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The Ron Clark Story
The Ron Clark Story
Actor: Matthew Perry; Ernie Hudson; Melissa De Sousa; Hannah Hodson; Brandon Mychal Smith; Micah Williams
Director: Randa Haines
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2006     1hr 30min

Seal of Approval - Parents Television Council. Golden Globe® Nominated - Best Actor in a TV Movie. Three-time Emmy® Award nominee Matthew Perry (TV's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Friends) delivers a "...tour-de-force per...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Matthew Perry; Ernie Hudson; Melissa De Sousa; Hannah Hodson; Brandon Mychal Smith; Micah Williams
Director: Randa Haines
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, All Made-for-TV Movies
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 12/05/2006
Original Release Date: 08/13/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 08/13/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

"Dream big, take risks" or "Give it up for your shizzle selv
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 09/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With education being so very key in determining the path of a child's future, teachers obviously play integral roles as educators, advisors, mentors, and surrogate parents. Ron Clark is an outstanding example of the underappreciated and underpaid teachers who quietly, selflessly ply their trade the world throughout. Ron Clark has garnered national attention for his tireless work with the rural North Carolina and inner city Harlem school systems. He's been invited to the White House on 3 separate instances and has been honored by the President and Mrs. Clinton. He has been on the Today Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. His book The Essential 55, about his classroom rules, is a New York Times Best Seller and has been published in over 25 countries. This Johnson & Johnson-sponsored television movie, shown on TNT, tells his story.

SPOILERS begin: In 1998, teacher Ron Clark (Matthew Perry) leaves rural North Carolina and moves to Harlem, New York to toil in the inner city school system. But he finds it difficult to get a teaching position and must, in the meantime, work as a lowly costumed waiter at a theme restaurant. A door finally opens when a disgruntled teacher quits his job at the Inner Harlem Elementary School. Specializing in raising the standardized test scores of his students, Clark opts to educate the most unruly class of the 6th grade.

Initially, he has a hard time trying to reach his hardbitten kids, suffering their scorn and lack of interest. There are even bets taken by the kids as to how long he'll last. But Clark perseveres, continually asserting his "we are family" creed and enforcing his multiple classroom rules. His attempts to get the class's attention prompts him to develop fresh teaching techniques, such as his chugging down chocolate milk every 15 minutes if the students were quiet (with the possible reward of Clark puking for the kids' entertainment), or having them promise to try to learn if he takes up double dutch. He even has a try at rapping to help them learn the U.S. Presidents. Slowly, gradually, after some rough spots, his class warms up to him as the students discover that their teacher actually cares and that learning could be fun. But the biggest challenge lies ahead as Clark preps his kids for the May aptitude exams.

The film is mostly about Clark's exploits in school, with little time given over to his personal life. During the length of the film, he maintains his waitering job at the restaurant, all the while carrying a torch for lovely waitress Marissa (Melissa De Sousa), who already is saddled with an actor boyfriend. Thankfully, while the romance is touched on, it doesn't take precedence. End SPOILERS.

This is a Matthew Perry vehicle all the way, and he drives this film with a self-assurance that isn't really a revelation. His acting talent has been apparent for a while now, as shown in his turns on Friends, his various feature films, and his acclaimed guest star spots on the West Wing (let's just ignore Serving Sara, shall we?). Here, he eschews his Chandler Bing goofball role and turns in a concertedly earnest and sincere effort. Good job, Matthew Perry.

These kids are certainly depicted as more disruptive and more rough-house than those in tamer films such as To Sir, with Love and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. The kid actors are uniformly superb and real. Standouts are Hannah Hodson as the sassy Shameika (really excellent) and Brandon Smith as the troubled Tayshawn.

The Ron Clark Story merits superlatives of the highest order. The film is poignant, gentle, heartwarming, and inspirational. True, the ending is a bit hokey, but what the hey. Films like The Ron Clark Story, Stand and Deliver, and Lean On Me need to be made and put out every now and then, just to remind everyone of the importance of our society's oft overlooked linchpin - the school teacher. And Ron Clark - for his dedication, his diligence, and his caring - needed to have his story told.

Even if he really shouldn't rap.
A Must See
Becca W. | Bristol, TN | 11/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've been a social worker for years and when I saw this movie on television I do have to say I had to stop and think for a moment. I know there are great teachers and great social workers, but the story line went along with what I believe: you have to start where they are. If not you are just doing a job and working with children and their families is not just a job because you are in these peoples lives and if you can't find a way to get through you search for a way that you can. I myself during my years of social work found myself after using all the materials where I work had I found myself at book stores, on line researching; anything to help work with the children and their families in order to help not "fix them". I did not think that my job was to fix others and I wasn't satisfied unless the family/child was impacted enough to make a change. I know that not all cases you can make a change, you cannot get through to them but I think it's our responsibity to try and try again. This movie I think showed that we all need a chance and also more chances because inside of us there is a person who has talent, and like the movie we need to show them they have the talent and just to take the time and that they are worth the time to explore their talents and gifts. I apologize for the spelling and grammer mistakes but I jut woke up, sorry about that :) I do think this movie is a must see for anyone!!!!!!"
Dubyac99 | San Francisco, CA | 12/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a wonderful film. I'm really glad they brought it out on DVD, even though it's already been shown on network television. I love all the extras. My family was glued to the screen watching, even my 5 year old son. (My 9 month old daughter was just sitting, chewing on a cloth. But she did murmur a bit at the rapping.)

I would recommend this for purchase, and rental both. It's truly phenomenal what this teacher can do with these troubled students. I love the fact that they're building a school in his name as well. Fantastic!

MC White said: Totally hip and cool!
Inspiring True Story of a Teacher Who Cares
Sean Pasek | Albuquerque, NM | 02/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"You may think that caring teachers are in abundance, but believe me, they aren't. As a teacher myself, who also served 2 years in Kazakhstan with the Peace Corps, I've seen more than my fair share of teachers who have simply given up. They have resolved to simply go through the motions and just get through a day. That isn't teaching. It isn't even close to it.

More than ever in our society, we desperately need teachers who care; to take and active interest in kids who feel that they don't matter because nobody cares about them. The scary fact is that the perception of these kids is not often wrong.

And so comes along Ron Clark, a young teacher from North Carolina who finds that New York City is in a desperate need for teachers, particularly in their inner city schools. Most teachers would see this as tantamount to entering a war zone, but Clark sees this as a golden opportunity to do something. He shows up to find that one particular sixth grade class at an elementary school in Harlem has gone through six teachers before the Christmas break. He's offered the honors sixth grade class. Ron wants the troublesome group.

This is an amazing story of how a young teacher was able to not only teach this class of students, but to also establish a connection with them. In short, he had to prove to them that he was going to be there for them no matter what. He proved to them that he cares.

Matthew Perry is obviously well known as Chandler Bing on the hit comedy, "Friends," but few know that he can also be a very good dramatic actor as well. He doesn't play Ron Clark as being too serious, because the real Ron Clark isn't. He plays the part as well as it can be played.

The movie is done in similar fashion as other such films such as "Stand & Deliver" and "Lean On Me." But you know what? I never tire of such films. You know why? Because of what I said earlier. There are so few teachers out there who can do what Ron Clark has done, that it's like finding a spot of gold in a flowing river. They truly do inspire.

The only thing that I wished for this film, was that I wished it could have been longer. I realize that this is a TV movie, but I still wished they could have spent more time showing Clark with his different styles of teaching.

Perhaps one of the best scenes in the film is when he shows up at a student's house to help her with her homework. Suddenly, a neighbor shows up and hands off three children for her to look after. "I can't do my work right now. I have to make dinner for the kids," she explains. "I'll cook dinner. You do your homework," replies Clark. The girl can hardly believe that someone is doing this for HER! It is truly touching.

Be sure to watch the special features on this DVD. See an interview with the real Ron Clark, his work on his brand new academy in Atlanta, Georgia, and his truly epic trip with 15 of his students to South Africa.

If you don't feel touched by this film, you may want to check and see if your heart is still beating!"