Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Dead Poets Society


We have seen several films lately that I would call “recent classics.” That is, twenty or thirty years old. Several of them have been minor disappointments, not as good as I remember them. Which is not to say they are bad, just that they don’t quite pack the punch that they used to. Among these are The Graduate and Clueless. This is another one. For some reason Robin Williams’ antics aren’t as funny as they were at the time, and I don’t think it has anything to do with my sadness over his suicide. It’s simply that a lot of it is pretty stupid, like having the boys stand up on his desk to “get a new perspective.” And a lot seems pretty unlikely, like those boys gathering in a cave to read poetry.

The outrage I felt toward the school and Neil’s father hasn’t changed. There is not much worse than parents who have plotted out your future for you, “for your own good.” With girls that’s usually finding a rich husband, never mind that he’s an asshole who cheats and hits you. For boys it’s being some soulless occupation like a doctor-lawyer-banker-broker. Neil had found his calling playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But daddy couldn’t have that, could he? He is the reason Neil kills himself, not the teacher. But the man must have a scapegoat.