While Shawn Stockman feeds a baby tiger cub, he watches a clip from the 1995 film, Mr. Holland’s Opus on television. Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfus) slaps the table and asks his student, “do you what we’ve been doing wrong, Ms. Lang?” We’ve been playing the notes on the page. Because playing music is supposed to be fun. Gertude Lang (Alicia Witt) asks “what else is there to play?” He responds, “Play the sunset.”
Stockman plays his piano while the baby tiger cub rolls over on the floor of his apartment. He rests his arms on the piano, looking at the sheet music. The baby tiger cub pulls and tugs on the couch. He stands by his piano.
In a clip, a fiftysomething Mr. Holland teaches his high school music class. Stockman sits on a chair and smiles as he watches him. A screen in the classroom features students playing and Mr. Holland talking.
Stockman writes on his sheet music.
In black-and-white, Mr. Holland listens to his students in class. Back in color, Mr. Holland looks for his classroom. He works on his music in the family room as his wife (Glenne Headley) cleans up in the kitchen. He leads the school marching band.
Stockman talks with Mr. Holland. In black-and-white, he smiles as he watches Mr. Holland play the violin. In color, Mr. Holland walks down the hallway of the school.
In black-and-white, Stockman calls out to the students. He sits in the classroom with his instrument beside him.
In the clip, Mr, Holland finishes conducting a piece in his classroom.
Mr. Holland had been an inspiration to Shawn Stockman. He encouraged him to pursue music. Stockman learned a few instruments and was involved with marching band. At his graduation party, Mr. Holland told he couldn’t wait to hear him on the radio. On the advice of his parents and counselors, he took classes to become a veterinarian. He fostered wildlife animals and worked at the rescue center.
In between work and classes, he no longer had time to write music. His piano collected dust in his apartment. His clairnet was in the back of the closet. However, with the news of Mr. Holland’s forced retirement, he started to play again. He asked Mr. Holland if he could stop by and be an aide in class. Mr. Holland told him he was wasting his talent. During lunch, he asks Mr. Holland asks him to listen to a song he wrote. Tears fall on his favorite’s teacher’s face. Mr. Holland tells him it’s amazing and to submit it anywhere it can.
Stockman gives his two weeks notice to the wildlife rescue and switches majors. He interns at a music studio and helps produce some indie bands. One of the songs he worked on gained national attention. The recording studio hired him on after the internship was over. The success of the song from the indie band had allowed the studio to make its profit for the year. Stockman sends the single to Mr. Holland, who calls him and says he was proud of him.
Director: Wayne Isham Year: 1995