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Renaissance Man
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
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!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2001
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.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2000
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2006
Renaissance Man is truly one of the better movies created to show a realistic picture of early Army training. Gregory Hines, as the Drill Instructor, doesn't have the time to nursemaid the "duds" that the system has sent him. So the system brings in a specialist to bring them up to speed. The building of self-respect is critical to the formation of these individuals into soldiers and the movies does a fine job of showing their progression from civilian to soldier.

Finally, the "St. Crispin's Day" speech from "Henry V" by the recruit was truly inspiring. No matter how many times I hear it, I still get misty and covered in goose-bumps. "We few, we happy few - We band of brothers" truly describes the bond between soldiers.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2000
... Everyone learns something in this movie. The viewer, maylearn something too. "Bill" learns to listen to the heart of his daughter, he learns that "knowledge brings sorrow". I know the movie verbatim. At the end when "New York" recites the "he who sheds his blood today with me shall be my brother......." almost makes me wanna join up!. Faith is basically what this movie is about. If it's too "fluff-filled" for some, then I don't know what to suggest..! END
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2000
This movie was nearly as good as "Dead Poets Society." I am glad to be inspired by another movie that shows how effective education can be. Danny DeVito touched my heart as he turned "illiterate" soldiers on to great literature in a down-to-earth way, surrounded by the rigid military protocol.

I also enjoyed the story of the father/daughter relationship in which the father wakes up to his daughter's beauty, and comes around to support her individuality.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2004
Being a non-native English speaker, I enjoyed the teacher's (Danny DeVito) making Shakespearean phrases and quotes understandable and interesting to the unmotivated youngsters in the boot camp. A previous reviewer wrote:
"The concept of a necessary english teacher in the army is not actually sensible."
To me we always need good English (E in upper case) teachers. A heart-warming comedy, yes. And I would hyphenate between "heart" and "warming" to make it a compound adjective. Current tendency of doing away with hyphens makes English more difficult to read for us "foreigners."
"Foreigners," said Mark Twain, "always spell better than they pronounce."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2004
Yes, there really are English teachers in the Army. My sister-in-law was a civilian hired to improve the writing and reading of GIs who needed extra help. This is a very funny movie and Danny Devito makes it worth watching. It takes the right teacher to make Shakespeare worth reading. I'd have paid a lot more attention in English class if I had a teacher like him!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2000
I have just watched this movie on the TV. I can honestly say this touched me. I remember Shakespear from school and pushed me back. I only wish this was on DVD. Devito is great finally coming round to what all must see as a fine portrayal of a teacher caring for his students. I have seen it in other movies yet I can honestly say I was clasping my hands as each 'DD' reached his conclusion on Hamlet. Great movie...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2010
Here's a review for a VHS I purchased I love this movie since I ssw it in 2001. Renaissance Man directed by Penny Marshell this is about the only movie that she has directed that I like starring Danny DeVito as Bill Rago James Remar as Captain Tom Murdoch Gregory Hines as Sargent Cass Stacy Dash as Miranda Myers Richard T Jones as Jackson Leroy & Mark Wahlberg as Tommy Lee Haywood. Plot is Bill Rago is fired from his job & really down on his luck the unemployment office finds him work at a Military Base to teach new recruits. This is where we meet Tommy Lee Haywood, Miranda Myers, Jackson Leroy, Hobbs & Melivin. Thes guys argue & it's funny some of there interaction. Rago tells them to write a paper on why they joined The Army it's a really great scene why they want to serve they want to be a part of something greater than they could ever imagine. Rago teaches the recruits Shakespeare's Hamlet this movie got me interested in the works of William Shakespeare. When Melivin reads his lines off the paper Danny DeVito's reaction is funny I enjoy The "Go Hamlet!" Rap. 1 scene a guy that Rago likes he has Captain Murdoch look into his record cause he thinks he should be elevated but it's a real heartbreaking scene it turns out he was a drug dealer & he was hiding out from Law Enforcment his real name is Nathaniel Hobbs. While I'm not a fan of Mark Wahlberg's rap career I love the song Life In The Streets. Rago tells the recruits what he did only cause he wanted to see Hobbs succeed he say "The choices we make dictate the life we lead." I could put more about how awesome this movie is & I do know this was a bad summery of the plot. I thought that this was the last great performance by Danny DeVito James Remar did a good job it really depends on the role cause he wasn't the best choice as Raiden in the 2nd MK movie. Mark Wahlberg did a good job for 1st time role as did everyone else & this was a comedy that really knew it's audience & was funny unlike 2 certain comedies that recently reviewed. Renaissance Man is an awesome movie that I can't find any fault with & if you're never seen it I suggests you rent it or purchase it NOW!
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