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Pay It Forward (2000)
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Pay It Forward (2000)

Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion …of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him. (Read More)

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Mean Creek (2004)
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Mean Creek (2004)

When Sam Merrick is beaten up by local bully George Tooney, Sam's older brother Rocky and his friends Clyde and Marty plan to pretend it's Sam's birthday to "invite" George on a boat trip in which they would dare him to strip naked, jump in the lake, and run home naked. But when Sam, his girlfriend …Millie, Rocky, and Clyde see George as not much of a bad guy, they want to call off the plan, but Marty refuses. Will the plan go ahead as planned? (Read More)

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Dead Poets Society (1989)
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Dead Poets Society (1989)

Painfully shy Todd Anderson 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, 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. (Read More)

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Thirteen (2003)
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Thirteen (2003)

At the edge of adolescence, Tracy is a smart straight-A student--if not a little naive (it seems...she smokes and she cuts to alleviate the emotional pain she suffers from having a broken home and hating her mom's boyfriend, Brady.) When she befriends Evie, the most popular and beautiful girl in sch…ool, Evie leads Tracy down a path of sex, drugs and petty crime (like stealing money from purses and from stores). As Tracy transforms herself and her identity, her world becomes a boiling, emotional cauldron fueled by new tensions between her and her mother--as well as, teachers and old friends. (Read More)

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The Karate Kid (2010) is one of the best movies like Pay It Forward (2000)
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The Karate Kid (2010)

After his mother (Henson) accepts a job in China, preteen Dre Park (played by Jaden Smith) is forced to move to the new country. He attempts to befriend others, but loses all of them except for Mei Ying (Han), his new girlfriend, after getting attacked by a bully (Cheng). After almost being killed, …he is rescued by his maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who does much more than maintenance. When Dre is forced to fight his bully, Cheng, in the upcoming tournament; Mr. Han steps in and teaches him Kung-Fu, and now Dre has to take matters into his own hands. (Read More)

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The Karate Kid (1984)
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The Karate Kid (1984)

Daniel and his mother move from New Jersey to California. She has a wonderful new job, but Daniel quickly discovers that a dark haired Italian boy with a Jersey accent doesn't fit into the blond surfer crowd. Daniel manages to talk his way out of some fights, but he is finally cornered by several wh…o belong to the same karate school. As Daniel is passing out from the beating he sees Miyagi, the elderly gardener leaps into the fray and save him by outfighting half a dozen teenagers. Miyagi and Daniel soon find out the real motivator behind the boys' violent attitude in the form of their karate teacher. Miyagi promises to teach Daniel karate and arranges a fight at the all-valley tournament some months off. When his training begins, Daniel doesn't understand what he is being shown. Miyagi seems more interested in having Daniel paint fences and wax cars than teaching him Karate. (Read More)

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Boyhood (2014)
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Boyhood (2014)

Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, 'Richard Linklater' (qv)'s BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by 'Ellar Coltrane' (qv)), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring 'Ethan Hawke' (qv) and… 'Patricia Arquette' (qv) as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay's Yellow to Arcade Fire's Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. (Read More)

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The Piano Teacher (2001)
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The Piano Teacher (2001)

Erika Kohut is a pianist, teaching music. Schubert and Schumann are her forte, but she's not quite at concert level. She's approaching middle age, living with her mother who is domineering then submissive; Erika is a victim then combative. With her students she is severe. She visits a sex shop to wa…tch DVDs; she walks a drive-in theater to stare at couples having sex. Walter is a self-assured student with some musical talent; he auditions for her class and is forthright in his attraction to her. She responds coldly then demands he let her lead. Next she changes the game with a letter, inviting him into her fantasies. How will he respond; how does sex have power over our other faculties? (Read More)

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Happy-go-lucky (2008) is one of the best movies like Pay It Forward (2000)
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Happy-go-lucky (2008)

Poppy Cross is happy-go-lucky. At 30, she lives in Camden: cheeky, playful, frank while funny, and talkative to strangers. She's a conscientious and exuberant primary-school teacher, flatmates with Zoe, her long-time friend; she's close to one sister, and not so close to another. In this slice of li…fe story, we watch her take driving lessons from Scott, a dour and tightly-wound instructor, take classes in flamenco dance from a fiery Spaniard, encounter a tramp in the night, and sort out a student's aggressive behavior with a social worker's help. Along the way, we wonder if her open attitude puts her at risk of misunderstanding or worse. What is the root of happiness? (Read More)

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Dangerous Minds (1995)
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Dangerous Minds (1995)

Louanne Johnson is an ex-marine, hired as a teacher in a high-school in a poor area of the city. She has recently separated from her husband. Her friend, also teacher in the school, got the temporary job for her. After a terrible reception from the students, she tries unconventional methods of teach…ing (using karate, Bob Dylan lyrics etc) to gain the trust of the students. (Read More)

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