Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Movies Based on Teachers

Following in the tradition of films such as Lean on Me, Stand & Deliver, and Take the Lead, add The Ron Clark Story (due out on TNT in August) to the list of movies based on the work of inspirational teachers. Directed by Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God), The Ron Clark Story focuses on the work of the 2000 Disney Teacher of the Year award winner. While these stories seem like worthy candidates for films, unfortunately, they all seem to follow the same formula. A group of (usually underprivileged) school children are introduced to a new teacher/principal in their lives. At first they resist, act tough, and refuse to cooperate, but eventually they come around and the teacher/principal (usually critisized by his colleagues) becomes a hero. The end. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to capture on film the inspirational work of great teachers, but dramatizing it, usually gets caught up in the contrived plot line I just described. My suggestion: Produce a documentary on the teacher instead. The result is bound to be much more powerful, honest and real!

"Mad Hot Ballroom" was better than "Take the Lead." I agree. The challenge is that Documentaries are about the kids and the teacher and movies are about the teacher. It is probably an ego thing. Besides, what would actors do if we only went to movies to watch documentaries?? Bill Cosby would be fussing about that too. He is fussing about television because there are so many reality tv shows on and that is not giving "trained actors" the opportunity to work. Tell me, how much training did "Rudy" the three year old on his show have to have before she could work for him??
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