Akeelah and the Bee

Time Magazine recently listed their favorite movies about after school activities.  Let’s take a look at some of their favorites.

Coach Carter:  This 2005 movie is based on the real life story of basketball coach Ken Carter, who put academics above basketball and benched the team due to poor schoolwork, much to the dismay of the locals.  It has a happy ending, and I’d say rent it with your kids over age 13.

Akeelah and The Bee:  Akeelah comes from a rough background and learns about the world of competitive spelling.  Unfortunately she also loses the privilege to participate in her favorite activity for a while.  Starting to see a theme?  It has a lovely ending and I’d say rent it with your kids over age 8.  (This is my favorite of the bunch, btw)

Mr. Holland’s Opus:  This 1995 drama shows how music—and passion—can change the lives of both students and teachers.  Of course the music program was shut down for a while, but it has a happy ending.  I’d say rent it with your kids over age 12.

Dead Poet’s Society:  Boys at a prep school secretly revive a banned after-school literary club, which subsequently gets shut down.  Why are after school programs always under threat?????    Happy(ish) ending, but make sure your kids are 15 or older.

Time Magazine lists a few others, which you can see here, but you get the idea.   For Hollywood, after-school activities are important and while you’ll probably get kicked out of them for a while, you’ll get back in at the end.

Not a bad lesson, but not the movie I would write.  Here’s mine:

It is about a nine year old girl named Hannah (no relation to my nine year old Hannah, to be sure).  This girl’s parents both work and ever since kindergarten Hannah wanted to do everything after school—art, dance, fitness, reading clubs and so on.  You name it, she wanted it.

Her dad (played by Brad Pitt?) can’t find a suitable place to send her—not to mention any way to drive her to all the places she wants to be—so he builds the enrichment company Right At School.  Presto, everyone is happy.  Hannah never has to quit her after-school enrichment activities, and she is safe, happy, healthy and engaged every afternoon.  In this movie, after school enrichment is not an after-thought, but an integral part of the day!

What do you think?  Should I pitch it to Spielberg?

I like that Hollywood understands the centrality of after school activities in the lives of our children.  We do too.  I’ll let you know when Right At School, The Movie is released.

In Praise Of Free PlayThere’s Nothing To Do! I’m Bored!