Saturday, February 14, 2009

Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999, Kevin Williamson)

I recently had some strange desire to revisit a very peculiar time in film history. I like to call it the "Dawson's Creek era". This span of time from around 1996 to somewhere in the early 2000's gave birth to a whole slew of films aimed at teens featuring many of the (20 something) teen actor's from Dawson's Creek and other popular hour long prime time TV dramas. I was first introduced to this sub genre with Scream in '96 and before I knew it, these films were multiplying faster than a wet mogwai. Teaching Mrs. Tingle is a prime example of this type of film.

Leigh-Anne Watson (Katie Holmes) is a poverty stricken student who needs a certain grade to become valedictorian and therefore get a college scholarship. But when she is erroneously caught trying to cheat by the wicked Mrs. Tingle her future looks bleak. She decides to visit Mrs. Tingle at her home, accompanied by the school bad boy Luke (Barry Watson) who was responsible for her getting in trouble and her best friend Jo Lynn (Marisa Coughlan) who has the hots for Luke. One thing leads to another and they end up holding Mrs. Tingle hostage in her house with a crossbow. Wait...WHAT? You read it right. Don't ask me, I didn't write the script.

That's about the whole plot right there. Yeah, a little wacky (and stupid) if you ask me, which is surprising considering it was written and directed by Kevin Williamson, the creator of Dawson's Creek and writer of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I thought the film was actually hard to watch, mainly because the characters were unlikable and annoying. Helen Mirren as the wicked Mrs. Tingle was the only really entertaining thing about the movie, but even she couldn't save this offbeat snoozefest.


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