Jim Macalister is a dedicated and renowned high school teacher, and couldn’t “imagine doing anything else”. Teaching is his life. He is voted Teacher of the Year 3 times, as he humbly boasts as a “school record.” Due to several travesty leading to another and another, he will not be getting his fourth. On the bright side, the reason is also a school record.
What’s different about this film is it compliments several main characters in the film. We get a first point of view narration from each of them, and these add up to the humor: “Dear God, thank you for all your blessings. You’ve given me so many things, like good health, nice parents, nice truck and what I’m told is a large penis.” There’s also some ironical comedy, for instance, on one scene, a student says, “. . . do you think Tracy would be okay”? The teacher replies, “Don’t worry about Tracy. She’ll be fine.” Then we cut into Tracy crying in her room.
The film does produce good comedies, and even includes some obscenity, but it doesn’t undermine the message it’s trying give. And I must say, I liked how they revealed it. It’s not spoon-fed like the typical comedic drama flicks.
Of course, the one that ruins Mr. Macalister is the school election. As days moved to the election, his life is getting out of hand, both his school and personal life. It all starts when Mr. Macalister encouraged Paul to run for Presidency against Tracy, the supposed to be “default” President since she is running unopposed beforehand. Then there is a conflict of interest when suddenly Paul’s sister, Tammy, runs for Presidency, with a platform of dismantling the student government, an idea that students praised so they wouldn’t be able to sit on “stupid assemblies” again.
Instead of one, there are three candidates: Tracy, the overachiever and the ambitious, Paul, the popular sports guy, and Tammy, the “real” high school student, a student that doesn’t really cares. Contrary to what you would expect, the candidates are not the one to ruin Mr. Macalister. It’s himself.
Ferris and Marlena (Spam paragraph)
Matthew Broderick plays Mr. Macalister and Reese Witherspoon plays Tracy. Looking back now, Broderick has grown older, though I can’t think of him as man without thinking of that carefree teenager on “Ferris Bueler’s Day Off”, a film that continuously breaks the fourth wall. Witherspoon then in this film looks so young, and it’s hard to believe that I watched her play Marlena on “Water for Elephants.” Without a doubt, they have played their greatest performances in this film.
I just had to mention to their names. That’s what happens when you are emotionally attached.
The message of the film are – I’m about to spoil it – multiple. What do you expect? We have multiple characters. The characters in the film are flawed, and at the end of the film, they remain flawed. These should make the moral easier to spot, but this is a different case. The multiple points of views have contrasting closure, giving you a hard time getting a universal moral. In the end, I ended up more having more than I expected.
Basically the film tells us that peace comes from forgiveness, success is not a measure of happiness, and high school love is too early for eternity, among others. But wait until you see how the film presents it.