Saturday, August 12, 2006

This weekend, Termite Art recommends:

From my review of Half Nelson on IFC News (where I write twice a week, remember):

Every school has a cool teacher, the teacher with the rep for exciting students with their unorthodox education style. I knew a cool teacher who, like Mr. Dunn, fought with demons his students never saw (the year after my graduation, my high school's Mr. Dunn — the best teacher I ever had — quit his job and left town in disgrace after an embarrassing arrest). This is not to say that all good teachers are unstable types, but simply to observe to anyone who doubts the plausibility of "Half Nelson"'s scenario, that it speaks from a place of truth. It is the best American movie I've seen this year.


Half Nelson, playing near a theater near you, except where it isn't. And if it isn't, you should make plans to travel to see it.

2 Comments:

Blogger Barry said...

Matt, I'm reading your blog because a mutual freind (Pam Kerp) found mine to be the only dissenting opinion on Half Nelson.

I think we're of the same opinion of the film, my dissappointment however extends from something you mention in your post: (the year after my graduation, my high school's Mr. Dunn — the best teacher I ever had — quit his job and left town in disgrace after an embarrassing arrest). This is not to say that all good teachers are unstable types, but simply to observe to anyone who doubts the plausibility of "Half Nelson"'s scenario, that it speaks from a place of truth.

I thought the premise was housed in truth but the execution fell short; Half Nelson never presented the painful ending of your real life Mr. Dunn as a plausible option. And as a person who grew up on Drey's block, Mr. Fleck didn't box her in enough for her to make the choices she made.

You can read my critique on the film at my blog (which I think is Pam's diabolical plan ;)

6:28 PM  
Blogger Matt Singer said...

You're not the only dissenting opinion I've read -- David Poland from moviecitynews.com disliked the film even more than you did, for many of the same reasons.

I'm not sure that the film doesn't present a painful ending — to my eye, it's pretty clear that Mr. Dunn is, ahem, done at Drey's school. There is the suggestion that perhaps he has turned a corner on his drug abuse, yes, but that doesn't mean he's not a disgrace who needs another job.

To me, Drey's decisions to become closer to both Mr. Dunn and Frank come from a place of loneliness. Her brother's in jail, her mother's busy and not home, and she clearly doesn't have any friends. Frank and Mr. Dunn are both nice to her — but both have ulterior motives.

Anywho, thanks for the comments and I hope you keep reading the blog. And tell Pam to post more -- she could even write about something other than American Idol.

11:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home