fine effort and an entertaining film.
There are some great comedic moments in this film: the school psychologist flipping out and squirting Ditto in the face with ink, Richard Mulligan as a mental patient who becomes a substitute history teacher, the theft of a teacher's desk, the whole "Ditto" character. There are problems, however.
The chief problem in this film is the inability to strike a balance between comedy and drama. The film tries to raise vital issue facing schools: funding, apathy amongst staff, lack of parental involvement, safety, administrators who worry more about image than the education of their students, teen angst, conformity vs. individuality. Much of the comedy is used to highlight many of these issues, and some of it works quite well. At other times, it devalues the issue at hand.
There are fine performances from Nick Nolte, Judd Hirsch, Morgan Freeman, Jobeth Williams, Crispin Glover, and Laura Dern. Richard Mulligan and Royal Dano are hysterical. Ralph Macchio is Ralph Macchio; not much depth, but some good moments.
I don't think this is an insult to teaching, as it tries to show different styles. Nolte is the idealistic teacher who tries to reach his students and get them involved, but has lost his passion in an uncaring system. Royal Dano, "Ditto", is a teacher who has removed any responsibility in actively teaching his students and just marks time until retirement. Allen Garfield tries to teach his class, but doesn't seem to be able to reach them and is reduced to an object of ridicule amongst his students. Richard Mulligan is a mental patient, who through an absurd set of circumstances, becomes a substitute history teacher. He literally brings history to life, by dressing up as various figures of history, and acting out their achievements. He uses different methods to engage his students and they respond.
In the end, this film is a mixed bag. It tries to illuminate the struggles of education, offers some solutions, and entertains; but, its message gets a bit lost. Still, it's definitely worth viewing.
Incidently, one reviewer remarked about the scene where Ditto is squirted with ink, saying he is using some kind of paper machine. For you younger viewers out there, that is a ditto machine. In the ancient days before photocopiers became standard, teachers had to prepare their tests and hand-outs on ditto machines. It was a kind of simple printing press. Many were hand-cranked and required a lot of effort to churn out a stack of tests. God help you if you had several pages to print. The ink had a very distinct smell and was often the center of student jokes about getting high off of the tests. Ah, those were the days! Nowadays, the best students can hope for is getting a little toner on their hands from the copier, or a faded screen on their computer. And we used to have to walk ten miles to school, through fifty feet of snow, uphill, both ways; and we liked it!
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