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Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)

Written and Directed by Kevin Williamson

    Small town girl Leigh Ann (Katie Holmes) had done her fair share of work to ensure getting the top grade in class. Ending up one point behind the soon to be valedictorian, a girl born with a face to play the most stuck up snob of them all. Refraining from being the bigger person and taking a jab at the goody two shoes any moment given. Her hopes of surpassing Trudy (Liz Stauber) relying on a final project due for History class with the acclaimed Mrs. Tingle (Helen Mirren). Presenting soon after best friend Jo Lynn (Marisa Coughlan) whose portrayal of Marilyn Monrow was albeit entertaining, yet not to the liking of which the teacher saw fitting. Later pointing out how Leigh Ann had always made herself out to be the victim, perhaps angry for the sense of solidarity felt when looking at her. Another intelligent mind that would inevitably be trapped within their town must have resonated a familiar tone, as her plan to ruin the girls life was a way of feeling better about being just as stuck alongside with her. Later, attempting extra credit as a way of possibly jumping ahead is met with Mrs. Tingle catching them in the gym, butting in as they tried to leave. But not before she’s able to fish out a paper of which ended up in Leigh Ann’s backpack; a copy of an upcoming test, a scandal she couldn’t wait to unleash.

So Luke (Barry Watson) and the girls big plan involves trying to talk their teacher out of ratting on her, attending her house later that night. Becoming a quickly escalating situation that ends with Luke shooting off an arrow directed at Mrs. Tingle. Taking the opportunity and tying her to the bed with the notion of talking some sense into her. Yet delving in deeper than they could have imagined when hours turn into days and they start running out of stories to keep up their bloated boo boo. Having a scare when she’s able to break free of her restraints and a fight ensues with someone falling down the stairs. Unable to stop the monstrous educator as a reach for the crossbow (a students project) is shot at who she believed to be Leigh Ann. Though turning out to be Trudy who had come over with the intention of discussing the supposed B having received on their final project; unable to cope with such a result. Resulting in her immediate termination and everything ending up the way should; Leigh Ann getting her scholarship, getting the guy and maintaining her relationship with her best friend. Even though she had slept with the one Jo Lynn had liked all along. But that sounds like the typical happy ending to me!

I’ve never actually been a fan of either Watson and Homes. Finding that my favorite character was easily Coughlan throughout the film. Besides being cute and funny, she played the girl that dreamed of making something of herself in Hollywood. Having a great moment in which she mimics a well known scene from The Exorcist that was hilarious. There was also a side plot that involved Jeffrey Tambor as the gym teacher having an affair with the horrendous Mrs. Tingle, making for another funny moment throughout. Watching as these kids tried to get him drunk while blindfolding him and Luke massaging his feet. Blackmail gone array with it making no difference in the end of their secret love affair. Undoubtedly however, Helen Mirren alone would be reason to check out the film. Other cameos by Vivica A. Fox, Michael McKean and Molly Ringwald were also nice surprises as teachers around the school.

Fully equipped with dialogue prone to a Williamson film, and nothing wrong with that. He’s an intelligent man who has been able to write countless projects that pertain to each targeted audience. A project not too many people even seem to know about considering it was the first script Kevin Williamson had ever written. Eventually becoming his directorial debut three years after his success with Scream. Simply one of the many ideas he had floating around his head and taking all of two weeks to write. Turning out as though some WB version of The Faculty with a nod or two to his horror franchise. And seeing as how I’m an extreme enthusiast of both the before mentioned, I ended up really enjoying it overall. Something surely leaving impressions of what was to come as he only got better in perfecting his natural given craft.