During my remarkably unsuccessful run in Orange County Schools I was bullied, subjected to uneven curriculum, and was placed in grey zone that made transportation assistance almost impossible. It was a mutually agreeable scenario to just cut ties and let me join the Army.
But I did get to watch some movies. In class. And I got credit for them. Some award winning movies too. Let’s break it down.
And The Band Played On (1993): The HBO original film was lauded for it’s tackling of the AIDS epidemic few other movies dared to approach back then. It featured an all star cast that included Matthew Modine, Anjelica Houston, Richard Gere, and even Phil Collins. It didn’t pull any punches either.
Schindler’s List (1993): You’re all probably familiar with the Academy Award winning Steven Spielberg film that illustrated Oscar Schindler and his efforts during World War II to save lives. Because of the length of the movie, this was actually an after school event. I wish I was older when I first watched it just to appreciate what a feat this really was.
The Outsiders (1983): SE Hinton was required reading and the movie socially required watching when I first saw it in class in 1992. Still, the young stars showcased here are incredible. Tom Cruise before Top Gun, Patrick Swayze before Dirty Dancing, Ralph Macchio before the Karate Kid. That rumble is still a scene Ill watch on Youtube from time to time.
Glory (1989): So much greatness here. Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes just off of The Princess Bride, and Denzel Washington winning his first Oscar 12 years before Training Day. The story of the first black regiment of the Civil War is inspiring and the final sequence just incredible as well as ultimately devastating.
These films did build my own appreciation for movies beyond the blockbusters. And while my experience in Orlando schools wasn’t the greatest, I did get to watch these.