There is a legend whispered amongst the Hollywood elite that Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, and Richard Gere were all offered the role of Glenn Holland in Mr. Holland's Opus
, and turned it down because they could not do the magnificent role justice. I believe that rumor. Richard Dreyfuss is the only actor with the gravitas needed to portray the inimitable Glenn Holland in what many esteemed film critics consider the defining movie of the past 30 years. Mr. Holland's Opus
is a landmark achievement in cinema history, and it must be recognized as such in due haste.
While this movie is filled with memorable scenes, memorable characters, and memorable Hallmark phrases, there is one scene in the movie which defies all convention and stands out as singular accomplishment in writing ingenuity. In this scene, Richard Dreyfuss teaches an African American teenager how to have rhythm in order to help keep him on the wrestling team. That's right, a white mustache-wearing 5'6" piano-playing music teacher is instructing an African American student, who wrestles, mind you, on how to clap to the beat of a song sung, no less, by an African American singer. Let's break that down.
1. A white music teacher who cut his chops playing weddings and Bar Mitzvahs is trying to teach someone how to clap to the beat. This alone is fantastical, defying all common sense. Add in a mustache and you're talking genius.
2. The fact that the student in need of rhythm help comes from a culture known to possess tremendous rhythmic ability (and huge penises)? Score another one for the writers.
3. But wait, there's more. When was the last time you saw an African American wrestler (no, A.C. Slater was not black)? Can't think of one? Neither can I. Truly an inspired choice by the writers.
4. The final touch? The man teaching the student to dance was Richard Dreyfuss. Yes, THE
Richard Dreyfuss. This is what pushes this scene into the pantheon of scenes in movie history.
That one scene alone would have elevated this wonderful movie into the rarefied category of classic. Yet that is not the only scene worthy of greatness. Consider these orgasmic displays of acting talent and writing magnificence:
* Mr. Holland's heart-wrenching comparison of his love for music and his newfound love for his unborn child. If I had a wife, and I wanted her to have an abortion, that scene, and that scene only, would have made me leave the alley and put the coat hanger down.
* Mr. Holland's lovely song to his son, Cole, in which changed John Lennon's "beautiful boy" to "beautiful Cole." That, my friends, was inspired and damn near tear-inducing.
* Mr. Holland's near-affair with an 18-year-old high school senior. Don't be a simpleton and think that it was exceptionally creepy for any attractive young woman to fall for Richard Dreyfuss. No, that wasn't the point of the scene. The point was to show that Mr. Holland would not physically cheat on his wife. Sure, he was emotionally fucking Rowena, but that's not real cheating. Richard Dreyfuss gave Mr. Holland a complicated emotional compass and that, dear friends, and that is what acting is all about. And how about that name Rowena? Marvelous choice by the writers. Funky, sexy, and somewhat freaky all wrapped up in a nice bow. Who wouldn't want a Rowena?
* Finally, that powerful final scene where Mr. Holland conducts his great American Symphony. That goodbye party was so sentimental and, dare I say it again, heart-wrenching, that I almost forgot that the whole reason they were having the party was to celebrate Mr. Holland being dumped on his ass due to cutbacks. How was he going to make enough money to eat or pay his bills? Who cares because he finally conducted his symphony. I never would have thought to end with that dichotomy, but after seeing it unfold onscreen, I understand why it was done. The sympathy for his symphony in the assembly made me wistfully and blissfully smile. The real world melted away because Mr. Holland finally heard his opus. What an amazing day.
Clearly, this movie has not received its due praise. I for one, will make it my second mission in life (after getting Jennifer Love Hewitt to pose for Playboy
), to trumpet this movie's merits across all the hilltops and treetops and blacktops in the US of A. People must learn that this is no mere movie - it is the defining movie of my generation. Mr. Holland, I thank you for your opus. Richard Dreyfuss, I thank you for your
opus, in the form of Glenn Holland. My life would not be the same without it. Thank you.
A Concerned Fan
Original Jennifer Love Hewitt
petitionTags: Mr. Holland's Opus, Richard Dreyfuss
, Jennifer Love Hewitt
Labels: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mr. Holland's Opus, Richard Dreyfuss