Forsaking cornball sentimentality for a straight-ahead depiction of its subject, this true-life drama from PBS's superb American Playhouse not surprisingly plays a bit too much like a made-for-television movie, or even an adaptation of a play. Despite this drawback, the film's not-so-secret weapon is an awfully impressive one: A legendary, Oscar-nominated performance from star Edward James Olmos, who "delivers" easily the best work of his journeyman career, transforming his figure, face, hair, gait, and voice to portray a man who's just about literally all intellect. Lou Diamond Phillips provides ample support, and the script from director Ramon Menendez and producer Tom Musca moves with agility back and forth between developments in the classroom and in the lives of the students and their teacher. It all gets wrapped up a bit too quickly and the answers to a few pertinent questions seem to have been left on the cutting room floor, but for sheer acting power and uplift without bathos, the film's a definite success. Stand and Deliver swept the Independent Spirit Awards the year of its release, winning a half-dozen of the major categories including Best Feature and Director.