by Patrick Bromley
After 33 dedicated years of teaching in the public school system, our beloved JB is teaching his last classes today. We must take a moment and honor that accomplishment.
Doing anything for over 30 years is hard, but teaching for that long is especially hard. Those who have never taught might not understand just how difficult a job it can be, having to be "on" and give of yourself all day, every day. Had a bad day? Too bad. Not feeling well? Too bad. There is class after class of young people expecting you to stand up in front of the room and engage them, entertain them, teach them. I'm married to a teacher. Many members of my family are teachers. Several of the people to whom I'm closest are teachers. I know just how demanding the job can be, so to do it for 33 years is a kind of miracle.
I know this because I took his class in high school. We don't talk about it much on the podcast because, frankly, I don't want to make JB seem like a very, very old man (like, seriously old), but the way we were first introduced was when I took his Film Studies class in high school (well, technically it was because I was a cast member in his hilariously funny and wildly popular variety shows, which were much more akin to Saturday Night Live than whatever you're picturing a high school variety show to be). It should come as no surprise that this was one of my favorite classes in all of high school and was the first time I ever saw Some Like It Hot and Eraserhead and Singing in the Rain, at least two of which have gone on to become lifelong favorites. I would continue to take film classes throughout my undergraduate and graduate years, and I have always been sure to tell JB that there was nothing I learned about film or filmmaking in any of those college-level courses that I hadn't already learned in his class. That's how good it was.
I could go on and on about what JB has meant to me and Erika and our kids, or what he has meant to 33 years' worth of students. About his marriage to wonderful Jan, or about how he raised a thoughtful, intelligent and incredibly talented son in Jake, who is now finding success as a screenwriter in L.A. and will no doubt be selling scripts for new Transformers spin-offs any day now (part of Paramount's new Garbage Universe). To be honest, there is far more that I can say about JB than can fit into a single column, even with as fucking chatty and verbose as I can sometimes get here. I didn't set out to celebrate his entire life, because I can't. It's really long because he is very old. I just thought it important to recognize his retirement and the impact he has had on hundreds if not thousands of young people, none more so than me.
So congratulations, JB, on an incredible career, an incredible family, an incredible life. We here at F This Movie! are so fortunate to have you in our lives. My kids are so fortunate to have you in theirs. I am so fortunate to call you one of my very best friends and a member of my family. Thank you for your years of helping to make the world a better, smarter, more movie-loving place. You're the best.
Now get back to work.