Monday, April 7, 2014

"Dead Poets Society"

In my Valentine's Day post I wrote about giving my mom the movie Dead Poets Society. It wasn't anything she had expressed wanting, but I know it's a movie she really likes, and I thought she and I would enjoy watching it for one of our "dinner and a movie" dates. (It's usually just my mom and me for dinner, so we always watch a movie or an episode of a TV show we enjoy. It's our "dinner ritual" and it's always disappointing whenever someone/something prevents us having our dinner tradition!) We watched DPS shortly after Valentine's Day, but I've been so busy I haven't had time to make a post about watching it yet.

Part of the reason why we love this movie so much (in addition to the fact that it's an excellent movie) is because it was one of the few movies we actually owned when I was a kid. It was a Johnson family favorite and I've probably seen it at least a dozen times. I'm including two short summaries of the movie for you to read so you can get the gist of the movie if you aren't familiar with it. (For a more thorough plot summary read this Wikipedia article about it.)

Robin Williams stars as John Keating, an unconventional teacher who inspires students through poetry. When the school fires him, his devastated students rally behind him, mindful of the ways he has changed their lives.

Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and are changed for life.
If you've seen the movie there is a good chance you're familiar with this scene from the end of the movie pictured below. After being unjustly fired, Mr. Keating comes to clear out his office and the boys stand on their desks one by one in allegiance/respect to their beloved teacher. This is a gutsy move because they do it despite repeated orders to "sit down" by the brutally rigid Dr. Nolan, Headmaster of Welton Acadamy, who had taken over the class. 
My mom and I couldn't get over how young Robin Williams looked when we watched the movie again. He still had brown hair back then, but even though he's gone gray and gotten wrinklier, I still think he's a nice-looking man for his age. (The movie came out in 1989––it's hard to believe it's been 25 years already!––so I guess he would've been 37-ish at the time since he's now 62.) 
There are so many quotable quotes from this movie that teach really good lessons. Here are several. The first has to be one of the most well-known lines/scenes from the movie:
As I said, I've seen this movie many, many times before, so I obviously knew the entire story. That being said, I was surprised that I cried; several times, actually. And to say that I cried is actually putting it mildly because I sobbed! I did the "ugly cry"––the kind of cry you'd be self-conscious of having anyone else observe because no one wants to be seen losing composure in the face-contorting, tears streaming way that often accompanies sobbing. Highly embarrassing! I'm not easily moved to tears (usually) so this was surprising.

It was interesting how even though I haven't watched this movie in a good 15+ years, how I remembered so many of the lines and in many instances could recite/recall what was coming up next if it was a memorable line  or one that we frequently quoted in our family. (There were a lot of those we quoted, like, "Rip... I don't hear enough ripping!" I can't say enough good things about this movie, and I highly recommend it!


Joseph Coffey said...

I'm so excited to watch it with you this summer. I should put this on my "list to own" but I don't know if Joseph would buy it! : )

Julie said...

I chuckled at your comments about you & your Mum watching the Telly/a film while you're eating your dinner:)

I eat my tea (Dinner - tho I actually call lunch, dinner - even if it's just a sandwich) in front of the Telly with a meal on my lap tray. I would find it so boring to just sit at the table!

When my niece & newphew were younger they couldn't stand eating at the table with their family, but then they started watching The Simpons & noticed that they did that & so they wanted to too:)

Sorry, I know my comments have nothing to do with the film:)

By the way, I can't believe how much younger Robin Williams looked - yaaaaa, I've mentioned the film now:)

Lorraine said...

I love that movie, too. Of course, it makes a lot of sense because I have been a literature major and an English teacher. I could relate on so many levels both as a student and as a teacher. But the most important level to be touched by this movie is the HUMAN level. This movie challenges us to BE a human being. To settle for less is a kind of death -- and death is one of the themes of the movie. I am so glad you reviewed this movie and also shared your very personal reactions. I think I should go out and buy it myself!

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