Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lean On Me (1989) review


This wasn't half bad; the performances are what lead this movie well. For Morgan Freeman's first major role, he was great.

PLOT:Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) has always been a great teacher, but was transferred some 30 years ago to teach another school. Now, however, the board is calling him back to East Side High to help the kids, rid the crime, and raise the non-passing test scores on the Basic Skills Test, for this school he once taught has gone down the drain with violence and drugs. His manners are drastic, such as expelling hundreds of students known as drug dealers and thugs, chaining the doors to keep them out, and forcing everyone to learn the school song. People are outraged at his brutal style, and try to push him out, especially parent Mrs. Bennett (Lynne Thigpen). Will he improve this poor school or be kicked out quickly? It's a good plot executed fairly well.

ACTING:The performances in here are what lead the movie along. Morgan Freeman plays an excellent leading role as Joe Clark, the tough principal and teacher. This role has to be one of his best. There was a lot of emotion and drama put to his speech and yelling. The other shiners would be Lynne Thigpen as Mrs. Bennet, Robert Guillame as Dr. Napier, Jermaine Hopkins as Thomas Sams, and Karen Malina White as Kaneesha Carter.

SCORE:The score wasn't real important, but it was mainly composed of songs related to school and, as expected, many different renditions of "Lean On Me". It was cheesy, but not too bad.

OTHER CONTENT:This isn't half bad of a movie, but it does have some downfalls. This, being at the edge of the 80s and mainstream, is very cheesy and formulaic. It uses the cheesy formula of a bad school getting a miracle worker and improving because of him. So, needless to say, it's pretty predictable. It also has a bit of trouble balancing vulgar comedy with a compelling drama. You have vulgar language and suggestions on one side, then lots of meaningful arguments on the other. The tonal shifts aren't too organized. However, the performances make this movie worthwhile along with an inspiring story and a bit of fun.

OVERALL,a good drama with a good plot, excellent performances, unimportant yet cheesy score, 80s cheese, formulaic story, unbalanced tonal shifts, inspiration, and a bit of fun.

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