A TRUE STORY ABOUT A MODERN MIRACLE.
Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos), the new math teacher at an East Los Angeles high school, tries to make his working-class Hispanic students achieve something unimaginable. Ramon Menendez made his feature directing debut with this drama that was seen as socially valuable to the degree that the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry in 2011, even though its formula is reminiscent of so many other inspirational teacher-student movies. This one was based on real events and portrays Hispanic culture in a warm, positive and credible way, with an Oscar-nominated performance by Olmos as the hard-working teacher. The young actors who play the students are also terrific.
1988-U.S. 105 min. Color. Produced by Tom Musca. Directed by Ramon Menendez. Screenplay: Ramon Menendez, Tom Musca. Music: Craig Safan. Cast: Edward James Olmos (Jaime Escalante), Lou Diamond Phillips (Angel Guzman), Rosanna DeSoto (Fabiola Escalante), Andy Garcia, Will Gotay, Ingrid Oliu.
Last word: “The scene where [Escalante] talks to the guys from ETS (Educational Testing Service) and they accuse him of cheating, the part that Andy Garcia plays, he told me exactly what he said to those guys. Exactly that scene, word for word, was said by Jaime. That scene, the dialogue is meticulously written. If you go back and watch it again – the rhythm, beat by beat, it is incredibly written. It’s because Jaime is a mathematician, he was meticulous with details, you have to be.” (Olmos, Latino Buzz)