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Back to School! Top 5 Teachers from Film

School starts back up this Monday, and I’m sure a lot teachers and students are dreading the early mornings and the long hours of class.  So in hopes of making people a little less upset that summer break is over,  I thought I’d pick my top 5 favorite teachers from film, and remind ourselves how much EVERY teacher can impact our lives.

5. Dewey Finn- School of Rock

“I have been touched by your kids… and I’m pretty sure that I’ve touched them.”

Low on cash; Dewey Finn poses as his brother so that he may substitute teach at a very posh school.  He ends up teaching his students about classic rock and roll, and turning them into his own miniature rock band.  If there is one thing I love, it’s someone who’s excited about what they do.  Dewey isn’t the best academic teacher.  But when it comes to teaching these students about music, he instills a passion in them that they never knew they had.

4. Sharon Norbury- Mean Girls

“You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

Tina Fey played the sympathetic math teacher in the popular teen comedy, Mean Girls. Not only is Ms. Norbury unintentionally hilarious, but she also tries to help pull Cady (Lindsay Lohan) away from the vicious Plastics and gear her into the Mathletes.  And of course, who could forget how she led all the female students in a giant confession and apology to one another, pleading with them to quit hating on each other.

3. Jaime Escalante- Stand and Deliver

“It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s just they don’t know anything.”

Based on a true story, Stand and Deliver portrays a rebellious math teacher who transforms his seemingly hopeless, uninterested students into the top-scorers in the state. Their achievement is so astonishing that the school board accused the Latino students of cheating. Proof, that if you have enough faith in your students and don’t give up on them, they can accomplish anything.

2. Miss Honey- Matilda

“I can’t abandon my children. And if I couldn’t teach, I’d have nothing at all.”

She’s the unbelievably sweet teacher we wish we had as a kid.  Miss Honey bonds with Matilda (Mara Wilson) over their troubled childhoods and eventually adopts Matilda as her own.  As if Matilda wasn’t lucky enough already with her magical powers and finally escaping from her grotesque family, she gets to split a piece of what I can only imagine taste like heaven, chocolates with Miss Honey every night.

1. John Keating- Dead Poets Society

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

In a school of young men who have their lives laid out for them, one teacher dares to define the system with his unorthodox methods of teaching.  The late, great Robin Williams gave an incredibly touching performance as a teacher who inspires the lives of his prep school students.  His lessons are active, they’re lively, and he motivates his students to explore their true callings.  He taught his kids that there is more out there than just the jobs their parents have on hold for them.  They can become writers, actors, or whatever their creativity guides them to do.  If there were ever a film that made me want to teach, it was and still is Dead Poets Society.

 

Movie Review: “Get On Up”- Chadwick Boseman Fires Up the Screen as James Brown

Get On Up may confuse with it’s non-linear timeline, but there is no misunderstanding the brilliance of Chadwick Boseman.

In last year’s 42, Boseman played baseball legend Jackie Robinson as a man suppressing his pride and bottling up his anger.  It was a strong breakout performance by an actor we knew we’d be seeing again very soon.  He then made a small appearance in the underrated Draft Day, as hopeful pick for the NFL draft.  In Get On Up, Boseman gets the chance to let loose in a firehouse of passion, funk, and intense ferocity.

The story itself may not have audiences captivated, as the constant back and forth jump from one year to the next tends to scramble the brain.  I understand not wanting to follow they typical bio-pic formula but in an attempt to be different, they might have lost track of what is more effective to moviegoers.  Getting emotionally wrapped up in one scene only to be abruptly pulled away to a moment that occurs 5 years later is not only frustrating, but it is distracting.  You don’t want to to forget what you just saw because you know they will be coming back at some point to finish the scenes they just started (confusing, I know).   So instead of concentrating on the current sequence, you are bookmarking everything you watch.  Luckily, this film isn’t about the story, it’s about the performances.

Chadwick Boseman’s phenomenal portrayal as James Brown and his A-list supporting cast is all you need to remember about this movie.   The Help alums: Octavia Spencer, who plays Brown’s brothel-owning aunt, and Viola Davis, who plays Brown’s neglectful mother, slides in for the film’s most emotional scene.  But it is Nelsan Ellis, who plays Bobby Bryd-Brown’s loyal best friend, that proves once again, he is more than the flamboyant comic relief as seen on True Blood every week.  Boseman and Ellis share great chemistry on screen and complement each other extremely well.

In comparison to the recent bio-pic/musical, Jersey Boys, Get On Up wins by a landslide.  The acting, the story, and most importantly the ability to have us care for the characters.  Had the story just been slightly more chronological I would have given the film a much higher rating, but none of the faults in Get On Up deteriorates from the sensation that is Chadwick Boseman.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Get On Up” Official Trailer HD