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Class Act (2006)

Jay W. Jenson , Andy Garcia , Sara Sackner  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jay W. Jenson, Andy Garcia, Desmond Child, Adam Epstein
  • Directors: Sara Sackner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Class Act" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the creators of Supersize Me, comes a funny, provocative, yet heart-felt story of drama teacher extraordinaire, Jay W. Jensen, who has touched the lives of thousands of students over the years. Class Act is set agianst the specter of No Child Left Behind and documents how the arts are disappearing from the American classroom, giving us a report card on what lies ahead for America's kids. Includes interviews with Andy Garcia, songwriter Desmond Child and Broadway producer Adam Epstein.


A passonate and eloquent argument for the importance of arts education in public schools... --Miami Herald

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Class Act explores the very real need for increased funding for arts education in today's American schools. The documentary makes a strong case that without the arts people cannot truly be whole or even truly happy--what if, after all, we lived in a world without music, movies and creativity? For example, my friends all know that I have a deep, deep passion for music; I can never get enough of it. For me, life without music would be dull, to say the least.

The film strengthens its case by showing us interview footage with a very large number of experts in both education and psychology; and we hear from other professionals including actor/director/producer/musician Andy Garcia, Desmond Child (songwriter, "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "Who Let The Dogs Out") and director Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour," Red Dragon" and "X-Men 3." We even see interviews with expert politicians and former government officials on both sides of the aisle as they cry out for increased funding for arts education in American schools. They all argue that there simply isn't enough funding for arts education in the schools; and in some cases there is no funding whatsoever for arts education. What we have seen is an ever increasing focus on test scores--which I'm really not against--but funds for music and drama classes have been sharply diminished.

In addition, the film focuses on one particularly charismatic drama teacher, Jay Jensen. We watch him work happily--and tirelessly--to improve the lives of both young and elderly students through arts education. We get great footage of some of his former students, including Andy Garcia, who enthusiastically validate that Jensen was a model teacher who could make students feel important by helping them express themselves through drama, art and creativity.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Class Act - an inspiring film November 14, 2007
I found this movie so inspiring and entertaining that I first considered briefly giving up my imminent retirement plans to help the crusade for Art in the Schools. Recovering from that, I wished I had the means to make this film available to every teacher, parent, administrator and governing body member, from the Superintendents to the legislators. It makes very clear the importance, in a life-long way, of arts in the schools for every student. What a profound difference could be experienced in our society if the arts had a universal high priority.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Class Act Flunks Out May 27, 2008
In every classroom across America there was some variation of the chair in the corner of the room with the dunce cap sitting on top of the chair waiting for the next wayward child to take their seat in the punishment chair. Never has a piece of furniture perhaps served struck such fear amongst children or commanded as much respect as the "time-out" chair in the American educational system.

And just as the classroom setting might have the dunce chair for a poorly behaving young child to go sit in, documentaries have their own set of a dunce chair. However, documentarians need not worry about scrunching down into a small piece of childhood furniture, rather, they must ensure their own work is interesting and informative for fear of having a critical movie review written about their work.

Unfortunately for those involved in the film, Class Act is being sent to the corner chair.

Directed by Sara Sackner, Class Act looks to the American educational system with a critical glance with respect to the lack of value and emphasis that is being put upon the arts aspect of a child's educational development. While certainly the topic is an interesting one, perhaps it is too narrow of a focus as the larger issue at hand really is that the American students are not having enough money invested in their education as a whole.

Released in 2006, the film attempts to correlate the importance upon having a well established arts program directly to the success or lack thereof that a child will experience in school. The movie tries to simplify the equation of what education is all about to a belief amongst at least the director that a child without arts will not succeed and a child with arts will rise above the rest.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Tepid Documentary February 6, 2009
CLASS ACT is a documentary that portends to examine the negative affect between the loss of arts in public education and student achievement and quality of life. Anyone who has seriously studied the issue knows that there is some validity to this correlation (granted, though, that the correlation has been shown to be small). This topic is an interesting one and could make for a stirring and thought-provoking documentary. This is what CLASS ACT portends to be, but it is not. Instead, it's basically a documentary about an interesting dramatic arts teacher named Jay Jensen who worked with students of all ages for about 40 years in the Miama Beach area. Don't get me wrong, I found the story about Jensen's life to be interesting and focusing upon him the filmmakers get across the message that one person can have a tremendous impact upon the world at large (former Jensen students include Andy Garcia, Brett Ratner, Roy Firestone, and Desmond Child). But Jensen's story isn't the focus of the movie. The movie tries to focus on arts education and its importance and what happens when students don't have access to it. However, that focus gets lost and instead becomes more of an annoying subplot to the larger story of Jensen's life and impact. Had the filmmakers decided to cut out the filler and focus solely in upon Jensen, the movie would have been much better and the filmmakers could have made a stronger argument about how important good teachers are in the lives of students.

I enjoyed parts of CLASS ACT, but at times found the dual focus too jumpy and annoying. CLASS ACT might have made for a decent television special, but as a documentary it just doesn't work very well. The movie is worth watching to learn about Jensen's life, but as a movie that illustrates the importance of arts education in public schools, it fails.
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