Expect big, big laughs when funnyman Danny DeVito (TWINS, RUTHLESS PEOPLE) joins forces with talened director Penny Marshall (A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, BIG) to deliver a lively five-star comedy you're going to love! DeVito pl... more »ays a down-on-his-luck businessman who desperately takes the only job offered -- a teaching position in the U.S. Army. His mission: keep a ragtag bunch of underachieving misfits from flunking out of basic training! Be on alert for laughter as this unlikely new teacher and his underdog class unexpectedly inspire one another to be all that they can be!« less
Bill Lincicome | Aviano Air Base, Italy | 08/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"which really isn't a bad thing at all. "Renaissance Man" does a pretty good job of depicting military basic training with a few laugh-out-loud scenes along the way -- especially the "sniff-n-git" approach to chow time (what great memories!). I especially liked Gregory Hines' character (Drill Sergeant Cass) emphasizing the daunting task of transforming civilians into soldiers capable of saving lives in combat. Sergeant Cass and Bill Rago may come from entirely different perspectives, but, like one of the primary goals of military basic training, the two men realize they're on the same team and gradually develop a respect for each other's duty.I also liked the scene where Private Benitez, who does a dead-on Jake LaMotta impression throughout the movie, presents a moving soliloquy from Henry V during his company's bivouac ("on St. Crispin's Day"). Mark Wahlberg (who I suppose graduated basic training and moved on to "Three Kings"!), the lovely Stacey Dash (who isn't given enough to do) and the wonderfully restrained Richard T. Jones (Private Jackson Leroy) round out a solid cast. A few minor things prevent this from being a 5-star movie (I actually give it 4 1/2 stars):1) I felt sorry for the soldier (Private Hobbs) who was busted for his past history of selling drugs -- but hey, he didn't seem too sorry about it when he got caught, did he? At least he was trying to better himself in the slammer... 2) The "white boys ain't got no rhythm" crack is pretty played out (even if it is true). 3) I was disappointed not to find "United", the track played during the closing credits, on the soundtrack. Great song!Last item -- they way the movie ended, it sort of left the door open for a follow-up of some sort. Was there a TV series made of this (I've been overseas for a LONG time!) Hope someone can answer this in a future review."
Renaissance Man in the Classroom
Eileen Cunningham | Wichita, KS United States | 06/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Believe it or not, I've used *Renaissance Man* in the classroom for a couple of reasons. When we study the Renaissance in World History, our text makes reference to Leon Battista Alberti, the scholar and architect who, from a standing start and with his feet together, could leap over a man's head. The DeVito character, in his efforts to get his students interested in Shakespeare, makes reference to Alberti in one scene in the movie, so I couldn't resist showing that clip in my class. Then, since I taught the same students (high school freshmen) in English, I also showed all the clips related to the teaching of *Hamlet*. I've been patiently waiting for the DVD to come out so I won't have to do the slow "fast forwarding" and can just leap to the clips I want. The students usually get caught up in the characters as well, which is pure serendipity for me!"
A Shakespeare Lover's Companion in Odd Ways
Ann Margolis | Illinois United States | 06/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Renaissance Man is the Hamlet or Shakespeare lover's companion. Not only is it a good movie with a great plot, it includes major themes and characters of Hamlet connected to unlikely modern comparisons spread out in a different fashion. The movie includes interpretations of the play Hamlet itself, as well as, a three minute rap that is an Ode to Hamlet and a short excerpt from the play Henry V. The movie also combines a great overall message that no matter how little you have or are given you can succeed in life. It also shows that no matter how much others put you down, if you believe in yourself, you have the potential for greatness. Other ironies include Mark Wahlburg playing a non-homeboy hick that cannot keep a beat. Overall it is a great movie with great connections and wonderful, heartfelt messages. Any lover of Shakespeare must see this movie!"
An all-time favorite
tzefirah | Media, PA United States | 07/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not in the habit of buying videos to keep, but I had to buy this one. I'm sure I've seen it 10 times by now. Whoever said that Shakespeare is hard to read is not remembering that Shakespeare started out as drama for the masses, not for the literati of his day.This movie has been overlooked, which is a real shame. Definitely what you would call a sleeper. I never get tired of seeing it."
A moving motion picture
tzefirah | 02/05/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Certainly not an Academy Award winner, but nevertheless a very moving story about a fired ad executive who is hired to teach a group of Army low-achievers. Danny DeVito shows a a great range of emotions in his role as the teacher. Perhaps the most moving part is the reciting of a scene from Shakespeare's "Henry V" by a soldier from the group while camping with his unit in the pouring rain. Certainly a better picture than the reviews would indicate, this highlights a man who is caught up in the thrill of seeing others learn as a result of his efforts as a teacher. A positive advertisement for both teaching and the U.S. Army."