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187

Movie poster for 187
Directed by Kevin Reynolds
Produced by Bruce Davey
Stephen McEveety
Written by Scott Yagemann
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
John Heard
Kelly Rowan
Clifton Collins Jr.
Cinematography Ericson Core
Editing by Stephen Semel
Studio Icon Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) August 3, 1997 (U.S. release)
Running time 120 min.
Language English
Spanish
Budget $23,000,000

One Eight Seven (also known and abbreviated as 187) is a 1997 drama / crime / thriller film, starring Samuel L. Jackson, who plays a Los Angeles teacher caught with gang trouble in an urban high school. The film was directed by Kevin Reynolds and its name comes from the California Penal Code number, called 187 (murder).

Contents

Plot summary

Trevor Garfield is a black high school science teacher at Roosevelt Whitney High School, a high school in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. A gangster student to whom he had given a failing grade threatens to murder him, writing the number 187 on every page of one of Garfield's textbooks. The administration ignores the threat, and the thug ambushes Garfield in the hallway, stabbing him in the back and side abdominal area multiple times with a shiv.

Fifteen months after surviving from the ordeal, Garfield, now a substitute teacher, has relocated to John Quincy Adams High School in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, but the trouble starts again when he becomes a substitute to a rowdy, unruly class of rejects, including a Chicano tag crew by the name of "Kappin' Off Suckers" (K.O.S.). Their leader, Benito "Benny" Chacón, a menacing felon attending high school as a condition of probation, makes it clear to Garfield that there will be no mutual respect between them.

The tension mounts when a fellow teacher, Ellen Henry, confides that Benny has threatened her life, an action against which the administration of the school refuses to take action, fearing legal threats. Ellen and Garfield develop a close friendship that approaches the beginnings of a relationship, but which is stymied by Garfield's diffident and destabilizing behavior, likely arising from PTSD and his confrontations with the K.O.S.. Garfield's past also garners him the unwanted admiration of Dave Childress, a burned-out, alcoholic history teacher who carries and keeps guns at the school.

After Benny murders a rival tagger in cold blood, he inexplicably disappears, and Benny's severely unstable tag partner, César, takes over as leader and class antagonist. The conflict between Garfield and the K.O.S. escalates with the killing of Jack, Ellen's dog. César, after spraying cartoon graffiti depicting a dog with a "dead" face, is shot with a syringe filled with morphine attached to the end of an arrow. He passes out, and wakes up to find one of his fingers cut off. César later recovers the finger and it is reattached, though the letters "R U DUN" ("are you done?") have been tattooed onto it as a warning.

A student Garfield has tutored, a Chicana by the name of Rita Martínez, faces continuing abuse from both the K.O.S. and Childress, and drops out. The school administration is hopelessly mired in bureaucracy and unable to intervene. After Benny is found dead in the Los Angeles River, apparently of a drug overdose, it becomes clear that Garfield has taken justice into his own hands, playing by the rules of the street in an intense contest with César and the K.O.S.

The K.O.S. plan to murder Garfield after they accuse him of killing Benny and amputating César's finger. The conflict comes to a head at Garfield's house, as the gang forces Garfield into a contest of Russian roulette with César. The latter's resolve is finally shaken, as Garfield gets through to him about the lost-cause lifestyle he has led, saying "Your whole way of life is bullshit. Macho is bullshit.". Hesitating at his turn, César watches as Garfield, offering to take his turn for him, takes the revolver and shoots himself in the head. Driven by his personal sense of honor and ignoring the protests of his horrified friends, César insists on taking his rightful turn and ends up killing himself in the same manner as his teacher.

Later on graduation day, Rita, who returns and completes her studies along with former K.O.S. member Stevie, offers a tribute to Garfield by reading an essay about him at commencement. The essay incorporates the theme of the Pyrrhic victory, which Garfield had once explained to her in a tutoring session. The film ends on a somber note as Ellen, presumably disheartened at the incident, appears to leave the school (she throws her teaching certificate into a garbage bin).

Rating

The film was given an R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), for strong violence, strong language, drug abuse and brief nudity.

Cast

Actor Role
Samuel L. Jackson Trevor Garfield
John Heard Dave Childress
Kelly Rowan Ellen Henry
Clifton Collins Jr. César Sánchez
Tony Plana Principal García
Karina Arroyave Rita Martínez
Lobo Sebastian Benny Chacón
Jack Kehler Larry Hyland
Jonah Rooney Stevie Littleton
Demetrius Navarro Paco

Reception

The film was poorly received by critics, receiving a 31% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film grossed $5.7 million domestically in its theatrical release.

Filming locations

See also

References

  1. ^ "Feature films." Verdugo Hills High School. Retrieved on March 5, 2009.

External links








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