Top 10 bio-pics: No. 4 ... Stand and Deliver
Oscar Day 2011 arrives as we near the finish of the Top 10 Bio-Pics of the '80s. Today's movie earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor (but lost to Dustin Hoffman for Rainman).
4. STAND AND DELIVER (1988): Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos) teaches poor Latino kids that the L.A. school system had given up on, turning them into calculus whizzes. In real life, Escalante (who described the film as 90 percent true) taught at Garfield High School for five years before launching his calculus program (a process that is sped up in the movie version.)
Trivia: Olmos went through a hair thinning process and gained an estimated 20 pounds for the role of Jaime Escalante.
What critics said: "The Olmos performance takes a lot of chances. He is so mannered, in his stooped shuffle and his sideways manner of expressing himself, that perhaps he should have toned it down once he'd made his point. The kids in his class, on the other hand, do a good job of avoiding the usual high school cliches, especially Lou Diamond Phillips, who in a wonderful scene explains why he needs two sets of textbooks - one to keep at school and the other to keep at home, since it would never do for his street friends to see him carrying books." - Roger Ebert
Signature line: "You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do. Math is the great equalizer."
The Top 10 Bio-pics of the '80s:
10. My Left Foot
1. Raging Bull