Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: School Competition (Not Sports)


This one was hard. I couldn't think of many. I had to really stretch it. Probably because, I think school, I think sports. I also think choir or singing competitions, but I just have a feeling that Pitch Perfect and its great sequel (both of which I LOVE) will show up a lot today. I have one of those though. An even better one.


So, it's Thursday! And time for Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. This week: School Competitions (Not Sports).

Here are my picks:

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
dir. Bill Duke, 1993


I like this one way better than the first. Whoopi has to emerge once more as Sister Mary Clarence in order to bring out the soul in some rowdy inner city Catholic school kids through a regional singing competition. And that's what does it for me. The competition. Plus, it has stereotypical 90s teenagers, one is played by Lauryn Hill before she went and won a shit ton of Grammys, another is played by Jennifer Love Hewitt (be still by adolescent heart), and the rest were pretty much one and done.

Now sing! "If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention."

Election
dir. Alexander Payne, 1999


The finest of satires delivered to the masses by MTV Films in its first days. Widely loved by teenagers at the time (I was one of them.) and still one of my all-time favorite movies. Matthew Broderick is genius as the history teacher bored by his job and marriage. Reese Witherspoon is better as THAT girl, who over-achieves at everything, including running for Class President against the school's dumb jock, Paul Metzler, "You Bet-zler!" (Chris Klein).

Bad Teacher
dir. Jake Kasdan, 2011


I teach middle school. Have for 7 years. I've seen some pretty bad teachers come and go. I've never seen one as bad as Cameron Diaz in this flick. Here's the thing: this movie gets teaching pretty much wrong on every single front. It's mostly missable, despite a few really hilarious moments mostly involving the competition that ensues between Ms. Halsey (Diaz) and her nemesis, the good teacher, Ms. Squirrel (the brilliant British actress Lucy Punch). It also has her fighting the system of state achievement test scores, which all teachers can relate to. Nothing about this school is realistic though. That's why I'm thankful for comedies like Election

27 comments:

  1. I've seen Sister Act like a million times, but I'm not sure I've ever seen the sequel. I totally agree on Bad Teacher, I don't even know how I managed to watch the whole thing.

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    1. Haha! Bad Teacher is really bad. I know.

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  2. I love these picks! Especially Sister Act 2. I used to love watching that film.

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  3. Fun picks! I feel exactly the reverse about the Sister Act films, love the first and have watched it numerous times the sequel was a one and doner for me but it fits here very well. Ironically I just saw the stage version of Sister Act last night which was a lot of fun.

    I've had zero desire to see Bad Teacher, I'm not a Diaz fan, and your description does nothing to change that but Election is a brilliant movie and both Broderick and especially Reese Witherspoon are fantastic in it.

    As you said I think school competition and I think sports so I likewise struggled this week but did come up with these:

    Chops (2007)-This documentary follows different groups of students as they prepare and then compete in the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band competition. Terrific look at the commitment of both the students and teachers who care passionately about music and what it takes to compete.

    Fame (1980)-Covering four years at New York’s High School for Performing Arts where students are constantly competing for advancement and acknowledgment all leading up to the big finale and graduation. This led to a successful spin-off TV series.

    Strike Up the Band (1940)-It’s Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney as high schoolers and aspiring musicians who want their band to compete in the upcoming Paul Whiteman competition for high school bands. Problem is the fare to the contest in Chicago is $200. What to do? Why put on a show of course!! Mickey’s a bit much as he usually was but Judy is lovely and sings like a dream naturally. The tagline will give you some idea of what to expect "Their Sunniest, Funniest, Down-to-Mirthiest Hit! It Beats the Band!”

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    1. Thanks! I don't particularly like Cameron Diaz myself. She's okay. Her best work is in the Farrelly Brothers comedy There's Something About Mary, if you ask me, or Being John Malkovich, where she plays way against type. Election is an all-time favorite for me.

      It's a real shame that I've never seen Fame. Thanks for sharing! Great picks!

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  4. LOVE Sister Act 2, but mostly because of the music. The movie itself is not quite as good as the first, but still lots of fun. Election is freaking genius. Yay for Lucy Punch (even though I haven't seen Bad Teacher. But I love her, she is SO brilliant)!

    But..... Pitch Perfect 2 is NOT good. Sorry.

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    1. Booooo....I liked Pitch Perfect 2 almost as much as the first. Keegan-Michael Key's small role is genius. I laughed my ass off. Anyway...

      Thanks, man.

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  5. I am with Joel-I love the first Sister Act but the 2nd one was just meh for me. I think Election is one of the wittiest and Reese was just deadly as the ultra superior Martha wanna be. I have yet to see Bad teacher and i will at some point just to see how bad she really is

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  6. I only saw BadTeacher out of your picks but really liked it. I need to see Election some time

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  7. You like Sister Act 2 way better than the first because IT IS WAY BETTER. Bad Teacher has some nice moments, but doesn't quite gel. That's on top of being completely unrealistic. Still need to see Election.

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    1. Hell yes! I needed that sort of support. Agreed on Bad Teacher. It never came together and just went ridiculous mode. Definitely see Election.

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  8. Great choices! I've seen the first two, but I'd never heard of Bad Teacher. Sounds like I haven't missed much. :-)

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  9. I remember watching bits & pieces of Sister Act 2 when I was about 5 years old. I only really remember the end credits of it where they used the song Ain't No Mountain High Enough.

    I haven't seen Election. But I do have it, & I desperately want to watch it. I'll probably end up watching it tomorrow.

    I remember watching Bad Teacher when I was 11. I thought it was hilarious. Then again, I haven't watched it in almost 4 years.

    I thought about Pitch Perfect for this category as well. I also thought about Whiplash & Drumline.

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    1. I did end up watching Election today. It was an excellent satire. It's one of those movies where you can visualize someone you know as those characters. I definitely see certain people I know as the Reese Witherspoon character, & also the Chris Klein character. I haven't encountered anyone like Matthew Broderick's character, thankfully. But it was a hilarious film.

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    2. Your picks would've been good. Whiplash is great. Glad you enjoyed Election!

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  10. I also chose Bad Teacher and I'm happy to see it listed here as well. Not that it's a good movie but still quite fun to watch.

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  11. Not seen Sister Act 2 but I love Bad Teacher. I sort of love hate Election as I'm a fan of the author of the book the film is based and I think the film is brilliant in some ways but I hate Tracey Flick so much and its so irritating that she wins, she wins the whole thing and doesn't deserve to.

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    1. That's why it works so well though, I think. People like Flick are the people who end up running the country. Cutthroat overachievers. The world is run by them.

      Bad Teacher is fun. Sister Act 2 is not exactly necessary viewing, but it's fun too.

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  12. Love ELECTION. It's such a great sophomore effort from Payne, and the film that truly established his unique style of storytelling.

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    1. Yes! It made me love Payne. It's my favorite Payne, followed closely by Sideways and Nebraska.

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  13. I've seen them all.
    Sister Act movies got played a lot on TV in the 90s, probably because it has a lot of singing.
    I'd love to re watch Election.
    Bad Teacher is one of my most recent watch, and I definitely wouldn't think that is how teaching is.

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