An arrogant and unorthodox teacher returns as principal to the idyllic high school from which he had earlier been fired to find it a den of drug abuse, gang violence, and urban despair. Eventually his successful but unorthodox methods lead to a clash with city officials that threatens to undo all his efforts. Based on a true story. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Several homages to Sesame Street (1969) are referenced in the film - when Clark was seen as a history teacher, in the 1967 scene, he sported an Afro (similar to the character Easy Reader on The Electric Company (1971), where Morgan Freeman was part of the cast) and when he arrives at Eastside High, on the first day on the job, he wears a business suit similar to the one he had during The Electric Company's opening credits. Dr. Napier said to Clark, in one scene, that he is a Big Bird with Radar, which was a double entendre (either as an airplane or the famous Sesame Street character with his pet teddy bear). Also, Lynne Thigpen would later join the cast of the PBS series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (1991), as the Chief. See more »
When Clark first expels all the delinquent students we see all the security escorting the students out but later in the film Clark says the state government can't provide any funding to install the doors that come with sound alarms. If the state government can pay all the yearly salaries plus benefits for all the security guards they can obviously pay a one time fee of installing alarm doors. See more »
[addressing his students in the auditorium]
Alright people, here we are. In one hour, you are going to take an exam administered by the State to test your basic skills and the quality of education at East Side High. I want to tell you what the people are saying about you and what they think about your chances. They say you're inferior! You are just a bunch of niggers and spics and poor white trash! Education is wasted on you! You cannot learn! You're lost! I mean ALL of you! I want all the white...
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strong acting helps overcome the familiarity of the material
Freeman is perfectly cast as 'Crazy' Joe Clark, a radical, newly appointed principal at a deteriorating, gang-ridden school who gets through to his students with a tough, opinionated, no-nonsense approach to the pursuit of academic excellence. The odds are stacked against him as the education board threatens to shut down Eastside High School, but with his burning desire, devoted staff and administration, and some bright students who actually want to succeed, he rallies them for what will be the final chance to save the school. Based on a true story the premise is familiar and the script has its ups and downs, but it's meaningful and acted with strength and conviction, especially Freeman who is nothing short of superb. ***
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