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Cheaters
     

Cheaters

Director: John Stockwell, Jeff Daniels, Jena Malone, Paul Sorvino

Cast: John Stockwell, Jeff Daniels, Jena Malone, Paul Sorvino

 

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Moral hypocrisy and the woes of America's public schools and educational system are the focus of Cheaters, which is based on a real-life 1995 cheating scandal at a Chicago high school. In a working class area of the city, teacher Dr. Gerald Plecki (Jeff Daniels) is desperate for his students to triumph at an upcoming academic decathlon against students of a

Overview

Moral hypocrisy and the woes of America's public schools and educational system are the focus of Cheaters, which is based on a real-life 1995 cheating scandal at a Chicago high school. In a working class area of the city, teacher Dr. Gerald Plecki (Jeff Daniels) is desperate for his students to triumph at an upcoming academic decathlon against students of a more affluent high school across town. His desperation causes him to cast a blind eye when one of his students gets hold of a copy of the decathlon test -- and, thanks to their combined dedication to cheating -- the team wins the competition with the highest total score in state history. Of course, the score leads to suspicion on the part of Illinois officials, and the resulting scandal is accompanied by a media frenzy of monolithic proportions. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Like Quiz Show before it, Cheaters revolves around a surprising scandal that grows out of a situation in which no laws were broken, in this case, an academic decathlon. Not that cheating is ever truly forgivable, but Cheaters makes the impulse to stick it to the privileged braggarts, who dominate the competition on an annual basis, feel righteous and justified. One can understand why the frustrated, out-funded students in this true story would behave as they did. While this is not nearly so skillful a project as Quiz Show, it scores because it details the increasing complexity and fragility of their secret, which must be protected by half-dozen scared, guilt-ridden teenagers under intense scrutiny. It examines repercussions that might seem out of scale for the infraction committed, except that American society values the concept of hard work so fiercely that it vilifies those who succeed through unjust methods, from lip-synchers Milli Vanilli to gold-digger Anna Nicole Smith. Like Matthew Broderick's intervening teacher in Election, Jeff Daniels' Gerald Plecki should have known better, and deserves the career blacklisting that results from his actions. But the fact that a handful of misguided 17-year-olds could be permanently stigmatized by this event is sobering indeed. Director John Stockwell gives this made-for-HBO movie crisp pacing, and Daniels and Jenna Malone deliver affecting portrayals, making for an effective lesson on the consequences of ethical compromise.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/17/2012
UPC:
0883316491409
Original Release:
2000
Source:
Hbo Archives
Sales rank:
84,202

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeff Daniels Dr. Gerald Piecki
Jena Malone Jolie Fitch
Paul Sorvino Constantine Kiamos
Luke Edwards Darius
Dan Warry-Smith Paul
Blake Heron Matt
Robert Joy Actor
Ned Eisenberg Actor

Technical Credits
John Stockwell Director,Screenwriter
Suzanne Coston Executive Producer
Suzanne De Passe Executive Producer
Paul Haslinger Score Composer
David Hennings Cinematographer
Randi Hiller Casting
Diane Kerbel Casting
Craig Lathrop Production Designer
Kevin Reidy Producer
Eric Sears Editor

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