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Channing Tatum: The Most High School-Educated Man in Film

With the Tatum-starring Side Effects out today, let’s look at the actor’s continuing on-screen education.



Patton Oswalt's “The Johnny Lawrence Story” follows extremely blonde '80s star William Zabka through 1984's The Karate Kid (he plays Daniel-san nemesis Johnny Lawrence), 1985's Just One of the Guys, and 1986's Back to School, tracking his maturation from high school jerk to jerk-at-a-different-high-school to jerk-at-college. Which is both funny and impressive, but not Channing Tatum level impressive. Because when not accepting Sexiest Man Alive Awards, Tatum has been endlessly experiencing high school, whether as a jock, a dancer, a reunion attendee, or an undercover cop taking orders from Ice Cube. Behold, the complete education of Channing Tatum...from grades 9 through 12.


1. High School, Take 1: The Baller (Coach Carter, 2005)


There have long been stereotypes about white players being unable to help a basketball team. Wrong. This scene shows a white guy can contribute...by doing pushups so a more talented guy who isn't white can get back in the lineup. (Yay!) The team still fails to win the big game and Channing begins to suspect his education lies in a different direction.


2. High School, Take 2: The Dancer (Step Up, 2006)


Adrift, Channing faces a bleak future until someone notices: That boy's got moves! And if you've got moves, there might be a place for you at Maryland School of the Arts. (Yes, the Maryland School of the Arts.) Watch the trailer to see Channing start to find himself, meet his future real-life wife Jenna Dewan, and hear an insanely intense reading of the line: “You say that he can dance...



3. High School, Take 3: Still Dancing (Step Up 2: The Streets, 2007)

Having come to recognize the value of education – at least, when it involves booty shaking – Channing seeks to share knowledge with the next generation. However, this generation comes from the streets (it's right there in the title), so Channing has to communicate with them through the only language the streets understand: Dance battles! Really. Watch this clip, then head to the most dangerous neighborhood in your area and get jiggy. It’s totally the safest thing to do.


4. Out of High School: Into the Army (GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, 2009)


Because if there's one thing our military needs as we battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban (and Storm Shadow), it's highly trained dancers. Channing portrays one of your favorite childhood plastic dolls (excuse us, action figures), though tragically the film reveals there is no live-action equivalent of the kung-fu grip (although if we’re honest, we came pretty close to recreating one whenever Baroness was on the screen).


5. Returning to Civilian Life (and Eventually High School) (Dear John, 2010)


While bravely serving his country, Channing longs for a woman back home. Will she marry someone else? Will he behave impossibly nobly despite this betrayal? Will a surprising amount of the film hinge on Richard Jenkins collecting coins? Yes to all, as this clip begins with the lame (he reads a letter) and ends with the awesome (he sets it on fire).


6. High School, Take 4: The Reunion (10 Years, 2011)

Safely returned to civilian life, Channing can now focus on what really matters: Going back to high school! While preparing to propose to his girlfriend – played by real-life wife Jenna Dewan in their first film together since Step Up – he is forced to confront old feelings at his 10th reunion when he sees his old flame (and not just any old flame, but one played by Rosario Dawson). Witness him getting some perspective on high school...but don't worry, he'll return to it shortly.


7. High School, Take 5: The Return (21 Jump Street, 2012)


Just when he thought he was out...they pulled him back in. Or rather, Ice Cube pushed him back in, as the chief orders Channing and Jonah Hill to go undercover to take down a high school drug ring. This adaptation of the TV series made over $200 million worldwide, despite a shocking lack of Richard Grieco.


8. Summer Job! (Magic Mike, summer of 2012)


Finally getting a chance to use those moves he picked up long ago, Channing strips to pay the bills while trying to ignore a nagging sense that he wants something more from life than drugs and banging Olivia Munn. See him do the Maryland School of the Arts proud in this dance number set to It's Raining Men, a tune which assures the ladies they'll soon be “absolutely soaking wet” (rest assured, there are no double meanings going on: It's a sweet, totally straightforward song about moist vaginas.)

9. College
Scheduled to arrive there in 2014 with 21 Jump Street 2. We'll believe it when we see it.


Check out our review of "21 Jump Street."
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