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RELEASED: 1995, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 99 mins
DIRECTOR: John N Smith
PRODUCERS: Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson
SCREENPLAY: Ronald Bass
MUSIC: Lisa Coleman & Wendy Melvoin
Michelle Pfeiffer as Louanne Johnson
Courtney B Vance as George Grandey
Renoly Santiago as Raul Sanchero
Wade Dominguez as Emilio Ramirez
George Dzundza as Hal Griffith
Bruklin Harris as Callie Roberts
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Ex-marine divorcee Louanne Johnson is accepted for a post as a teacher in a tough inner city American school.
Once confronted with her obnoxiously rebellious class, Louanne resolves to grab their interest, stimulate their minds and teach them something worthwhile. However, the task proves to be not as easy as she anticipates.
I chose to watch Dangerous Minds, as I believed it would give a relatively up-to-date slant on an age-old story topic, that of determined teacher versus a class of attitude-ish layabouts.
The first thing which irritated me as the film got underway was the music, as I can't bear rap. I do appreciate such music is more conducive to a mid-1990s teen angst situation than something from my own or previous eras, but my dislike of rap instantly got my hackles up. However, I was prepared to....pardon the pun...face the music, and see through what I hoped would evolve into a tough, gritty and rewarding piece of drama.
With the exception of Wade Dominguez as the irascible student Emilio Ramirez and George Dzundza as Hal Griffith, fellow teacher at the same school and personal friend of Louanne, I found most of the acting....even Michelle Pfeiffer as Louanne....far too contrived, and quite frankly, nowhere near edgy enough. Michelle Pfeiffer was acceptable in her role, but nothing particularly special, although I do put this down the way this storyline was handled by the direction/production team and screenplay writer, rather than anything especially lacking in Pfeiffer's acting abilities.
For me, the kids in this film simply weren't nasty enough, and the problems they posed to Louanne didn't even border insurmountable, let alone provide a particularly stringent challenge. The class, largely from poverty-stricken homes, who spent their leisure time caught up in gang culture and all that goes with it, were far too easily drawn into the off-curriculum methods Louanne chose as her way of attempting to grab their interest, stimulate their minds and set them on a pathway of self-examination and thoughtfulness.
There was so very much about Dangerous Minds for me that just didn't hit the realism spot. For instance, I consider it highly unlikely that a classful of adolescent degenerates would instantly warm to the poetry of Bob Dylan, but this lot did. I would have thought a more appropriate way to get through to these young people via poetry would have been to encourage them to analyse the philosophy behind the lyrics to the music of their own generation....rap! Once that has been achieved, if in fact it could be, then perhaps the process can be expanded in an outwards direction, maybe onto Bob Dylan! When Bob Dylan was producing music that expanded the mind of a whole generation, he was speaking to young people whose whole philosophy of life and culture was a million worlds away from that which arose in the late 1980s, into the 1990s and is prevalent now.
The one valuable thing Louanne did manage to stimulate her young charges towards giving considered thought to, was the issue of choice....how we all, even if we aren't aware of it, choose which handle we grab hold of out of those available in any given situation. For me, that....and the brief inclusion of a section of Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man into the musical score....were the only things that had any deep, true or realistic meaning in the whole film.
Whilst watching, I was reminded of the 1967 British film To Sir With Love, which in itself I find lacking down the route of realism. I was also reminded of the American 1950s gem, Blackboard Jungle. These connections I made purely from the shared subject matter aspect, because as far as the presentation of Dangerous Minds is concerned, I even feel that To Sir With Love is better. There is no comparison between Dangerous Minds and Blackboard Jungle....the latter is many streets ahead in content, acting, realism....everything!
There is far too much 'twee-ness' about Dangerous Minds, although I do appreciate that it quite likely is a valiant, maybe even genuine attempt to draw people's attention to the possibility of the right person who uses the right tools, being able to make a breakthrough when it comes to educating rebellious youth. The twee parts were mainly Louanne's lack of understanding of the young people's street culture, the poverty and apathy inside of their homes, who they perceive as heroes and who they perceive as villains and what they feel they have to do in their private lives in order to be accepted and hold onto their somewhat warped sense of pride. OK, it's warped, but it's there. Louanne attempted to turn their negativity into positivity, but without fully comprehending the grey areas....and I'm certain the film isn't intended to be interpreted in that way. I feel the specific aim of any 'message' Dangerous Minds may contain is one of teacher triumphing over pupils. In this particular film and for me, it just didn't work, as I simply didn't find any of it truly convincing.
I just got the impression that the direction/production/screenplay writing team maybe sat around a table, nodded their heads a few times, and reached a mutual conclusion that Dangerous Minds would contain a teacher, some tough kids, a bit of tragedy, a bit of mawkishness, some terrible music....glue it all together, and here we have a film! I'd like to have seen Dangerous Minds really roughed up, all the sugar and spice taken out of it and to have truly been given some deep food for thought.
In conclusion and as far as I'm concerned, Dangerous Minds is a mediocre - albeit moderately watchable - film that in order to hit all or most of the right chords inside of me, needs a serious overhaul and dragging upwards into the land of realism....more grit, less gooey sentimentalism and to be something that slams worryingly hard into my sense of awareness, rather than making me cringe with something bordering embarrassment.
My overall recommendation is....watch Blackboard Jungle instead. It's far, far closer to reality, much more tense, much grittier and hard-hitting, even if it is almost 60 years old!
At the time of writing, Dangerous Minds can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.32 to £19.99
Used: from 57p to 91p
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
First released in 1996, Dangerous Minds has to be one of my favourite films. The story focuses around an ex-marine called Louanne Johnson (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) who is recruited to teach in an American inner city school. The story is based on a true story "My Posse Don't Do Homework" written by Louanne Johnson about her teaching experiences. The film is very inspirational and has won a number of awards including the Blockbuster Entertainment Award in 1996.
The film opens using black and white shock images of the inner city ghetto where most of the students live. Drugs and gangs are rife and with little opportunity in this poor area, the students don't have any motivation or ambition in life.
After accepting the position, Louanne starts teaching immediately as the previous teacher had suffered a nervous breakdown. The students try their very best to push their new teacher the same way but she doesn't stand for it. Instead she adapts some of her marine training to try to grab their attention.
Louanne develops some other teaching techniques by thinking outside of the box, which quickly engages the class. She starts by awarding everyone in the class an A and tells them that it is up to them to keep it by working hard. In a very funny scene she teaches the students a karate hold which later lands her in trouble with the Head teacher.
Despite all of the bureaucratic and social challenges she has to overcome, her students end up competing in a class poetry assignment called the Dylan Dylan contest. The incentive for the winning group was to be taken out to a posh restaurant which was paid for by Louanne.
As well as the teaching elements to the film, there are a number of underlying story lines which involve the personal relationships, life on the street and the choices the students could make in their lives.
By the end of the film the students really respect Louanne and are actually thankful for the skills and discipline she has taught them. The film just goes to show that you can achieve anything providing you have the focus and determination to succeed. The twists and turns throughout the movie are gripping and the story has a strong emotional involvement.
The soundtrack forms an integral part of the film with the tracks used helping to create an urban feel to the movie. The main track is the award winning rap 'Gangsta's Paradise' by Coolio. The music video which accompanies this track also contains clips from the movie featuring Louanne and her class.
The main characters of the story are as follows:
Louanne Johnson - Michelle Pfeiffer
Hal Griffith - George Dzundza
George Grandey - Courtney B. Vance
Emilio Ramirez - Wade Dominguez
Raul Sanchero - Renoly Santiago
Angela - Marisela Gonzales
Released - January 1996
Rated - Certificate 15
Run time - 99 minutes
Sound - Dolby Digital
The 90s saw a run of films that featured colleges and school, often with violent and disruptive students at their core, and a teacher who came in and made a difference. John N Smith's 1995 film Dangerous Minds is no different.
Set in an inner city school, it features an ex-marine (Michelle Pfeiffer) who comes into a school and is determined to help the pupils she is faced with, even if it means breaking the rules. Throughout the film, we see the dangers of teachers often left alone with volatile groups, but also the strong bonds that can be forged between individuals with the right help and guidance.
What the film does well is that it doesn't hide the violent side of any of the characters. The emotions are stark and realistic, and the effects the teaching has is powerful. However, it is the violence outside of the controlled school environment that dictates the outcome for a lot of these pupils, exasperating many and causing emotional friction throughout. Pfeiffer in particular does a brilliant job of maintaining the pressure on them all to excel in the classroom and to break away from the dangerous world outside of it. The characters all around her are convincing as well, and it's the sort of film where you have to concentrate quite hard to start with to work out who is who. Further into the film, the individuals become clearer.
The often dark nature of the film makes it all the more powerful. Strong visuals, that don't often shirk away from the harsh reality the film is portraying, mean that the film's power is ever present, yet it still manages to tone it down for a 15 rating without losing any of this effect. It's a very well worked film.
My only disappointment was that it followed too similar a mold as other films. I was hoping for something new and exciting I guess, but it was like watching a repeat of other films at points. However, this didn't detract from the level of enjoyment I received from watching such a brutal and realistic film. I highly recommend watching this. It's at times a dark and uncompromising film, with excellent performances.
Dangerous Minds is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £3.98. This is a really good price for such a good film.
Dangerous Minds is a rather predicatble film as it follows the theme of a teacher who goes into a tough inner city school and wins over the disillusioned students, it has been done in various formats over the years from Please Sir to the sporting linked Coach Carter. In this film it is Michelle Pfeiffe playing Louanne Johnson who after serving with the marines and then leaving the service becomes a teacher in a tough California school.
The basic plot has her stepping a tight line between her preofessional conduct and becomming too close to the students and not living up to her duty as a teacher.
Pfeiifer is actually pretty good in the role although I was not totally convinced of her military back ground in fact if it had not be explained qute literally you would see little in the way she depicts her character as having had a military back ground.
The main problem with the film is how predictable it is but it is a good piece of drama and I certainly felt some sort of attachment to the students and hoped that things would turn out ok for them.
This classic 90s film sees Michelle Pfeiffer deliver one of her best performances as Luanne Johnson - the teacher hired to try and educate a group of under-privileged, uninterested high school kids in LA.
After initially struggling to get the kids' attention, Johnson tells them about her background in the US Marines, captivating the kids and eventually getting them to read poetry(!). The story then evolves into focusing on individual class members and their struggle to survive in their run-down neighbourhoods. Drugs, fighting and teenage pregnancy are all on the agenda as the movie nears its close.
The film benefits from a fantastic hip-hop soundtrack, including: Gangsta's Paradise (Coolio featuring LV), Put Ya Back Into It (Tre Black) and Message For Your Mind (Rappin' 4-Tay).
Dangerous Minds is an adult film (as explained above) and is given a 15 certificate in the UK. My only problem with the film is I find the storyline to be quite far-fetched... I once worked in a school in an under-privileged area myself and to see Pfeiffer get a bunch of no-hopers reading poetry just seemed a little unrealistic. But don't let this minor complaint stop you from watching what is a great film. If you've not seen it, it can be picked up pretty cheaply from HMV.com (£3.99 at the time of writing).
The whole teacher goes into a tough inner city school and wins over the disillusioned students has been done a few times over the years and this version has a female lead in the form of Michelle Pfeiffe playing LouAnne Johnson who after serving with the marines and then leaving the service becomes a teacher in a tough California school.
The film is about her battle to make a better life for some of her students however she is in danger of stepping over the line and becoming too close to them and this puts her own safety in danger.
When I saw who was in the lead role for this film was a bit dubious expecting Pfeiffer to be too glam for the role however she actually turns in a good gritty performance and while she was not toatlly convincing as a former marine she at least fit the role of a do gooder teacher. This was quite an emotional performance by Pfeiffer and while some of the plot and dialogue is a bit cliched at times overall the film works well.
The film is well directed and certainly at times it manages to engage the viewer and tugs a bit at your heart strings, it has a mre than competent cast and the story moves along at an acceptable pace to keep the viewer engaged.
Despite its mid nineties look and feel this is still worth watching and appears on TV every so often.
Ex US Marine, LouAnne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer)has accomplished many respectable things in her life but for her that just isn't enough; she now wants to take on her biggest and most challenging job to date... teaching. When arriving at Parkmont High School, California for her first day of teaching she is shocked and outraged to discover how the young adults behave. She doesn't however want to give up on them as that's what every other teacher has done to them, she wants to stay and teach them respect and at the same time if she manages to teach them even a fraction of the national curriculum then she'll consider it to be a job well done.
While working as a teacher Miss Johnson gets to know many of the pupils in her class and she finds out about their poor backgrounds and the reason that they behave like they do. Parkmont is one of the roughest schools in the area and the people that go there are from extremely poor families who don't have any support and haven't been encouraged to make anything of their lives. Miss Johnson aims to change this, whether this means working overtime with her students, paying off their debts to save them from gang violence and even letting them sleep at her house. She is determined that she will not give up on them and she knows that all these kids need is a little support and encouragement in order for them to graduate and achieve their full potential.
Dangerous Minds is a film that I've seen numerous times over the years and each time I see it I always find it thoroughly enjoyable. There have been many films similar to Dangerous Minds like Freedom Writers however I've always felt that Dangerous Minds is the film that all the other similar films aspire to be.
As soon as the opening credits appear and you see the name Jerry Bruckheimer appear as the joint producer you immediately know that this film is going to be something special. For those of you who haven't heard of Jerry Bruckheimer, he's responsible for films such as: Con Air, Enemy Of The State, Coyote Ugly, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Black Hawk Down. I'm sure you'll agree that's an impressive list of films and the list goes on, he's been involved in countless blockbusters and this film is another one that just exudes his talent.
Michelle Pfeiffer was perfect for this role and she played her part perfectly. I've seen her in numerous films and it's easy to see that she's a brilliant actress, this film particularly stands out for me as one of her best roles. The way she connects with the kids is great and it really seems like she cares. The emotion that she portrays is both raw and believable and you really connect with her character.
The story is nothing new, like I said earlier it has been done several times before but I think this film has what some others haven't and that's character. All the characters in the film are there for a reason and aren't just there to fill up some space in the film. As the film progresses you get to know a couple of the students in the class and no matter how different your life is compared with theirs, there's still something about each and every character that you can connect with.
What I like about the film is that they don't change the characters too much, in Freedom Writers for example you witness a complete turnaround which although that's based on a true story it seems somewhat unbelievable how after just couple of months the kids have completely changed after 16 or 17 years of being the way they were. This is what I like about Dangerous Minds, it manages to stay true to the characters, albeit fictional characters but I like the way they stay true to their fundamental characters but they manage to mould their original character into a better and more accepting individual.
Even though this film was released in 1995, the issues that are portrayed in the story are still relevant today and that's another thing that makes Dangerous Minds such an enjoyable watch. There are some films that manage to stand the test of time and of course in another 10 or 20 years this film may not be quite so relevant but I think it's triumphed by still being enjoyable nearly 15 years on.
No matter how much I praise Dangerous Minds, it's not perfect. I think the main thing that bothers me about it is that it ends too soon, it would have been nice to see the kids graduate or do something with their lives but instead they focus a bit too much on the character of Miss Johnson and her dilemma too much. This is the one area that Freedom Writers triumphs over Dangerous Minds because although Hilary Swanks role as the teacher is the title role, it still manages to focus equally on the kids and it would have been nice for Dangerous Minds to focus a little bit more than it does on the kids.
Regardless of it's weaknesses, Dangerous Minds is still a very captivating, emotional and well acted film that deserves to be recognised as one of the best in this specific genre. It's an enjoyable 99 minutes which could have been extended to around 120 minutes however the story is absolutely fantastic and the stories within the stories are also fantastic, they're brilliantly handled and still true in today's lifestyle with is a bit achievement for a film that's 14 years old. There's also a very true message included in the film which is you can achieve anything if you work for it.
I would highly recommend Dangerous Minds to anybody who is a fan of dramas as this is a brilliantly compelling watch. It's 99 minutes running time seems to fly by and before you know it, it will have ended. This is a film that completely captures you and you'll find yourself not wanting it to end and not wanting to miss a single second of it. For anybody who is a fan of school films this is definitely one of watch. This is definitely an uplifting film however that doesn't stop it from being an emotional watch which I think it's part of it's charm.
The DVD is currently available from play.com for £3.99.
Unfortunately there aren't any special features included on the disc however this should not be any sort of put off as this is a fantastic film.
The soundtrack is also available from play.com for £7.99 and features the world famous Gangsta's Paradise song made famous by Coolio and LV. The soundtrack includes:
Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio
Curiosity - Hall, Aaron
Havin' Thangs - Big Mike
Problems - Rappin' 4-Tay
True OG - Mr. Dalvin & Static
Put Ya Back Into It - Tre Black
Don't Go There - Rappin' 4-Tay
Feel The Funk - Immature
It's Alright - Sista
Message For Your Mind - Rappin' 4-Tay
Gin And Juice - Devante
This Is The Life - Wendy & Lisa
One of my favourite type of film is the sort where you get a teacher who comes along and does something wonderful with a bunch of tough kids. The best of these has to be 'To Sir with Love'; which is a wonderfully inspiring film, but as I watched Dangerous Minds on DVD last night, I could not help but notice many striking similarities.
Dangerous Minds is set at a tough school in America and within that school is the Academy where all those difficult to teach students are placed. Along comes Miss Johnson (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) an ex marine who wants to teach. The first day is an absolute disaster but she is not a quitter and gradually she gets the students' attention and eventually they start wanting to learn. Her methods are quite unorthodox though which do not always go down that well with the school principal!
The students she teaches are very tough and come from extremely poor backgrounds. These tough kids are all portrayed really well by a bunch of young actors. None of them are well known (as far as I know) but many give very moving performances. There is Emilio who is probably the ring leader and the one that Miss Johnson most needs to get on side. He gradually comes round before tragically getting mixed up in more trouble than he can handle. Callie is a very bright student who has to work every night and is being forced to leave because she is pregnant. Raul is a young mexican boy who forms a very strong relationship with his teacher. These are the three main students we meet but all of the young actors give excellent performances - a very moving mix of outer toughness and inner vulnerability.
Miss Johnson is a very interesting and complex character. Michelle Pfeiffer plays her very thoughtfully and the teacher's angst as she is so close to giving up is very strong. You can see in all her facial expressions how she is struggling to decide what to do next.
This was a very enjoyable film but not totally without its flaws. I did feel that Miss Johnson actually won the kids around a bit too easily. I'm sure that in real life it would take weeks and weeks of patient perseverance rather than days. Also I couldn't help feeling that some of her unorthodox methods would have had her facing all sorts of allegations had she been teaching in England in the 21st century. I'm sure that any teacher who took one of their pupils out to dinner as a prize for good work would face a barrage of accusations and would probably end up in court facing a charge of inappropriate behaviour at the very least!
Having said that it was a very moving film and there were one or two places where I could actually feel the tears start to trickle down my face! It is the sort of film that really does leave you with a feel good feeling and it would be nice to think that there really were such caring nd inspiring teachers out there.
One of the best things about this film is the excellent and almost haunting soundtrack - Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. You hear this at the beginning but it is also repeated at key moments throughout the film. It feels very appropriate as a backdrop to the film.
There are not really any extrs with this DVD. In fact the only two things to mention are the fact that you can get subtitles and there is also a screen selection option. As I'm not really an extras sort of person this does not bother me at all but there maybe some people who will feel a bit short changed. Having said that though, you can buy it from Amazon at the moment for only £4.97 which is not bad value at all!
In summary, I don't really feel that this film is in the same class as To Sir With Love or even Dead Poets' Society but it is a good watch and there are times where it is very moving and inspiring. I'm glad that I watched it!
***Please note this is a film only review***
What first got me interested in this film was the soundtrack by Coolio, Gangstas Paradise, if it had not been for that song I think I would have dismissed this film and still be waiting to see it now.
I have only seen this film once when it was first released but I noticed it was on Sky Movies the other night so I decided to watch it again.
Louanne is hired to teach the Academy class (special students with social problems). However no one had really explained to her how these students treat their teachers (one had a breakdown).
At first they get the better of her but with some advice from Hal and the marine in her she soon finds the key to getting them to listen. Her teaching skills are not standard at all and sometimes she even has to bribe them into learning.
Louanne is educating them for their life not just there future. She soon discovers though that she cannot save everyone.
Louanne Johnson Michelle Pfeiffer
Hal Griffith George Dzundza
Emilo Wade Dominguez
Callie Bruklin Harris
Raul Renoly Santiago
I am not a big fan of Michelle Pfeiffer as she never seems to add much depth to the character and this seems to be the case once again. Pfeiffer does add some depth but only just seems to be able to get by with her passionate character.
The supporting cast do a good job and give a real feel to the film of what their lives are like in that kind of neighbourhood. Wade Domingues is very good and the cocky Emilo who seems to be untameable by Ms Johnson.
I did enjoy this film and the story was a very emotional one. However this was not an extra special film in anyway but the soundtrack does make it more enjoyable. This film has a very true life feel to it because these types of lives do happen.
If you enjoy true life types of films then this may be one you would be interested in but dont get too excited about it the story may be good but the acting is very standard really and Pfeiffer does not add much depth to her character at all.
You can buy this on DVD from amazon.co.uk for £13.99 new and from £3.55 used. I find the new price quite high considering this film was released back in 1996. The film is rated 15 because of the violence throughout the film.
Thanks for reading.
Dangerous Minds is often shown on ITV1, but every time it’s shown I manage to miss it. Last Friday night, though, I remembered and set the video to record it. I’d heard many a good things about it over the years, and before watching it I knew it was going to be great viewing. Michelle Pfeiffer had said it was one of the best things she’d done, and many a critic said it was the most honest film they’d seen for years. So you can imagine my delight when I finally got the opportunity to see it. The film starts rather abruptly and dives straight into the plot. There are no frills; it just goes straight to the main story of the film, which to me is the best way to deal with any film. It begins with LouAnne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer), after getting an interview from her friend who also works at the school, talking to the deputy headmistress of a high school. She’s there to get a job as a student teacher, after leaving her husband and the Marines. To her surprise she’s offered a job as a qualified teacher to teach a “special needs” class, and is thrilled. But, when she walks into the classroom she realises why every other teacher has left (due to a nervous breakdown or just insanity!). None of them give her any attention and she’s ignored, and when she does finally get their attention she realises how hard they are to teach. But she does something no other teacher has done before. Stick it out. And after staying she begins to share a bond with every student in the class, and they find a friend in her. Dangerous Minds is a very powerful drama. We don’t get to know much about LouAnne, but what we do actually get to know is crucial in the film. LouAnne’s character is a very important aspect of the film. She’s new to the life of her
students who live in the roughest of streets. They’re only in a “special needs” class because they’ve lacked so much education over the years. They’ve been ignored by everyone around them and lot allowed a proper education. That’s what other teachers before LouAnne haven’t done – put themselves in the student’s shoes. Sure, looking in, the students could come across as loud and unhelpful, but if you look deep inside it’s clear that they all really want to do well, they’ve just been held back too often. And that’s what LouAnne has an advantage with – she can see deep inside the students, and she can understand their background. She might not have lived that life, but she knows how tough life can be (having been in the Marines) and she knows how life can be. She understands that for these students life isn’t rosy. She understands the life they lead. And that’s why, for the first time, they sit back and listen to what she has to say; and remain sitting back and listen and absorb what she’s saying, because they have something for her they’ve never had for a teacher before – respect. Some of you might be aware with the song “Gangsters Paradise” that was a major hit after the release of this film in the mid nineties. That whole song sums up the film wonderfully, and if you know some of the words to the song, you’ll know how special that song is, and how important it is to be part of the soundtrack to the film. But, what is the message in the film? Well, basically, that all of us should be treated equal. Whatever background, whatever feelings we should all get the same opportunity, and that’s our right. LouAnne is determined to make sure that all of her students graduate and get that grade they’ve all been wishing for, and that’s a
ll she wants. She dedicates her life to her students, and if it’s breaking the school’s policy she’ll still do it if it’s right for the students, because she’s there for them, and not the school. The film was wonderfully made, and wonderfully acted by Michelle Pfeiffer; I just felt that there was a lack of plot in the film. There was a wonderful message given and shown in the film, and there were great stories on the surface they just weren’t developed well enough. I would have liked to look at the living situation of some of the students. I’d have liked to see how they lived, what their parent’s attitude was like, and some of the difficulty they went through. Sadly, though we didn’t get to see any of this, and almost all of the scenes were filmed in or around the school. We barely got to see how the students lived, and seeing that was such a big issue in the film, I would have thought it would have been a good idea to go and see how they did live. We didn’t get much of a background on LouAnne either. We learnt very little things about her, and I felt that it let the film down in so many ways. It lacked background to any of the characters, which is a shame because it succeeded in so many other parts. The ending, again, was a bit of disappointment. It had a good enough conclusion; it just seemed to end rather abruptly. One minute they were there, next the credits were up. It was a wonderful film, with fantastic writing and wonderful acting, it’s just a shame that it was let down in so many other parts in the film. Michelle Pfeiffer was the only one that saved it in the end, and without her I don’t think the film would be as famous or passionate as it is. There’s a wonderful message in the film, and there’s great acting to be seen, just don’t expect too much (li
ke I did and had been for so long). Perfect for a Sunday night viewing. © Matt Roberts 2004
LouAnne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) or Miss. Johnson to her students is a middle-aged, recently divorced ex-marine desperately in need of a job. She turns to teaching and sees a rosy job description and thinks its ideal. Though as she soon finds out she’s teaching in a touch inner-city school where her students are rebellious and disobedient. LouAnne is not just any teacher though as director John N. Smith seems keen to highlight – she won’t just sit back and let her students run riot. She aims to help give them a future, and make them learn something. She aims to give them hope. All of that sounds very nice but persuading 30 students who deal drugs for pocket money to read poetry is no easy task. As teacher Miss. Johnson very soon finds out… Michelle Pfeiffer to be fair plays Miss. Johnson very well and Pfeiffer is not to blame for the films faults. Michelle Pfeiffer gives a strong and powerful performance, she plays a very tough character and she copes well with it. Her class are all played very well, special praise to Wade Dominguez who is excellent as Mexican Emilio. Dangerous Minds does unfortunately has its problems though. It is just so unrealistic and unbelievable. A film is not simply bad just for being unrealistic or unbelievable it is made bad by being totally unrealistic and unbelievable and then trying to describe itself as a realistic, classroom drama. A realistic classroom drama is something like Teachers on Channel 4. Dangerous Minds could have been a good film if the script was better and the storyline was slightly modified. Miss. Johnson just walks into a classroom and over a period of time turns rude, disruptive and disobedient students who don’t give a f**k about their education into polite, grade A students eager to learn. Umm I don’t think that’s possible unless this Miss. Johnson is a miracle worker… The soundtrack is rather ordinary and is nothin
g particularly special. Though Coolio Gangsters Paradise is quite appropriate for the film. The rest of the soundtrack is mainly rap and hip-hop. Overall this is just an average, mediocre film that is nothing special. Its worth renting out one evening and it’s a fairly entertaining film. Its not boring, its got a bit of action and a very talented cast. Just the story I suppose that lets it down… Thanks for reading
Dangerous minds! What a title! The first though that game into my mind was a film of violence and degradeability, but no! This film to me was inspiring, and has become one of my favourites in my video colletion. I may only be 15 years old, and run along with teenage fashion, trends and cultures, but I am an individual and I have the right to express my opinions just like anyone else, and by watching this film I found my true self. The main storyline is about a group of children, who aren't prepared to learn and have a lot of social problems. A teacher comes to there school and twists their lives around. It may not be full of violence and up to todays great standards, but the film was both heart warming, touching and full of credability. The main star in the film is Michelle Pfeiffer and along with the great up to date music she gives us a touching performance. Although the idea of her being an ex-marine before going into teaching is hard to believe. The film starred some great young actors who have a lot of potential and it may not be a top rated film, but it certainly is worth buying and especially at a price as low as £3:99. There are not really many special effects and the film was cheap to make, but it still believeable even if she does use poetry to inspire them. The film deals with many issues, therefore might not be suitable to everyone. It doesn't stand up to Hollywood's standards and it doesn't have to because if you watch close enough, you will be inspired and end up with a dangerous mind.
Dangerous Minds. I don’t think this film ever got the credit it deserved at the box office. This is a quality but predictable drama starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer plays a teacher who’s pay depends on results, when working at a touch inner school that leaves little left in your already small pay-packet. Pfeiffer brings in a new style of teaching, she offers incentives to students, she doesn’t teach to the National Curriculum (Or the American equivalent in this film) She uses her own unique style of teaching, she offers them trips to theme parks if they do well. She becomes more than just a teacher to the students, she becomes a friend. Okay, so that doesn’t really happen in real schools, most teachers in inner city schools would not go to the enormous effort Pfeiffer does in Dangerous Minds but this is still a fairly realistic film. The film shows how these people in poor areas live, that they get on the school bus not because they want to go to school but because they don’t want to be come “just another street kid.” The soundtrack is excellent and very appropriate to the film, Coolio Gangsters Paradise is just one track included. Apart from Michelle Pfeiffer the cast is mainly unknowns. All of the students are played by people unknown to Hollywood. The location the film has used is somewhere in USA, however I am not sure where. This was the very last film made in the Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer partnership. The film is not the best made in their partnership but it ends their era of films on a good note. The story to the film is rather predictable, we see at the start a really badly behaved class that led to teachers having nervous breakdowns, then an ex-woman marine comes along determined to succeed and does. Overall this is a good drama that is well worth seeing, made when Michelle Pfeiffer was at her peak. The cast, the script and soundtrack all get the thumbs up. The only
slight criticism is that the film is a tad predictable.
This is a good film starring Michelle Pfeiffer as Miss Johnson, a recently divorced woman in need of a job. It begins where she applies for and gets a position teaching a class of rebellious students. Unfortunately the interviewing teacher forgot to inform her of how much of a challenge she was taking on. The entire class consists of street kids who come from poor parts of the city. They have already had three teachers all of whom have walked out on them because of their behaviour. After about five minutes of being in this classroom Miss Johnson realises exactly what she is up against and walks out. After a conversation with another teacher she realises that she can’t give up on them. The next morning she returns to the classroom with a totally different attitude. By starting the lesson with something that they can relate to she finally gets them to listen, but the principal is not happy with her teaching methods and tells her to follow the curriculum or get out. This problem she tackles by introducing some very novel methods of teaching but before they will work she has to earn the respect of the leader of the class Emilio, or she will get nowhere. As you probably guessed she succeeds with both problems and also gets involved in their social lives as well. The ending is pretty good but personally I would have liked a little bit more. You know the sort of thing, watching the kids graduate. On the whole a good film to watch and the acting was very good.
Michelle Pfeffer is absolutely brilliant in this film, the story line is good, it will have you gripped from the very beginning. The story is about a class of 'problem' kids in a school in a bad part of town. This class has a certain reputation and can not keep the same teachers for long....because they harrass them. So along comes Michelle Pfeffer, who is completely unaware of what she is letting herself in for. But eventually she gains the respect of the pupils by bringing in new ideas, which the school is far from happy about. She gets involved in the students lives, a girl gets pregnant someone gets killed....usual stuff. This film is both funny and sad. You become very close to the characters, the acting is very good. Something for everyone, guys and gals alike. The soundtrack is good too!!!!
This "To Ma'am with Love" is much more an escapist popcorn movie than the inner-city document its marketing suggested. Michelle Pfeiffer plays real-life former Marine Louanne Johnson, a high school English teacher who meets resistance from kids and administration alike at a tough urban school in Northern California. Pfeiffer is good and her character's overall development even survives various post-production story cuts. (A romance with Andy Garcia's character was completely eliminated before release; Garcia is nowhere in sight.) The actors who play Johnson's students are also fine and the whole film becomes the latest in a long tradition of sentimental movies about teachers who change the lives of kids. --Tom Keogh