the first of the classroom dramas like freedom writers and dangerous minds and lean on me and stand and deliver. of all those, this one is the oldest and probably shows the kids being the most nasty. kinda cuts against the usual narrative that “kids in my day had respect…” i think that every generation since the beginning of time has probably said that and it is only occasionally true.
in this film the kids are beating up teachers, attempting to rape them, etc. in the other films i listed they look tough, kill and beat each other, and do drugs. take you pick.
in the end everything works out (the norm for these films), but of course the truth is usually different.
much is made of the film’s rock and roll soundtrack. it wasn’t special in retrospect, but it was an early adopter of the genre so it gets extra credit for that. there were riots at screenings of the film so i guess it’s about on par with new jack city. nothing changes. kids are kids.