I love reading Bill Simmons's articles. I've never wanted to watch Mr. Holland's Opus cause I heard it's the sappy crap movie. But after reading this, it makes me want to watch it. Funny.
Q: I was randomly thinking about "Mr. Holland's Opus" the other day: Where does the scene in which an old white guy teaching a young black guy how to find the beat rank in the most totally improbable movie scenarios of all time?
–Ben L. Shrewsbury, Mass.
SG: Come on, that's not even one of the top-four most improbable scenes in the movie! I'd rank them like this in reverse order …
• The scene Ben L. mentioned.
• The scene when Mr. Holland comes home from work bummed out because John Lennon just died, then his deaf son asks him "What's the matter?" in sign language, so Mr. Holland tells him, "John Lennon died … you wouldn't understand." Who would say something like that to their deaf son? You wouldn't understand, dummy! You can't hear music! Hell, you can't hear anything! That was awful. I hated Mr. Holland after that.
• Everything that happens with the big play when he has the unspoken sexual tension with the super-cute actress who ended up playing the wife on "Yes, Dear." First of all, wouldn't she be dating the star quarterback or star point guard? Really, she goes gaga for her tiny, balding, surly, 50 year-old music teacher? This would happen? Second, Mr. Holland honestly considered leaving his job, his wife and his handicapped son so he could take a bus to New York with Rowena, his new 17-year-old girlfriend? We're supposed to like him after this?
And third — this is the one that really gets me — Mr. Holland starts writing a song that he titles, "Rowena's Theme" (apparently the other choice for a title was "That Schoolgirl I Want to Bang") and as he's working on it, his wife notices and asks, "Who's Rowena?" So he gives some stammering explanation about how Rowena was a Greek Godess. And right after it's over, he asks his wife, "Hey, you comin' to the play? It's this weekend?" Hey, Mr. Holland, you know what they have at plays? Programs with everyone's name from the cast! You didn't think Mrs. Holland was going to notice that the smoking-hot star of the play was named "Rowena?" What an idiot.
• So Mr. Holland gets fired at the end and he's packing up his office, when out of nowhere, his son and wife show up to help him move out. And they're walking out of the school when Mr. Holland says, "What's that noise?" and heads over to the auditorium … he opens the door and it's everyone in the school, as well as everyone who ever passed through his life, and they're all there for a "Goodbye Mr. Holland" party. How could they possibly pull that off? He didn't notice the cars or hear anyone? Everyone kept it a secret? We're supposed to believe this? And then … as if this wasn't improbable enough, his old student (now governor) shows up and gives one of the meanest speeches ever, including the classic comment, "He wants to be rich and famous … but he's not rich, and he's definitely not famous" (thanks, honey), before revealing the band made up of everyone Mr. Holland ever taught. And then the band proceeds to play Mr. Holland's never-finished opus, with a sobbing Mr. Holland conducting, and it sounds great even though most of the people hadn't picked up an instrument in 10-20 years.
So here's my question: What are the odds that this party went off without a hitch and these losers from music class could jump right back on the horse like that, read sheet music again and play their old instruments that well? A million-to-1? Ten million-to-1? Infinity-to-1? This movie drives me crazy.
(Note: I've been thinking of starting a new feature called "Cable Movies That I've Seen Too Many Times And Now Drive Me Crazy Every Time I Watch Them." Next up: "48 Hours.")