5 Movies I’d like to show my students . . . but can’t


I love movies. I love to watch, discuss, speculate and occasionally dream about them. While watching movies in class to kill time is not something I endorse or practice, it doesn’t stop me from creating silly top 5 lists. So be hold! the top 5 movies I’d like to show my class . . . but can’t. It’s a good list, one that you should check out yourself if you have a little downtime over the holidays. As always, if you have a suggestion, leave it in the comments. Omar and I love those comments. So click on past the break to see all the cinematic goodness.

Die Hard

Many people overlook this movie as a winter movie (maybe because it was released in July, it takes place in LA or it’s an action flick). The backdrop of the movie is pretty simple, Detective John McClane from NY is flying to LA to spend Christmas with his wife (separated) and two children. Little does John know that soon he’ll be trapped inside a building with terrorists, trying to take down the bad guys, save everyone in the process and rescue his troubled marriage. It’s a great movie, with fantastic pacing and great lines, but I can’t show it to my students for the following (very justifiable) reasons. It has nudity, violence, profanity, drugs and sex. Yep, those are some pretty good reasons to pass on it, but that doesn’t mean you should. It is one of my favorite action movies of all time and I’ll be having fisticuffs with anyone who says differently.


You might be thinking to yourself Whaaaat? The PG movie from 1984 with cute little Gizmo? Yep, that’s the one. Let me just point out something. In 1984 (at the time of the Gremlins launch) there was no PG-13 and the movie was labeled PG despite quite a bit of violence and a few F-bombs. In fact this movie, and Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom help lead to the PG-13 rating. Anyway, it’s a fun movie and the puppet work is pretty darn good too, but hardly a kids movie (middle school maybe). Seeing poor little Gizmo writhe around in pain and other Gremlins killing people ain’t all that family friendly if you know what I mean. If you’ve never seen it, check it out. It is definitely a staple movie of the 1980’s.


This movie from the Cohen brothers is just awesome (though Omar doesn’t think so). It is a great tale of bad decisions and their consequences (though that is great over-simplifying it) that follow. Great performances from just about everyone in the cast and what can I say, Steve Buscemi ends up in the wrong side of a wood chipper. While there is so much to like about this movie and it is widely well received it is far from appropriate for a classroom full of students. There’s violence (did I mention a wood chipper earlier?) sex, nudity, profanity, murder and more. So don’t be deceived by the gentile nature, beautiful winter landscapes and enjoyable Minnesotan accents. Leave this one at home when heading to school.

The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980’s scary as hell movie is an adaptation from Stephen King’s best seller of the same name. It follows Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) and his family to the Overlook hotel. They are charged with simply keeping an eye on things since the roads leading to the hotel are snowed over. It goes without saying that their is some next level stuff going on and it is scary (even today). I remember watching this with my dad and being absolutely terrified. Even the sound Torrance’s son riding his big wheel around the empty hallways going over carpet, then hardwood was enough o give me nightmares for weeks. Needless to say this movie earned its R rating easily and even if there wasn’t the violence or cursing, the sheer psychological horror you’ll unleash your students may be enough to earn you a pink slip and an early vacation. Despite that, if you haven’t seen it yet, you better add to your Netflix cue ASAP.

The Thing

To be clear, I’m talking about John Carpenter’s 1982 version not the original or the recently remade version. This horror movie has some dated special effects, but the psychological horror it brings is pretty potent. There is just no reason to show this to your students plain and simple. Anytime a dog graphically mutates into an alien plant trying to devour humans, it’s best to cross this one off the student party list. It is a great movie though and one I enjoy on occasion. Check it out if you have a chance, it is easily one of Kurt Russell’s best performances and many people claim this to be Carpenter’s masterpiece.

3 thoughts on “5 Movies I’d like to show my students . . . but can’t”

  1. Interesting post. I’d recommend a movie such as Everything Is Illuminated, Requiem For A Dream, and Pi. The only one on that list that would be allowed in a school setting though is Everything Is Illuminated. I actually just watched it in my high school film class. Great movie

  2. HI Patrick,
    That’s a pretty potent list. I would add “The Goonies”. Adventure and camaraderie are skills that are just as important as math and science, right? Likewise, the movie is full of problem solving and critical thinking!

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