My rule of thumb about teacher movies is Feel Good Teacher Movies, bad. Edgy and Sardonic Teacher Movies, good. I mean watching some inspirational wonder transform a group of unformed disadvantaged kids into sparkling members of society, well that just wounds this teacher. I mean maybe because it's I'm in the trenches every day pushing the rock up the hill, but come on. I'm not going to inflict that upon myself. I had the opportunity to go to Freedom Writers (Hilary Swank transforms inner city kids through journaling) for free and I thought you couldn't pay me to sit through that drivel. Other especially heinous feel-good teacher movies: Mr. Holland's Opus, and Dangerous Minds. Ok, I liked the inspirational Stand and Deliver and Dead Poet's Society, even if they did leave me with a feeling of unworthiness.
Edgy and Sardonic ones? Half Nelson with Ryan Gosling. Yikes how did that guy make it through the day? Notes on a Scandal, mmm, Judy Dench's bitchy narrations about the horrible brats at school is hilarious. (Thanks Deb for reminder) And I hope a new movie just out Chalk, which looks at the world of teaching through a cynical eye, is going to be good. I found School of Rock to be worthy of this category. I enjoyed seeing a teacher use his class to further his own ambitions. I can't think of any others now, but hope to see more in the future.