I love everything that Curtis Hanson does, but Wonder Boys is basically my favorite movie about teaching. Most of us are not of the “Captain, My Captain” variety of teacher of Dead Poets Society fame. Some are. I’m not. Instead, I think most of us in the academy are like everybody else: wounded and screwed up, limping along, too dependent on something bad for us to get us through the night. Sometimes we run out of stories to tell; we get burned out. We don’t fit in. We do the wrong thing, hurt people, try to do good work, and then fail. Still, we can’t stop. We can try telling a dishonest story but if we are authentic scholars, we can’t make that work either. Despite it all, there’s one student who is just as outside as the rest of us, and that person has something to say, and there’s something important to him about all the walking wounded who have come before him. Teaching and creating art are messy, unpredictable, and often sad processes that nonetheless can yield glorious results.