Cooley High is a 1975 American film based upon the real high school located on the near north side of Chicago produced and released by American International Pictures and written by Eric Monte (co-creator of Good Times). The film, set in 1964 Chicago, Illinois, stars Glynn Turman and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and features a soundtrack made up primarily of 1960s Motown hits.
The film is considered a classic of black cinema, and its soundtrack featured a new Motown recording, G.C. Cameron's hit single "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday". That song was covered in 1991 by Motown act Boyz II Men on the group's first LP, named Cooleyhighharmony in honor of this film.
Monte based the film on his experiences from attending the real-life Cooley Vocational High School (which is no longer standing) that served students from the Cabrini–Green public housing projects in Chicago. While the film was set in and around Cabrini–Green, it was primarily filmed at another Chicago-area housing project. Monte has said that he wrote the film to dispel myths about growing up in the projects: "I grew up in the Cabrini–Green housing project and I had one of the best times of my life, the most fun you can have while inhaling and exhaling".
This movie ranked #23 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[
It's funny, I was just thinking about this movie because one of the actors in this film, Rick Stone, has worked at the Black Ensemble Theater for many years and some of us just saw him 5/11 at the Marvin Gaye Tribute show. Jason told me Jackie Taylor, who heads Black Ensemble, also had a small role in it. Many of our members are too young to have ever even seen this film. All the more reason to come check it out!
Bring your lawn chair, and a picnic style dinner for yourself (chicken, sub sandwich, salad, etc.)and/or treats & drinks to share. Alcohol and glass bottles are technically prohibited in Chicago public parks. So pour your favorite "adult" beverage into a pop, juice or water bottle or other unmarked container. It may get cool by the lake at night, so bring a jacket and perhaps a light blanket(got a Snuggie? ;D). Bug spray is good to have too. Also bring a citronella bucket candle if you can, to help repel insects and create a nice ambiance.
The movie will start at sunset, around 8p and runs 107 minutes. But come around 6:30p to meet & greet, get set up and enjoy a picnic and drinks before the show. Movies in the park are really a great time, don't miss it! I'll bring popcorn and my "special" summer punch ;D