Mr. Holland's Opus

Bomb Rating: 

Like most people, I assume, I went to "Mr. Holland's Opus" expecting to see a story about some guy and his cartoon penguin. Well, needless to say, after two hours of watching some guy's (Richard Dreyfuss) lifelong battle to become a decent music teacher and well-rounded human being -- NO PENGUIN!

This prompted me to look up the meaning of the word "opus" in the dictionary when I returned home. Opus means musical composition, so in the context of the movie the word makes some sense. But in the context of my life opus means cartoon penguin, and now, if it doesn't mean cartoon penguin it's going to mean "confusion and irritation," which means the title of movie really should be "Mr. Holland's Confusion and Irritation."

In fact, Mr. Holland is confused about what he wants to do so he becomes a teacher in hopes of composing music on the side and eventually quitting teaching when he's rich and famous. But he never becomes rich and famous and ends up teaching for thirty years and Richard Dreyfuss goes from Richard Dreyfuss with dyed hair to Richard Dreyfuss with grey hair and a big fat gut.

Nevertheless, Mr. Holland and his wife have a kid who doesn't produce enough family excitement so the producer and director decide to give him an affliction. Afflictions are good, as every filmmaker knows, because they generate emotion and win Oscars. In this case the affliction is deafness, which Mr. Holland doesn't learn to cope with until he miraculously realizes that while he's become a good teacher, he's also become a bad parent. Instead of saying "ah, screw it, can't be good at everything," Mr. Holland reaches deep inside himself, changes and makes everyone watching "Mr. Holland's Opus" feel bad because they have no chance in hell of living up to Mr. Holland's shining example. The bastard.

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