School of Life

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School of Life
680784 DV L F.jpg
School of Life DVD cover
Written byJonathan Kahn
Directed byWilliam Dear
StarringRyan Reynolds
David Paymer
John Astin
Andrew Robb
Kate Vernon
Theme music composerAri Wise
Country of originCanada
United States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Rosanne Milliken
CinematographyBrian Pearson
Editor(s)Edgar Burcksen
Running time111 minutes
Original networkABC Family
Original releaseFebruary 19, 2005 (2005-02-19)

School of Life is a 2005 made-for-television comedy-drama film starring Ryan Reynolds about a teacher who moves to a town and shakes the old school ways up a bit.


At Fallbrook Central School, the annual student-elected Teacher of the Year award ceremony is held. Every year for the last 43 years, Norman Warner, fondly called Stormin' Norman, has won the award. During the ceremony, he collapses and dies, saying "Take Your shots" and "It takes more than death to kill a man", greatly confusing his son, Matt Warner. The burden of carrying the legacy falls to Matt, who has always lived in the shadow of his father.

Determined to keep the family tradition of being Teacher of the Year alive, Matt focuses all his attention and efforts in winning the coveted title. But the new history teacher, Michael D'Angelo becomes the new student favorite, telling Matt's son to "Fall with a thunk for a woman" when he accidentally trips while watching Chase Witherspoon. He is called, even by fellow and senior teachers, "Mr. D". Young and funny, with unconventional methods of teaching and an uncanny ability to connect with his students, Mr. D. quickly wins the hearts not only of the students but also the teachers, especially the young art teacher, Ms. Davies. Now that Mr. D. is the most popular teacher on campus, Matt feels that he has no chances of winning against Mr. D.

Now obsessed with discrediting Mr. D, Matt soon forgets what it means to be a teacher. Desperate to find a flaw in "Mr Perfect", Matt follows Mr. D around town and discovers a secret the alarmingly perfect teacher is hiding: Mr. D has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and does not have long to live. Shocked by the startling discovery into realizing his own pettiness, Matt slowly changes his ways of teaching and in the process wins the hearts of his students. When Mr. D stops coming to teach because of his worsening illness, the students become depressed by the situation. Matt steps in to cheer up the student's spirits and leads the basketball team to a victory, with a special guest appearance with 30 seconds left in the game by Mr. D. Chase Witherspoon, being a cheerleader, accidentally falls, and Matt's son retells her of Mr. D's quote "Fall with a thunk", and the two share a kiss, though it was quickly interrupted by the referee.

The film concludes after three years have passed and Matt's own son is now in high school, and Matt is teaching a brand new year of pupils in his life science class. He has won the Teacher of the Year for the last two years, teaching similarly to Mr. D, who won the award in the school year of 2003. The art teacher, Ms. Davies, inherited Mr. D's car and even put a Hawaiian girl on the car. The film ends with a close-up of a photo in Matt's classroom of himself, Mr. D, and the basketball team with "Michael D'Angelo 1967-2003" inscribed on the bottom of the frame.


Actor Role
Ryan Reynolds Michael D'Angelo or Mr. D
Andrew Robb Dylan Warner
David Paymer Matt Warner
John Astin Stormin' Norman Warner
Kate Vernon Ellie Warner
Leila Johnson Denise Davies
Chris Gauthier Coach Vern Cote
Alexander Pollock Clyde
Don McKay Principal Bass
Shylo Sharity Chase Witherspoon
Gordie Giroux Seth
Keith Miller Howard
Matt Fahlman Point Guard

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