MadTV parodies Music of the Heart, the story of a teacher (Meryl Streep) who bucks the system to bring love of music to the underprivileged colored kids she teachers. Or maybe they’re parodying Dangerous Minds, the story of an ex-marine teacher (Michelle Pfeiffer) who inspires her inner-city students with a great opening credits song. Oh, wait, I think that was Freedom Writers, the story of a history teacher (Hilary Swank) who inspires underprivileged inner-city students by making them read the diary of Anne Frank. (“See, underprivileged inner city students? Things could be worse!”)
All of these movies were based on true stories, and I don’t doubt that the women these movies were inspired by are terrific teachers and all that. But I somehow doubt their real lives were as simplistic and, well, soppy as these films are. Why does our culture have this hunger to see at-risk youth rescued by the pure hearts of gorgeous white women? And isn’t there something smary about, well, about an image like the one below this paragraph?
It’s like a generation of filmmakers saw Up The Down Staircase when they were kids and are now determined to remake it… and remake it… and remake it.