Dr. Peter Meyerson

 

Stand and Deliver

The classic teacher movie whose message is very important in today's society: never believe that students are unable to learn. Instead of teaching to the lowest common denominator, Edward James Olmos in a true story as Jaime Escalante sets his sights much higher, getting them to pass the AP Calculus exam. Excellent, enjoyable choice.

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Dangerous Minds

Michelle Pfeiffer is excellent as real-life former marine Louanne Johnson. Teaching English in a tough inner-city school, she reaches the "unteachable" through caring and understanding. Very true-to-life, Dangerous Minds does not fall into sentimentality but instead teaches us of the importance of making our own choices and not allowing circumstances to rule us.

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Lean On Me

Morgan Freeman plays Joe Clark, the real-life bat-wielding Principal whose goal was to bring discipline and learning to Eastside High School in New York. While he was not always the easiest on the teachers, it would sure be nice if more Principals stressed the importance of discipline and learning in their schools as he did. This film shows the importance of having strong leadership at the top.

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Mr. Holland's Opus

This memorable movie gives all teachers hope that they truly have an impact on their students. Richard Dreyfuss is wonderful as a musician/composer who must take a teaching job to support his family. In the end, Dreyfuss' character realizes that he has had as much if not more of an impact from his teaching as he would have as a composer.

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Dead Poet's Society

Robin Williams gives an awesome performance as an unconventional English teacher in a very conventional (read conservative) private school. His love of poetry and his inspiring teaching methods have a great impact on his students. The central message of the movie, to live life to the fullest everyday, is not lost. Further, Williams' poetry recitations are awe-inspiring.

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To Sir With Love

Produced in 1967, this film with Sidney Poitier as a novice teacher has a lot to teach us today. Poitier takes a teaching position in the rough part of London in order to pay his bills. Realizing that his students need to be taught important life lessons more than the curriculum he has been handed to teach them, he throws out the lesson plans and makes a real impact on their personal lives.

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The Miracle Worker

The ultimate teaching miracle, Anne Bancroft is awesome as Annie Sullivan who uses 'tough love' to get through to the deaf and blind Helen Keller played by Patty Duke. Very few people can watch the famous 'water' scene without experiencing a feeling of triumph and relief. Excellent portrayal of the importance of perseverence. Both Bancroft and Duke won an Academy Award for their performances.

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Renaissance Man

Danny Devito's performance as a teacher of the 'Double-D's' is both humorous and inspired. What appears to be a light-hearted comedy truly has a deeper meaning. Devito's character proves that William Shakespeare still has much to teach students. Surprisingly clean and somewhat corny at times, Renaissance Man in the end teaches important life lessons on responsibility and character.

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Music of the Heart

This film shows the influence that one person's drive and vision can have on others. Meryl Streep plays real-life Roberta Guaspari who moves to Harlem as a single-mother and becomes a violin teacher. Working through racial and other barriers, Roberta creates an acclaimed music program in an area where many would have said it was impossible. Definitely a heart-warming movie.

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The Karate Kid

While not normally thought of as a 'classroom' movie, The Karate Kid has much to say to teachers: Sometimes we have to have our students do things that they will not understand until much later; Basic skills are most important; Honor and integrity are central to character; Students need to see us beam with excitement over their achievements. A fun, nostalgic and inspiring movie to relish.

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Film depicting a, “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… World War I hits home in many ways.” (from Amazon. Com)

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School Ties

“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.” (from Amazon. Com)

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Hoop Dreams

“This completely absorbing three-hour documentary follows the lives of two inner-city African American teenage basketball prodigies as they move through high school with long-shot dreams of the NBA, superstardom, and an escape from the ghetto. a competitive sports drama…and addresses complex social issues, creating a scathing social commentary about class privilege and racial division.” (from Amazon.com)

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Mona Lisa Smile

“Mona Lisa Smile--about a noncomformist teacher at a private school who encourages students to pursue their individuality--is pretty much an all-girls version of Dead Poets Society that mixes '50s fashions with '70s feminist thought.” (from Amazon.com)

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The Hopart Shakespeareans

“One teacher takes a group of kids from the roughest neighborhoods and not only gets them to put on a production of Hamlet each year but teaches them to learn, grow and believe in themselves, day in, day out. It isn't easy and the challenges are shown in detail but this teacher also shares his philosophy” (from Amazon.com)

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The First Year

A deceptively simple documentary, The First Year follows five teachers in California through the first year of their teaching careers. The teachers are a diverse lot, teaching different ages and classes at five different schools, but what remains consistent are the difficulties they face and the determination they bring to it.

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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

“Dame Maggie won the first of her two Oscars for playing a teacher in 1930s Edinburgh more in thrall to her romantic notions of art and beauty than the real world, a cultivator of worshipping "Brodie Girls." (She exalts the Mona Lisa and Mussolini with equal fervor.)” (from Amazon.com)

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The Breakfast Club

“John Hughes's popular 1985 teen drama finds a diverse group of high school students--a jock (Emilio Estevez), a metalhead (Judd Nelson), a weirdo (Ally Sheedy), a princess (Molly Ringwald), and a nerd (Anthony Michael Hall)--sharing a Saturday in detention at their high school for one minor infraction or another. Over the course of a day, they talk through the social barriers that ordinarily keep them apart, and new alliances are born, though not without a lot of pain first.” (from Amazon.com)

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Higher Learning

“This ambitious 1995 film by John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) doesn't quite succeed at painting the illuminating, collective portrait of college life in the '90s that the director seeks. But Singleton does do a fine job of defining some conflicting impulses for young people on the cusp of adulthood, particularly the desire to broaden horizons on the one hand and circle the wagons with like-minded allies on the other.” (from Amazon.com)

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Boyz N the Hood

“The film stars Laurence Fishburne, Angela Basset, Ice Cube, and Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. in his first starring role in a feature film. Gooding plays Tre Styles, a teenager growing up in South Central Los Angeles… Boyz N the Hood is a landmark film beyond its commercial success, presenting a portrait of South Central in the late '80s and early '90s as painted by Singleton (who grew up in that neighborhood), achieving accuracy and dramatic resonance in this story of at-risk youth.” (from Amazon.com)

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Teachers

“This movie is for and about teachers. "Teachers" lampoons a typical overcrowded urban high school and the group of burned-out, misfit teachers who work there. The school is being sued for graduating a student who can't read, and school administrators are more concerned about preserving the supposed-credibility of their school than with correcting the problem which led to the lawsuit.” (from Amazon.com)

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Good Will Hunting

“The most brilliant mind at America's top university isn't a student ... he's the kid who cleans the floors! Will Hunting (Damon) is a headstrong, working-class genius who's failing the lessons of life. After one too many run-ins with the law, Will's last chance is a psychology professor (Williams), who might be the only man who can reach him!” (from Amazon.com)

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Blackboard Jungle

“Novelist Evan Hunter burst America's postwar bubble when he described an inner-city school terrorized by switchblade-wielding juvenile delinquents. Director-screenwriter Richard Brooks's 1955 adaptation of Blackboard Jungle still packs a tremendous wallop (even if it was shot mostly on the back lot). A forerunner of Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, this black-and-white classic--set to Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock"--is part exposé, part melodrama, part public-service announcement.”

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The Emperor's Club

“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.” (from Amazon.com)

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Freedom Writers

“Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry) comes to a southern California high school bubbling over with naive optimism, but quickly discovers that her unruly classroom isn't easily won over by her good intentions. After a few floundering attempts to connect with her students, Gruwell gives them the assignment of keeping journals about their own lives--an assignment that the class bites into with relish, which eventually bonds them together and pushes racial rivalries aside.”
(from Amazom. Com)

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Ghost World

“If you've ever felt alienated by the world around you, Ghost World will offer laughter, tears, and reassurance that you are definitely not alone. Adapted by Daniel Clowes and Crumb director Terry Zwigoff from Clowes's acclaimed graphic novel, the movie spends summer vacation with high school graduates Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlet Johansson). They inflict little tortures on the denizens of urban sprawl, wielding scathing irony as a defense against a "ghost world" full of pop-cultural lemmings and uncertain futures.” ,(from Amazon.com)

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Akeelah and the Bee

An inspirational drama, Akeelah and the Bee is the story of Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), a precocious eleven-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother Tanya (Angela Bassett), Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne); her principal Mr. Welch (Curtis Armstrong) and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah’s aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and in turn unites her neighborhood who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl.

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