Leslie Schock unveils her top five favorite films
February 8, 2019
Social studies teacher, Leslie Schock, is one of the co-sponsors of PHS’s new Cinema Club, and with she and the club already having hosted multiple screenings of movies like “Back To The Future” and “Psycho,” I sat down with Ms. Schock to discuss her five favorite films, historical accuracy in film, and the movies she hopes Cinema Club will share with students in the future.
That’s just a movie that to me, has everything, you know? Lessons about who you want to be, a love story, the quest for independence against the big, bad British, the speeches, it was just a great three hour immersion, which is everything you want in a movie. I’m not going to bring up Mel Gibson, because he’s pretty problematic, but regardless of that, it’s a great movie.
SP: As a history teacher, do you think you tend to gravitate towards historical epics or movies based on true stories?
LS: Yes, but I think I have to go into them realizing that they’re just movies, because I think people who get too high and mighty with their historical accuracy lose the fact that they’re also trying to tell like a very complex story in an hour and a half, two hours, and so things are going to have to be cut.
Historical figures are going to have to be mashed into one character that portrays a bunch of people. You’re never going to have a true historical telling of a big, complex event in an hour and a half or two hour movie that people are going to want to go and see.
Our average, daily lives are actually really boring, so you have to cut out a lot of things to make it good and interesting. So, I like movies based on a true story, but I always know that they aren’t, I’m not gonna go in there expecting like a history book telling of what happened.
SP: So if you were making this list only with movies with some basis in history, like those based on a true story, what five movies would you put on this list?
LS: That’s a bit of a curveball you’re throwing at me here, but one of my favorite movies that isn’t based on a true story, but is like a historical epic, I would say is, “Dances with Wolves.”
Maybe that exact character didn’t exist. I thought it was just a beautifully told story about being human and not worrying about one culture being better than the other, and a guy who learns that a culture that he did not understand might have been better suited for who he was then the culture that he came from. I thought that was a really powerful message.
The next one isn’t very historically accurate because it really takes away from the Polish contributions to the computer, but I love “The Imitation Game,” and Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job in that movie, but it has a lot of historical problems. The Polish basically handed him the plans that were 75 percent done for Christopher, then the movie makes it look like he came up with it all himself, but it’s a great movie and another beautiful message about tolerance.
I don’t really like modern 20th century war movies, and I think that that cuts out a big part of the genre. Like, “Saving Private Ryan” I know is phenomenal, “Dunkirk” was quite close to a masterpiece but those are just not things I personally enjoy. I like the human-centered story more than the big war epic so there’s nothing else really coming right to mind.
SP: I guess my final question is, as a Cinema Club sponsor, what are some movies that you hope the club watches in the future?
LS: Oh, it’s so hard because I don’t know what’s rated PG-13 off the top of my head. There’s so many good movies, but unfortunately, a lot of them are rated R.
The movies that actually just popped into my head, that I would love for kids to see but are rated R, are “Dead Poets Society,” which I’m now regretting not putting in my top five, now that it came to mind, and “Schindler’s List.” They’re, I think, the most beautiful movies made in the last 30 years about resiliency and life and acceptance, and “Dead Poets Society” is part of what inspired me to become a teacher, so those would be two I would want to be okay-ed for us to watch.
Especially for “Dead Poets Society” because, again, I just don’t think that would be rated R now. I mean there there is obviously a problematic storyline to it for it to show high school kids, but with I think that now, that movie would not be a bad choice for our students to watch.