Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Austin Dale, Steve Greene, Peter Knegt, Eric Kohn and Nigel M. Smith
April 12, 2012 11:20 AM
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Here's 8 Great Teacher/Student Films, In Honor of 'Monsieur Lazhar'

"The School of Rock" (2003)
Taking the teacher/classroom genre and injecting it with the combined genius of director Richard Linklater, writer Mike White and star Jack Black, "The School of Rock" is a surprisingly family friendly joy. It gives Black one of his very best roles in Dewey Finn, a washed up rock singer and guitarist who disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a fancy prep school.  Finn puts together a band with his students in hopes of winning Battle of the Bands (so that Finn can pay his rent), and some charming chaos ensues.  Oddly endearing and consistently hilarious, the film is definitely worth a rewatch nearly a decade after its debut. [Peter Knegt]

"Strangers With Candy" (2005)
In the gut-busting film adaptation of the hit TV series "Strangers with Candy," comedian Amy Sedaris (sister to droll author David Sedaris) plays Jerri Blank, a heinous (albeit lovable) 46-year-old former high school dropout who is forced to re-enroll to get her life back on track, after getting released from a rough stint in prison. A self-described "junkie whore" with a nasty overbite and a thing for underage ladies, Blank doesn't have the easiest time fitting in with the popular kids. Even her closeted teacher Chuck Noblet (co-writer Stephen Colbert) gives her a hard time. Folks familiar with motivational speaker Florence "Florrie" Fischer's infamous public-service film "The Trip Back" -- in which she recalls her days as a New York prostitute to a group of bewildered high-school students -- will no doubt get the jokes. After all, it served as the basis for the creation of Blank. [Nigel M. Smith]

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  • daniel joseph | April 13, 2012 1:47 AMReply

    Wonder Boys

  • Gene Stavis | April 12, 2012 5:26 PMReply

    Lists like this are a pet peeve of mine. There has now been over a century of great films on all subjects, yet these lists invariably contain only films from the last dozen years or so. To ignore masterpieces like Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Browning Version, The Human Comedy, A Passion for Life, Good Morning Miss Dove and literally hundreds of others is sheer laziness and short - sightedness. How about a little honest research or erudition?

  • bob hawk | April 13, 2012 3:48 AM

    This still-in-the-game senior citizen wholeheartedly agrees with Gene. Other classics (enduring the test of time), starting with two with S. Poitier: BLACKBOARD JUNGLE and TO SIR, WITH LOVE; plus THE CORN IS GREEN (Bette Davis!); THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE Maggie Smith!); UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE (Sandy Dennis!); and less obvious odds and ends in the genre such as BILLY ELLIOT, DAVID AND LISA, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, GREASE, ad infinitum . . .

  • JFM | April 12, 2012 4:33 PMReply

    Some other great ones of the genre are Stand and Deliver and Educating Rita.

  • CarmichaelReid | April 12, 2012 3:58 PMReply

    Does Rushmore count?

  • Franquelis | April 12, 2012 3:16 PMReply

    Laurent Cantent's The Class and Tony Kaye's Detachment are great films as well.

  • Jasper | April 12, 2012 12:42 PMReply

    Good list. I'd like to give a shout out to "Confessions."