Dead Poets Society
A crew of prep-schoolers (including a young Ethan Hawke) struggle with academic and parental pressures, finding relief in the wise words of their English teacher (Robin Williams).
QUOTE: Says the prof: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
LESSON LEARNED: Carpe Diem! Sieze the day!
GOOD FOR: Ages 13 and up. There’s a suicide, but it’s an instructive one. Some good lessons for dads, too.
You’ve either been one —or been tortured by one. Lindsay Lohan plays the new girl, seduced by the popular kids until she finds out how shallow they really are. Screenplay by Tina Fey.
QUOTE: “If only you knew how mean she really is... You’d know that I’m not allowed to wear hoop earrings, right? Yeah! Two years ago she told me hoops earrings were ‘her’ thing and I wasn’t allowed to wear them anymore.”
LESSON LEARNED: Be yourself, even if you have to sit at the nerd table.
GOOD FOR: Ages 11 and up. Show it to your little girls before they becomes one of the Plastics.
Back to School
An old fart (Rodney Dangerfield) returns to college because…well, there’s no real plot reason.
QUOTE: “I think I’m attracted to teachers,” says Rodney. “Yeah, I took out an English teacher. That didn’t work out at all. I sent her a love letter... She corrected it!”
LESSON LEARNED: If you apply yourself, you can do anything.
GOOD FOR: 14 and up. Warning: This film contains sexual content and bad jokes like the above.
Over a few months, an immature goofball (Adam Sandler) repeats grades one through 12, to impress his dad and inherit a hotel company.
QUOTE: “I don’t know,” says Billy, “I kinda feel like an idiot sometimes. Although I am an idiot, so it kinda works out”
LESSON LEARNED: Responsibility. It’s sometimes more fun than drinking. Because it may lead to scoring the hot teacher.
GOOD FOR: Who are you kidding? Your child has seen this already, like, 10 times.
A precocious youth (Jason Schwartzman) acts wise beyond his years — until he falls in love with an older woman and finally flails. A divorcing man (Bill Murray) is his best friend and competition.
QUOTE: Says Max: “My top schools where I want to apply to are Oxford and the Sorbonne. My safety’s Harvard.”
LESSON LEARNED: Act your age.
GOOD FOR: Those 14 and up. Unless your kid is like Max. In which case, 8.
Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) finished high school. What’s next? An affair with an older lady.
QUOTE: “It’s like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don’t make any sense to me,” cries Benjamin. “They’re being made up by all the wrong people. I mean no one makes them up. They seem to make themselves up.”
LESSON LEARNED: It’s OK to feel lost.
GOOD FOR: Ages 13 and up. Assuming they’ll sit still for a movie made before 1992.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Three high schoolers, led by the ballsy Ferris (Matthew Broderick), skip school and truly live.
QUOTE: “I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life,” says Cameron. “I’m going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it.”
LESSON LEARNED: Carpe Diem! Again!
GOOD FOR: Never let your kids see this movie. God forbid they get minds of their own.