Kickback , Relax, and Celebrate Teaching With a Movie and Popcorn
Sometimes the best escape from the day is to immerse yourself in a great movie. But sometimes it’s really fun to watch movies about the teaching profession, too. Use your next movie night as a time to celebrate your career with these fan faves.
Warning: Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. Some will make you ugly cry. And some will just remind you why being a teacher can be the most wonderfully frustrating career there is.
And guys, don’t even think about hitting play without a giant bowl of popcorn! Like great teachers and great teacher movies, great popcorn can come in all kinds of flavors. Check out some new recipes courtesy of the Food Network and make a whole cozy night of it.
Food Network Magazine created these recipes using 12 to 16 cups freshly popped plain popcorn. Use a bag or two of microwave popcorn, or make your own: Heat a few kernels in 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat until one pops. Add 3/4 cup kernels and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally until the popping subsides.
In his small North Carolina hometown, Ron Clark (Matthew Perry) leads a comfortable life as a successful elementary school teacher, earning the respect of the community. However, he knows there are students elsewhere who need him more. Following his inner calling, Clark uproots to New York City, hoping to make a difference for the disenfranchised youths the school system has left behind. Clark makes it his mission to turn around the worst students, even though he knows his job is on the line.
Popcorn recommendation: Veggie popcorn — Pulse 2 cups each mixed veggie chips and dehydrated snap peas in a food processor until powdery; toss in a bowl with 8 cups hot popcorn. Season with salt.
For most, teaching is an honorable profession — except for Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz). The foul-mouthed, boozy woman can’t wait to marry a rich man and quit her job, but she has to rethink her plans when her sugar daddy dumps her. Then Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), a substitute teacher who’s cute and rich, arrives. Elizabeth can’t wait to sink her teeth into a new meal ticket, but she faces stiff competition from Amy (Lucy Punch), a popular and perky colleague.
Popcorn recommendation: Margarita popcorn — Melt 6 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons each lime juice and tequila, 2 teaspoons each sugar and kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest in a skillet over medium heat; drizzle over 12 cups hot popcorn and toss with 4 cups lightly crushed lime-flavored tortilla chips.
In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, with each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas, each playoff distinguished more grandly than any national holiday. And with such recognition, comes powerful emotions. In 1971, high school football was everything to the people of Alexandria. But when the local school board was forced to integrate an all-black school with an all-white school, the very foundation of football’s great tradition was put to the test.
Popcorn recommendation: Salt and Vinegar popcorn — Combine 1/4 cup malt vinegar and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a small spray bottle; shake to dissolve the salt. Spray over 16 cups hot popcorn.
Composer Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) believes that he’ll eventually write a transcendent piece of music but, in the meantime, he’s taken a job at an Oregon high school. Though at first the job frustrates him, and his unconventional methods often draw the ire of the straight-laced vice principal (W.H. Macy), Mr. Holland grows to love his students as the “temporary” position stretches into a decades-long career — and in the end, they reveal just how much they love him back.
Popcorn recommendation: Cinnamon Sugar popcorn — Drizzle 6 tablespoons melted butter over 12 cups hot popcorn; toss with 4 cups cinnamon cereal (such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch), 1/3 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
Harry Potter movies 1-8
Settle in for a movie marathon and watch the adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s popular children’s novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he meets several friends who become his closest allies and help him defeat Voldemort, the most powerful evil wizard in the world.
Popcorn recommendation: Peanut butter popcorn — Heat 1 cup honey and 3/4 cup sugar over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup peanut butter and 1 teaspoon each vanilla extract and kosher salt until smooth; pour over 16 cups hot popcorn and 2 cups peanuts and toss. Spread on baking sheets and let cool.
A small, turbulent town in Texas obsesses over their high school football team to an unhealthy degree. When the star tailback, Boobie Miles (Derek Luke), is seriously injured during the first game of the season, all hope is lost, and the town’s dormant social problems begin to flare up. It is left to the inspiring abilities of new coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) to instill in the other team members — and, by proxy, the town itself — a sense of self-respect and honor.
Popcorn recommendation: Buffalo popcorn — Melt 6 tablespoons butter with 1/3 cup Buffalo hot sauce; toss with 16 cups hot popcorn, 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, and some celery leaves. Season with salt.
Painfully shy Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil Perry, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating (Robin Williams), their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each does so in his own way, and is changed for life.
Popcorn recommendation: Rocky Road popcorn — Whisk 5 tablespoons melted butter with 2 teaspoons each vanilla extract and kosher salt; drizzle over 16 cups hot popcorn. Toss with 2 cups each mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and toasted walnuts. Spread on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees F until the marshmallows and chocolate are slightly melted, about 2 minutes.
The life of a popular teacher (Julianne Moore) turns topsy-turvy when a former star pupil returns home after a failed career as a playwright. Unwilling to see the young man give up his dream, she decides to produce his play at her high school.
Popcorn recommendation: Parmesan-Rosemary popcorn — Toss 16 cups hot popcorn with 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt.
Former Marine Louanne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) lands a gig teaching in a pilot program for bright but underachieving teens at a notorious inner-city high school. After having a terrible first day, she decides she must throw decorum to the wind. When Johnson returns to the classroom, she does so armed with a no-nonsense attitude informed by her military training and a fearless determination to better the lives of her students — no matter what the cost.
Popcorn recommendation: Chipotle popcorn — Melt 4 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce and 1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder; drizzle over 16 cups hot popcorn. Toss with 2 cups corn nuts. Season with salt.
In the comedic style of the “The Office” and the films of Christopher Guest, Chalk is a spirited portrait of life in the trenches of that most honorable and frustrating profession… teaching.
Popcorn recommendation: Frito pie popcorn — Toss 12 cups hot popcorn, 6 tablespoons melted butter, 4 cups Fritos (or other corn chips), and 2 tablespoons chili powder; spread on baking sheets. Top with 2 cups shredded cheddar and 2 chopped scallions. Bake at 350 degrees F until the cheese melts, 3 minutes. Season with salt.
After getting canned from his advertising job, down-and-out divorcé Bill Rago (Danny DeVito) takes a job teaching English at a nearby army base. There, he takes on a group of underachieving students from poor backgrounds who seem apathetic about their education. Bill becomes frustrated, but finally turns the class around when he begins discussing “Hamlet.” However, Sgt. Cass (Gregory Hines), a hardened drill instructor, is skeptical of Bill’s teaching methods.
Popcorn recommendation: Ranch Popcorn — Melt 4 tablespoons butter with a 1-ounce packet ranch seasoning mix; toss with 16 cups hot popcorn and 2 tablespoons chopped chives. Season with salt.