December 15, 2014

Take an SAT Study Break

Preparing to take the SAT requires a lot of hard work, concentration, and time. That’s why it’s important to take some well-deserved study breaks to recharge and help you stay motivated. Check out the following movies if you’re in need of some study inspiration:

Finding Forrester: Four decades ago, William Forrester won a Pulitzer Prize for his classic novel. That was the last time the world heard of him. Now a recluse in Manhattan, his passion for literature is awakened by Jamal a 16-year old basketball player recruited by an elite Manhattan prep school for his brilliance both on and off the court. When Jamal sneaks into Forrester’s apartment, he accidentally leaves behind his backpack, full of his precious writings. Finding these, Forrester is opened to a new world, one that gives him a reason to look past his prejudice and a reason to emerge from his self-imposed solitude. Forrester becomes his first fan and opens Jamal’s eyes to a world of academia beyond the South Bronx apartment he shares with his adoring mother and brother. Though at times contentious, Forrester befriends Jamal and becomes his mentor. They spend many hours in Forrester’s dusty apartment laughing, learning, debating and dedicating themselves to the love that binds them – the written word. Forrester convinces Jamal to enter the school’s writing contest, but their friendship and loyalty is tested when Jamal must face an accusation of plagiarism – alone.

Stand and Deliver: Edward James Olmos portrays the real-life Jaime Escalante, a no-nonsense mathematics teacher in a tough East LA high school. Handed a classroom full of “losers” and “unteachables,” Escalante is determined to turn his young charges’ lives around. Drawing from his own cultural heritage, Escalante forms a bond with his largely Hispanic student body, evoking the names of famous Spaniards and Latin Americans whose great accomplishments were predicated on their ability to learn. The students gradually come to realize that the only way they’ll escape their own poverty-stricken barrio is to improve themselves intellectually. As a result, the class’ academic achievements soar dramatically — too dramatically for the Educational Testing Service, which is convinced that the class’ high test scores are the results of cheating. The triumphant exoneration of Escalante’s students provides Stand and Deliver with its rousingly upbeat conclusion.

Akeelah and the Bee: Akeelah Anderson is a precocious 11-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother Tanya, Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee; her principal Mr. Welch and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah’s aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and in turn unites her neighbors who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl.

School of Rock: The world’s least-employable heavy metal guitarist is entrusted with the minds of upstate New York’s best and brightest in this fish-out-of-water comedy. Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, axe-bearer for a fitfully successful bar band determined to win a regional battle-of-the-bands competition. There’s only one thing standing in their way: the self-indulgent solos and crowd-diving antics of their “embarrassing” lead guitarist. When his band votes him out in favor of a would-be rock god, Dewey has to make the rent somehow, and after intercepting a call for his substitute-teacher roomie Ned (Mike White), the pot-bellied slacker finds himself in front of a class of elite elementary school students. At a loss for a lesson plan, Dewey takes offense at the pre-teen prodigies’ staid musical regimen and makes it his goal to preach them the gospel of The Who, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC — with the ulterior motive of getting them to compete against his former band for a cash prize. But no matter how willing his pupils, Dewey runs up against the consternation of the school’s stern headmistress Principal Mullins (Joan Cusack), the battle-of-the-bands’ promoter (Frank Whaley), and not least, his identity-deprived roomie Ned.

*All movie summaries come from Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com

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