One Eight Seven

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Thriller

For every treacly DANGEROUS MINDS, which turns a true story into a nostalgic valentine to the days when bad kids were merely delinquent and a dedicated teacher was more than the equal of inner-city punks, there's a sleazy SUBSTITUTE, which suggests that the answer to troublesome students is to blast their disrespectful, gun-toting asses to kingdom come....read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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For every treacly DANGEROUS MINDS, which turns a true story into a nostalgic valentine to the days when bad kids were merely delinquent and a dedicated teacher was more than the equal of inner-city punks, there's a sleazy

SUBSTITUTE, which suggests that the answer to troublesome students is to blast their disrespectful, gun-toting asses to kingdom come. The surprise is finding the take-no-prisoners, exploitation-movie message in such a high-toned package, right down to the closing credit that assures us that this

movie was written by a real-life teacher. Trevor Garfield (Samuel L. Jackson) has already had one near-fatal encounter with a sociopathic student in Brooklyn. Recovered from his physical wounds, he moves to L.A. and finds himself up against an equally hostile and violent student body; having run

as far as he can go, Garfield decides to stand up to the gangbangers. One-eight-seven, by the way, is California police code for homicide. Though positioned as a glum expose of America's violent schools (a cause for hand-wringing at least as far back as 1955's THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE), the story is

overwhelmed by the throbbing score, music-video aesthetic (New York scenes are shot in cold blues and grays, while the L.A. sequences are a hazy, burnt-out yellow) and the exotic, colorful psychos who rule Garfield's classroom: It's a New York Times editorial by way of CLASS OF 1984.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: For every treacly DANGEROUS MINDS, which turns a true story into a nostalgic valentine to the days when bad kids were merely delinquent and a dedicated teacher was more than the equal of inner-city punks, there's a sleazy SUBSTITUTE, which suggests that t… (more)

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