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Dangerous Minds

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Dangerous Minds

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Dzundza
Director: John N. Smith
Rated: R
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: August 1995
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Robin Bartlett, Austin Pendleton, Courtney B. Vance, Renoly Santiago, Wade Dominguez, Bruklin Harris, Beatrice Winde, Lorraine Toussaint

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Dragan Antulov review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Andrew Hicks read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Dragan Antulov
2 stars out of 4

Apart from its main goal - forcing world masses to part with their money in order to watch garbage on the big screen - Hollywood propaganda can have strange, bizarre and sometimes even frightening effects on people. One of those effects was noticed by the author of this review when he was in cinema theatre, watching DANGEROUS MINDS, 1995 drama directed by John N. Smith. Some time in the middle of the film, the audience for the first time had opportunity to hear Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" - song that had flooded the world's airwaves for the sake of movie's promotion. Upon hearing familiar words and music, almost every young girl in the theatre started to sing that tune with the fervour and passion you could expect only from the fanatical followers of an obscure religious cult.

This event describes both strength and the weakness of DANGEROUS MINDS. Although based on the true story, described by former Marine lieutenant Louanne Johnson (played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the film) in her book MY POSSEE DON'T DO HOMEWORK, the plot is nothing new. Our heroine takes the job of an English teacher in East Palo Alto high school, place where the majority of students are Latinos and blacks from troubled inner- city neighbourhoods. Her class is worst of them all, made out of hopeless students. Louanne, however, notices hidden potential among them and devises successful strategy to win their heart and minds and thus incite them towards learning and getting diplomas. Unfortunately, conservative school establishment shows little understanding towards her unorthodox methods, while one of the students, Emilio Ramirez (played by Wade Dominguez) gets involved in a conflict that could get tragic consequences.

DANGEROUS MINDS is just another standard (and cliched) story about noble teacher who rescues unprivileged children by showing them the world that exists beyond their ghetto walls. As such, it was more suitable for television, yet the well-oiled hype machine of legendary producers Jerry Bruckheimmer and Don Simpson, not discouraged by the lack of chases, explosions and "cool" CGI effects turned it into full-blown summer blockbuster. This triumph of hype is, of course, unmatched by the achievements of filmmakers. Ronald Bass' script is formulaic, with cliche characters and predictable situations and plot points. The film is rescued solely by the good acting. Michelle Pfeiffer is truly impressive in one of her "meatier" roles, and her efforts are aided by good work of George Dzundza who plays her friend, colleague and mentor. John Neville (best known as Well-Manicured Man in X- FILES) also makes a memorable cameo as waiter. In the end, viewers would have little reason to be disappointed, but the author of this review still believes that DANGEROUS MINDS didn't belong to the big screen.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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