Every few years there has to be a film about inspiring teachers. “Goodbye Mr. Chips”, “How Green was My Valley”, “The Blackboard Jungle”, “To Sir with Love” ad infinitum . 30 Years ago this month it was “Teachers”, a Nick Nolte vehicle with a lot of familiar faces in it but not quite the sort of inspiration you found in the old days. The movie could have easily been parodied with a title like “Goodbye Mr. Chips With Tits”.
This is a honest effort to portray the problems in the school system with a sincere desire to call everyone to action. The problem is that it lays it on so thick, you doubt whether it has the smell of truth to it. Everything that happens in the film happened every day in schools across the country. Much of it still happens today. It just does not all happen in the same school in the same week as is played out here. The movie is entertaining enough but it is filled with cliches and events that would spark protests and marches these days, not the kind of casual shrugging of the shoulders that seems to be standard for earlier times.
Probably better if this post was written by a woman who was a girl in 1984, instead of an old guy who was already married for four years when this came out. Since it is my blog however, and since I am not a teenage girl, all you are going to get are my perspectives on this sweet teen nightmare/fantasy that started John Hughes off as the guru of teen angst and comedy of the eighties.
First loves and crushed dreams are the subject of this film from the mastermind of John Hughes. Mr. Hughes had written two or three movies before this but this was his directorial debut. Between 1984 and 1986 he wrote five films that dealt with the trauma of being a teenager. He directed four of those himself and all of them have had a lasting impact on a generation of film watchers and film makers. After his sudden and much too early death in 2009, people came out of the woodwork to praise his films and to honor his legacy. Although the movies might be seen as fluff by some, they managed to touch a whole population of kids from this time period in some pretty important ways. This film was the start of that signature sensibility that a decade latched on to.