BY SARAH EVANS
With the first couple of weeks of the new school year over–and students likely having already decided whether their teachers are bad-ass or boring–we count down the top five teachers in film.
5) Detective John Kimble, Kindergarten Cop
If there’s anything that would give a child post-traumatic stress disorder, I would imagine having Arnold Schwarzenegger as a kindergarten teacher would be one of them. Luckily this isn’t real life and his role as Detective John Kimble in Kindergarten Cop can be seen more as a “what if.” However, seeing this gorilla of a man play the nurturing educator archetype associated with kinder-aged children, whilst staying undercover for a drug bust, is worth putting on a list. The naivety of the kids along with John Kimble’s own clueless approach to children makes for some pretty hilarious moments.
4) Louanne Johnson, Dangerous Minds
Who could forget Michelle Pfeiffer’s role as hard-ass ex-marine turned inner city high-school teacher Louanne Johnson? Yes, the movie was shitty, but you have to love a storyline about someone who goes into a sketchy situation and makes it better. Also, throw in the fact that it’s small, petite Michelle Pfeiffer being a hard-ass with some scary kids who would probably cut your fingers off for giving them homework. Oh, and in addition to this, I’m pretty sure this is a true story, so the M-Pfeiffs gets even more credit. Louanne deserves to be on this list because being a teacher sucks as it is, but one who has to deal with that crap deserves a medal…or some brass knuckles.
3) Professor Dave Jennings, Animal House
There is such a huge difference between post-secondary instructors and the teachers you had in high school (at least where I come from). No more hiding the fact that you’re still drunk from the night before or being high in class and keeping your cuss words at a minimum. In Animal House, Donald Sutherland plays a dope-lovin’ prof, who not only smokes up with his students, but also enjoys a little hanky-panky with them as well. He also has this mild uncomfortable creepiness to him that I’m sure we’ve all experienced with one or more of our own college profs. So why does Professor Jennings deserve to be on the list? Other than being an unabashed stoner, he shares the same ironic fate as most profs who enjoy ranting about “the system” but need it to survive.
2) Jim McAllister, Election
It goes without saying that when we think about movie teachers, Jim McAllister from Election should come to mind. The role is played by Matthew Broderick, who, alternatively, used to play a high-school wise guy in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In Election, he gets a taste of playing a high-school teacher in the middle of student elections. One student in particular, Tracy Flick, wants to see Mr. McAllister’s head on a platter and gradually his life starts to crumble around him. As the viewer, you get to witness the tiny cracks in Jim’s life turn into a full-blown disaster–all because of a teenage girl. The performance depicting his descent into madness is a must-see.
1) Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls
I love Tina Fey and I love this movie, but those aren’t the sole reasons why I put Ms. Norbury on the list. Although Ms. Norbury’s character and Tina Fey are basically the same person, her awkward demeanour mixed with her dry sarcastic humour is what makes this teacher character of hers so damn lovable. She emulates the “nerdy cool” that all the good teachers should possess. You don’t hate her, you may feel bad for her, but altogether, she’s got her shit together and you feel disappointed with her when her prize student falls face first. She’s one bad-ass bitch.
Sarah is coupon writer by day and a freelance photographer/writer by night in the Ottawa region. Her all time favourite movie is The Exorcist and she cries in almost every sad scene in a movie no matter how bad it is.