Monday, January 21, 2013

Dead Poets Society

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!




Dead Poets Society – 4 out of 5

The first time I watched Dead Poets Society was in a literature class I had in high school. While I enjoyed the film, I had a sneaking suspicion that my teacher was telling me that he’s just as cool, unorthodox and as inspiring as Robin Williams’ character…or he just felt it was pertinent to the poetry section we were on and the film does a great job of hammering home the concept of appreciating literature with a dash of carpe diem thrown in. Since my high school days are long gone (thankfully but not because I hated school but I hated dealing with some of the people I went to school with) I decide to revisit the film and see if it once again fills me with the desire to carpe some diem.

"Huddle in guys...you see that diem?  Carpe the fuck out of it!!!"


OH GAWD!!!  That boy in the boy's school is on fire!
The film centers on a boy’s school and a single group of friends in a literature class being taught by the young and hungry teacher John Keating (Robin Williams). Keating shows the boys to follow their dreams—repeating the mantra of carpe diem (seize the day) and live life with a hunger, a passion and a drive that they will soon lose once they get married, enter the real world or see daytime television for the first time. The boys (two of whom are played by Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard) discover that Keating was a part of a secret group that called themselves the Dead Poets Society—a group who sat around writing, creating and reading poetry and living artistic lives that will inevitably lead them to have lives of still living with their parents. The boys decide to resurrect this group and in turn gestate a rebellion within themselves to not become what their parents want them to become but become what they want to become (or be all they can be without the army)…with varying results including Keating being ostracized by the faculty and his job put in jeopardy.

"Allow me to play the song of my people.  It's called jazz...we stole it from a different
people."


Robin Williams’ character is the type of teacher everyone wanted after seeing this film—mostly because when they first meet Keating he instructs them to rip out a page from their text book but also because he’s one of those teachers who truly is out to mold young minds and instill them a hunger for knowledge; something many activist groups (like those out to ban the teaching of evolution) and politicians are actively out to destroy by paying teachers less and less each year, blaming them for poor parenting (because that is so logical), giving them larger class sizes and, pretty soon if Governor Walker of Wisconsin had his way, be allowed to legally thrash teachers with electrical whips—and then we question why teachers’ enthusiasm becomes destroyed and they no longer give a shit whether your kid can read or not. It’s like when you treat your McDonald’s cashier like shit and then are shocked they spit in your food. “I am appalled that my unruly and rude behavior on this minimum wage employee could result in such activity,” says stupidity itself. It’s a testament to the imbecilic narative of America itself: We screw over our education system every chance we get then bitch about kids being stupid and those kids grow up to be stupid kids and protest evolution being taught in schools.

Red Foreman does not approve of those teachers in their Ivory Towers.


My rant about the broken education system aside (my sister is a teacher and I have a HUGE respect for teachers. I’m of the opinion that teachers should be respected as much as doctors and make nearly as much so we have more Bill Nye’s in our society and less any asshole who utters the sentence, “I don’t go for no book learnin’.”) Dead Poets Society is a great touching film that is just as powerful to watch now as it was years ago when I first watched it. The themes are timeless and the performances are second to none—especially Williams.

And those kid's glasses deserve a mention too. They were amazing!



"Some day I'm going to work with a really smart but SUPER
BIG asshole of a doctor...unless you've seen this movie
already..."
This is one of those performances from Williams where we see his unique, seemingly drug/caffeine fueled comedy styles downplayed to a degree and comes off as that teacher we’ve either had or always wanted to have. Add to the fact that all the kids within his class comes off quite believable as a bunch of young kids who are blindly following their parents paths they paved for them and are, for the first time, getting to head down their own path—and one path led to being best friend to a jerk of a doctor, another led to being divorced by Uma Thurman and a whole lot of paths led to obscurity within the acting community.

Don't cry, Ethan...it's not like your career peaked with this one...oh...


Even though the title sounds like the organization of the Dead Poets Society involves some sort of literature Weekend at Bernie’s-like activities, the film is just downright great (even though a poet version of Weekend at Bernie’s would probably make money—especially among those who loathe “book learnin’” so it sounds like I have a script to write). Even though it’s been years since I’ve seen it, the resonating themes within in it are timeless and still capable of filling me with enthusiasm and motivation. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go seize some diem—seize that diem by the balls and write a Weekend at Bernie’s sequel that involves a poet of some kind—obviously there are some kinks to work out but the intended audience I’m going for wouldn’t notice if the film was a monkey pooping into a fondue pot for an hour and a half. Now, seriously, I have to go. Diem ain’t going to carpe itself, people.

I just found my new Bernie!  I like the intensity, New Bernie.

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