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Ten movies most teachers would love to have

DEAD POETS SOCIETYTeacher appreciation movies:

Robin Williams stars as an English teacher who doesn't fit into the conservative prep school where he teaches, but whose charisma and love of poetry inspires several boys to revive a secret society with a bohemian bent. The script is well meaning but a little trite, though director Peter Weir (The Truman Show) adds layers of emotional depth in scenes of conflict between the kids and adults. (A subplot involving one father's terrible pressure on his son -played by Robert Sean Leonard- to drop his interest in theater reaches heartbreaking proportions.) Williams is given plenty of latitude to work in his brand of improvisational humor, though it is all well-woven into his character's style of instruction. Teacher appreciation at its best.

Teacher appreciation movies:

James Hilton's beloved novel is tenderly remade here with a British cast for ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre. British television actor Martin Clunes plays the schoolteacher over a 50-year period, from his first day as a novice Latin instructor until his death at 83 as retired Headmaster. The world and Mr. Chipping change dramatically over the decades. He marries a proto-feminist (British stage actress Victoria Hamilton) who nicknames him "Chips" and gives him courage to test his humanitarian impulses. World War I hits home in many ways, as a long roster of the school's graduates die or are maimed, and Chips struggles with the discriminatory exile of his best friend, the German teacher. Despite obvious breaks for commercials, this film has a graceful honesty that transcends the sometimes sentimental storyline. The casual cruelty at the all-boys school may make parents flinch more than their children, rendering this a safe choice for family viewing. An excellent movie for teacher appreciation.

Teacher appreciation movies:

A Beautiful Mind manages to twist enough pathos out of John Nash's incredible life story to redeem an at-times goofy portrayal of schizophrenia. Russell Crowe tackles the role with characteristic fervor, playing the Nobel prize-winning mathematician from his days at Princeton, where he developed a groundbreaking economic theory, to his meteoric rise to the cover of Forbes magazine and an MIT professorship, and on through to his eventual dismissal due to schizophrenic delusions. Of course, it is the delusions that fascinate director Ron Howard and, predictably, go astray. Nash's other world, populated as it is by a maniacal Department of Defense agent (Ed Harris), an imagined college roommate who seems straight out of Dead Poets Society, and an orphaned girl, is so fluid and scriptlike as to make the viewer wonder if schizophrenia is really as slick as depicted. Crowe's physical intensity drags us along as he works admirably to carry the film on his considerable shoulders. No doubt the story of Nash's amazing will to recover his life without the aid of medication is a worthy one, his eventual triumph heartening.

Teacher appreciation movies:

This is the third hilarious feature film from HaleStorm Entertainment. Michael Birkeland (who starred as main character Will Swenson's best buddy in "The Singles Ward") plays a good-hearted but less than zealous home teacher. His new companion (played by comedian Jeff Birk, last seen in the concert film "It's Latter Day Night!") is determined that they will get all of their home teaching done. But it's the last day of the month, and seeing their families will entail a road trip fraught with more pratfalls, mishaps, and mayhem than any Elder's Quorum lesson ever prepared them for.

Teacher appreciation movies:

DANGEROUS MINDSNowadays, high school movies are just crude and gross humor filled (i.e. The New Guy which wasn't a bad movie at all), but in 1995, a little movie called "Dangerous Minds" came out. This was a very beautiful movie. The storyline was very good. Michelle Pfeiffer (Pre- I Am Sam and Up Close and Personal) stars as an ex-Marine who is interested in being a substitute teacher to a SMART kid class. But she is placed as the sub teacher of a bunch of urban-ghetto students. The students at first don't like her, but they grow on her as they do on her. The storyline is similar to "Stand and Deliver" but don't consider this as a sequel or an imitation. This movie is awesome! This movie also has a great hiphop/r&b/rap soundtrack that was a hit in 95. There were some good movies that came out in 95, but this was the very best.


Teacher appreciation movies:

Brendan Fraser plays a student attending a wealthy boarding school on a football scholarship in the 1950s. When the other kids find out he's Jewish -a fact he's been hiding- his fortunes and relationships instantly change. The film is a story of bigotry, conflict, the hero trying to hang on. In the end, good intentions are the driving force of the movie. Directed by Dick Wolf, creator of television's Law and Order.

Teacher appreciation movies:

Is it a serious look at drug addiction and the "narcotics problem," or is it pure exploitation? Well, High School Confidential opens up with Jerry Lee Lewis rolling into town on a flatbed truck, pummeling an upright piano as he bellows one of his hits, so that should tell you something right off. Eminently slappable punk Russ Tamblyn enrolls at the local high school and immediately starts to hit on the teacher (Jan Sterling). Soon he proves that he's even cooler than jive-talking king daddy-o John Drew Barrymore (Drew's dad), and is getting acquainted with the local dope peddler (Jackie Coogan). Never mind that Barrymore should be able to pick him up over his head and throw him; Tamblyn has a switchblade at the ready should trouble break out. At home, he's constantly fending off the amorous advances of his "aunt," Mamie Van Doren. Of course, Russ's character is a narc, sent undercover to infiltrate the school dope ring. High School Confidential's cast includes Lyle Talbot, Michael Landon and famous offspring William Wellman Jr., and Charlie Chaplin Jr. Fifties teen movies (and drug-hysteria movies) just don't come any better than this; simultaneously absurd, exciting, and hilarious.

Teacher appreciation movies:

Hollywood's legendary "woman's director," George Cukor (The Women, The Philadelphia Story), transformed Audrey Hepburn into street-urchin-turned-proper-lady Eliza Doolittle in this film version of the Lerner and Loewe musical. Based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady stars Rex Harrison as linguist Henry Higgins (Harrison also played the role, opposite Julie Andrews, on stage), who draws Eliza into a social experiment that works almost too well. The letterbox edition of this film on video certainly pays tribute to the pageantry of Cukor's set, but it also underscores a certain visual stiffness that can slow viewer enthusiasm just a tad. But it's really star wattage that keeps this film exciting, that and such great songs as "On the Street Where You Live" and "I Could Have Danced All Night." Actor Jeremy Brett, who gained a huge following later in life portraying Sherlock Holmes, is quite electric as Eliza's determined suitor. Possibly one of the very best expressions of teacher appreciation.

Teacher appreciation movies:

A good JD flick. Rich kid John Ashley is a high school bully with his gang of goons extorting money from local teens for all kinds of things. When he is involved in the death of a fellow student in a car race, things really heat up. Look for Gary Vinson ("Christy" from "McHale's Navy") as one of the teens. Teenage rebellion fostered by the conspicuous absence of parental supervision leads to hijinks on the road, at the malt shop and in the locker room. Stephens, a spoiled rich kid, rigs a high school election and, with his Jerry Lewis-esque sidekick Cricket, holds the hallways hostage. After a tragic drag race, Stephens confronts his true nature in a "far-out" denouement that will leave you reeling with laughter. This movie is above and beyond the typical teenage exploitation because it not only maintains a wonderfully awful B-movie story, but also entertains.

Teacher appreciation movies:

Comparisons to Dead Poets Society are inevitable, but The Emperor's Club achieves a rich identity all its own. In the honorable tradition of great teacher dramas like Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Kevin Kline is well cast as Mr. Hundert, longtime teacher of classics and assistant headmaster of St. Benedict's Academy for Boys. There he encounters a defiant student and senator's son (Emile Hirsch) who desperately needs--but ultimately rejects--Hundert's lessons on leadership, integrity, and the shaping of character. Adapted from Ethan Canin's short story "The Palace Thief," the film is conventional to a fault, its flashback structure unfolding in Hollywood shorthand. But its noble sentiments remain potently intact, allowing Kline a performance of great emotional nuance while imparting lessons of universal value. "This is a story with no surprises," as Hundert says, but The Emperor's Club may surprise you with its admirable portrait of a life well lived.

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