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Monday, May 16, 2016

Bad Teacher - 2011 Movie Moment

Have any of you out there had a teacher that was incredibly bad?

I can tell you quite a few horror stories about bad teachers.  Like the computer teacher in ninth grade who I suspect was on you say...wacky tobaccy during class.  Or, the history teacher who seemed to take delight in salivating over the historical figures who caused pain and misery to the general public.  Or the first grade teacher who humiliated you in class because you preferred to walk on your toes.

Certainly in this world are teachers who are absolutely horrible to their students and certainly should never be placed in a classroom setting.  Ever.

But what about teachers who are perceived to be bad by everyone else, but by the time you have them they end up being among one of the best teachers you've ever had?  I seem to recall having one of these teachers when I was in elementary school.  Everyone told me that the woman who taught French was scary and evil and yelled at kids in her classroom, and when we learned we'd have her for French instruction in the fifth grade, I was a little nervous.  But she was one of the few teachers who actually seemed to give a damn about me, and made me feel comfortable learning a second language.

And yes...she did yell at students - but they were misbehaving in class.  They had it coming.

Well, for today's flashback to 2011, I'm going to be taking a look at the movie "Bad Teacher".  It was a movie that while it scored mixed reviews by critics - I'll be the first to admit that I loved it.

Then again, for some reason, there's not too many films featuring Cameron Diaz that I DON'T like.  I know, she's one of those actresses that cause bi-polar reactions.  Some absolutely loathe her, but I like her.  Maybe it was her stint as Princess Fiona in Shrek that cemented it.

So, as mentioned, Cameron Diaz plays the role of Elizabeth Halsey, a junior high school teacher who basically does everything that a teacher probably shouldn't do.  You know, things like dropping F-bombs during class, or showing movies in an attempt to get out of teaching.  Things like that.  Mind you, students like myself would have loved having a teacher like that, but we wouldn't have learned much.

But that's okay because teaching has never really been Elizabeth's passion anyway.  She's more interested in getting hitched to her rich boyfriend and living the lifestyle that gold-digging women like her feel they deserve.

Hate her already, don't you?

Well, when she gets dumped after he puts two and two together - ironically something she should have taught her class - Elizabeth is now forced to do the one thing she hates the most.  Teach.

Of course, Elizabeth soon discovers a new incentive to stay at the school when she meets substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), and she pretty much degrades herself even more by throwing herself at him at every opportunity.  The fact that he is the heir to a watch manufacturing company makes him that much more desirable. 

There's just a couple of things standing in Elizabeth's way.  And believe me when I say that there are two major obstacles in her path.

See, she learns that Scott's last girlfriend had gigantic breasts, and Elizabeth does not.  Therefore, she makes the really stupid conclusion that if she gets her breasts enlarged, it will make Scott fall in love with her.  A plan that seems to be ridiculed by school gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel), but that's only because Russell himself has a crush on Elizabeth, and wants to get her attention even though Elizabeth snubs him for being a gym teacher.

And then there's Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), a teacher who basically exhibits all the characteristics of a person who loves their job and who has dedicated their life to teaching - and who also happens to develop a crush on Scott...and who has resentment against Elizabeth because she somehow manages to stick around at the school despite breaking nearly every rule in the book.

So we have our plot.  Elizabeth hates teaching and wants to impress a guy by getting money for new boobs.  Scott likes Elizabeth, but likes Amy more.  Russell likes Elizabeth, but can't seem to get her attention because Elizabeth is smitten over Scott.  And in between all of that are a group of kids who don't seem to be learning anything other than to be a shallow, insecure adult.

Now you know why this movie is called "Bad Teacher"!

But as the movie progresses, things change.  Elizabeth starts to develop a new appreciation for teaching, and her feelings shift from one person to another.  Sure, she still breaks the rules and engages in some pretty unprofessional behaviour to raise the money for the breast enhancement surgery, but she eventually does come to see the error of her ways.  Someone else in the film gets a major comeuppance as well, and while it's someone you might not expect, it's still strangely satisfying to see.

If you haven't seen this film yet, definitely make it a point to do so.  It may not have been one of the best films of 2011, but it is far from being the worst.

Seriously.  I've seen "Jack and Jill".

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