Thursday, February 12, 2009

What did you watch in high school?

I can always tell just how good a movie is when I show it in class by how many students are awake.

You always have at least a few students who decide they'll sleep through the movie and I wake them up once. If after that they decide to keep sleeping I shrug my shoulders and don't worry too much about it. But if you show a good movie it ceases to be an issue.

Today I started showing Life is Beautiful because we just finished reading Night. At first, about ten heads hit the desk. And by fifteen minutes into the film all but one had crept back up. The one that didn't come back up belongs to a girl who cares only on even numbered Wednesdays.

Life is Beautiful is one of two films I can always rely on to get the kids interested, the other being Romeo + Juliet.

This lead me to wonder what other films have this effect on kids so I'm taking a survey. What movies do you remember watching in high school?


  1. Soylent Green. Science teacher made us watch it...just because he liked it.

    English teacher would make us watch the Moonlighting episode that adapted Taming of the Shrew.

    Lord of the Flies.

  2. I love Life is Beautiful....

    let's see, what sticks out the most in high school was the 1984 fake documentary "Voyage of the Mimi" starring a very young Ben Affleck, for my science class... it was a fake docu-drama series spanning over a few episodes, so we spent like 2 weeks watching it everyday in class, learning about marine biology... and BEN AFFLECK!!! LOL

    We also watched the 1996 version of HAMLET with Kenneth Branagh, I loved that one, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (with Stanley Tucci and Michelle Pfieffer) in drama class.

    come to think of it, most films I watched in high school classes were usually Shakespeare, for drama or English class.

  3. Anonymous9:11 AM

    We watched a film about driving safety. Pretty tragic, but the performances were strictly community theater.

    My high school was too stodgy for films (Real answer: The French Lieutenant's Woman. We never saw another, possibly because I blurted out "30 seconds!" at the end of the sex scene).

  4. Didn't 'Life is Beautiful' kind of make you mad?

    I felt soooo emotionally manipulated.
    But I DID stay awake.

  5. I think the purpose of a film IS to emotionally manipulate you, although ideally you're not aware of it.

    It works on me, at least. I still cry at the end of that movie and I've seen it like a dozen times.

  6. Had a film class in high school. Some of the films we watched were:

    Singing in the Rain
    American Graffiti
    The Breakfast Club
    Rebel without a Cause
    Dirty Harry
    On the Waterfront
    Citizen Kane
    400 Blows (to which one kid remarked, "I didn't know we'd be watching porn.")

    We watched "Little Big Man" in my acting class to study Dustin Hoffman's transformation from naive schoolboy to a 110 year old man.

  7. Anonymous1:25 PM

    Glory. A messy film, still one of my favorites.

  8. Romeo and Juliet - the Zeffirelli version - this was way before the Luhrmann version.

    Of Mice and Men - the 1981 version I think - although I can't remember that one too well.

    The Great Gatsby

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

    All of them were English texts. Highlight of Romeo and Juliet was getting to see a quick flash from Olivia Hussey - Virginia Woolf I thought we made a better go of in class - Mice and Men as I said was fairly unmemorable - Gatsby I actually liked on its own strengths without any female nudity to keep up my interest.


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