Dead Poets Society (1989, Peter Weir)
What IMDB says:
English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.
What I say:
First things first, a young Ethan Hawke, day-uuuuum! Hawke plays the new kid, Todd, who’s older brother is a legend at the school for graduating top of his class. The boys are bad, bad to the bone, well, kind of. They are spoiled, young white guys at a prep school. Their parents control their lives and futures, which causes a big problem. Fortunately for the boys, they meet Mr. Keating, played by the late Robin Williams, who changes the boys attitudes toward how to lead their lives. This movie reminds me of “Mona Lisa Smile” with Julia Roberts. It is the girl version.
The testosterone is palpable in the movie. And there is a serious lack of girls. Sexist!
Keating (Williams) is highly unconventional. The boys are not at all prepared for his zaney ways. The boys are stereotypical losers. The brain, the good guy, the bad guy, the virgin who does not want to be a virgin, and the new guy. Basically, they are the dudes from American Pie, but no one is fucking pies. The boys are fascinated with Keating, and look him up in a year book. They notice that he was a part of the ‘Dead Poets Society’, and decided to resurrect the defunct group, which is just them hanging out in a cave reading poetry and telling ghost stories. No shocker that these losers are virgins.
The good guy, (Robert Sean Leonard), tries very hard to get wet blanket, new guy, (Hawke) to loosen up and stop being such a tight ass.
The boys find much needed inspiration and confidence through the teaching of Keating. I found myself jealous of the boys and their awesome teacher, Mr. Keating. Do teachers like this really exist? Maybe I should become a teacher, and make the students kick soccer balls while yelling out lines of poetry. Or make wet blanket kids “YAWP” like barbarians. How is this stuff not already a part of the curriculum?
One of the boys, the good guy, (Neil), kills himself because his father totally squashes his dreams, thereby ruining his life. It is amazing that these overly controlling and strict parents never see this kind of shit coming?! The new guy, (Hawke) has a total freakout, pukes in the snow, (gross), and blames the father for his friends death.
It is very strange to watch Robin Williams reaction to the young man’s suicide when knowing how Williams ends his own life many years later. It makes the scene even more profoundly sad.
The boys are forced to decide whether to throw Mr. Keating under the bus, (not literally), and let him take the blame for Neil’s death, or save themselves from expulsion. Basically, they are f’ed if they do, f’ed if they don’t. An impossible situation to be in, for sure. They all sign a document that blames Mr. Keating under the pressure of their parents. Mr. Keating is forced out of the school and fired. The boys make a dramatic showing of their love and respect for Mr. Keating by standing on their desks and saying, “Oh Captain, my Captain”, which was a nickname that Mr. Keating preferred. SUPER LAME!! (Now, where are those damn tissues?)
I will admit, I had goosebumps, and tears in my eyes during many parts of the film. Robin Williams was an amazing actor! It is very sad that he is no longer with us, but at least we have many movies, such as this gem, to remember him by.
Dead Poets Society receives 6 loser virgins who take charge of their crappy lives out of a possible 5.