Well, I crossed one item off my bucket list today! I finally watched Teaching Mrs. Tingle. There was a preview for this movie on some VHS I owned and I have always wanted to watch it, and now thanks to streaming videos and this lovely Sunday morning I finally have!
This is a late 90’s masterpiece starring Helen Mirren, Katie Holmes, Barry Watson and Marisa Coughlan (with special appearances by Molly Ringwald and Jeffrey Tambor). Basically, Katie Holmes is smart but struggling high school student (Leigh Ann) and all she wants is to be Valedictorian to get an unnamed scholarship so she can go to a college (She’s not even trying for a specific one, just college). Her mom is a waitress with a capital W and a name tag. Her dad is apparently out somewhere still claiming her on his taxes. But of course there is a spoiled rich girl who gets everything she wants and wears a string of pearls to high school, Trudy, and SHE is ahead of Leigh Ann to be valedictorian by ONE point (I don’t even care enough about this exposition to write this sentence, but you need it later).
The offending mark comes from the formidable Mrs. Tingle (Mirren) who seems to have it out for everything and everyone. She gives our bright-eyed protagonist a C on her final history project: an aged journal written as a year in the life of a girl accused of being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. Pay attention because this comes up often in allegory for the rest of the movie. They (Leigh Ann and Mrs. Tingle) love to toss back and forth what’s “irony” and who plays the victim. It’s a lot of talk about motivation which makes sense for two people in a kidnapping/hostage situation.
Right, so that happens. Basically the hot dude with no future in this movie (every nineties teen movie has one!) is Barry Watson who plays Luke Churner. Now, Luke is in love with Leigh Ann but she’s disgusted by him because all the men in her life let her down and she sees them as a trap, it’s a whole thing. But of course Leigh Ann’s best friend Jo Lynn (they were doing something with these names huh?) is in love with Luke! It’s like a love triangle if one side was completely apathetic and only cared about getting into triangle college.
In true “fuck it, but also I care about things” fashion, Luke steals Mrs. Tingle’s final exam and gives it to Leigh Ann so she can get a perfect grade and be the valedictorian and have a future (I love how in these movies, getting into college is equivalent to ‘having a future’).
Leigh Ann is like, “Morals though” and Jo Lynn and Luke are like, “lol” but then Mrs. Tingle comes into the gym and she finds the test in Leigh Ann’s backpack and she’s like, “the smartest girl in school caught cheating! It’ll be a scandal.” And she goes to tell the principal. BUT he’s gone home early for the day and the office lady (Molly Ringwald) is like, “can I tell him anything for you?” And Mrs. Tingle goes, “Only that his dereliction doesn’t go unnoticed.” Which is boss as fuck.
So Katie Holmes & crew are happy they get more time before she tells the principal and decide it’s a good idea to go to her house that night and try to convince her to become a different person before morning. They each try their hand and Mrs. Tingle shuts them down. Then Luke picks up a crossbow that was just at her house (lol history projects amirite?) and threatens to shoot her. Then everything escalates really quickly until they accidentally shoot her in the head (graze her in the head) with the crossbow and Mrs. Tingle is knocked unconscious. So, they take her upstairs and tie her to her bed. You know, like you do when the person you’re talking to is rendered unconscious.
Then it just turns into a circus, people are in and out of the house, including Jeffrey Tambor who plays the kinky gym teacher Mrs. Tingle is having an affair with (well he’s having the affair, BUT her name IS Mrs. and we never really find out what the deal with her husband is/was). They decide to photograph them in bed to use as blackmail later…honestly the whole thing is a mess and smack dab in the middle of all of it Katie Holmes and Barry Watson are trying to figure out their feelings for each other. And it’s like, HELLO timing you guys, come on. But they have a passionate night of steamy sex in their teacher’s house while she is bound and gagged upstairs, so there’s that.
Basically it ends with Mrs. Tingle getting free and she goes to kill Katie Holmes with the crossbow (Jesus, get rid of the crossbow- why do I even need to say that?) but she accidentally shoots TRUDY (pearls) who was coming to argue her grade. When Tingle thinks Trudy is dead she becomes really repentant and disoriented and also the principal is there (why?) and she says it’s all her fault. Then Trudy springs up and yells, “a C???” then passes back out again.
Everyone gets what they want and graduates and Mrs. Tingle is fired. I wanted more details about what happened to her cause they kind of just swept her under the rug of quick conclusion, but oh well.
I mean, did the movie win any Oscars? No. Will you enjoy the fuck out of it if you watch it by yourself one time? Yes.
2.5 out of 5 apples, would masturbate again in like 15 years