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10. Dangerous Minds (1995)

Director: John N. Smith
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Courtney B. Vance, George Dzundza, John Neville, Renoly Santiago, Wade Dominguez

In every sense, Dangerous Minds feels like an outsider’s interpretation of hood education. With its plot centering on a white lady/ex-Marine who inspires a room full of underprivileged ghetto youths through her teachings (bet you never heard that one before), the flick immortalized by Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” is written with the inner-city awareness of a Paris Hilton-like heiress.

All of the “tough” students are lazy archetypes, including the pregnant teenager, the delinquent with a heart of gold, and the bully with the hot girlfriend. The dialogue spoken by the kids is all trite (“How the fuck you gonna save me from my life, huh?”), and Michelle Pfeiffer’s classroom tactics are terribly uninspired (she bribes students with candy bars, 'cause clearly dying of diabetes is preferable to dying of ignorance).

There is a silver lining, though: The producers opted against using the title of Lou Anne Johnson’s non-fiction source material, My Posse Don’t Do Homework. Especially if the assignment was to count all of the false notes and clichés in Coolio’s accountant’s favorite movie.

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