May 19, 2008

Best Movie Teacher

Nancy Flanagan had a post about movie teachers. She said her fave was Mr. Holland's Opus. After I finished yawning, I started thinking about my own favorite movie teachers. Frank Oz as Yoda and Pat Morita as Mister Miyagi popped to mind immediately. I almost went with Burgess Meredith. Not only was he Rocky's coach, and an inspirational motivator ("You're going to eat lightening and crap thunder!"), he got to teach Perseus in Clash of the Titans ("Oh impetuous... foolish... Ah dear, the young. Why do they never listen? When will they ever learn?"). How cool is that?

But the best movie teacher has to absolutely be...

...Mr. Arnold Hand!

"What is this fascination with truancy? What is it that gets inside of your heads? There are some teachers at this school who look the other way at truants. It's a little game you both play. They pretend they don't see you, and you pretend you don't ditch! Now, in the end, who pays the price? YOU!"
He cares! (Without being wishy-washy like most movie teachers.) He doesn't take crap! (With out having to carry a stupid baseball bat.) He's awesome. Not only does he put Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli in his place on day one by tearing up his schedule card and sending him to the office, in the end he makes a house call to Spicoli's house to tutor him! Aloha, indeed! You can take your poetry-quoting Robin Williams, I'll take the Hand!

Nancy Flanagan does make the point that most of these teachers are men. And it's true that for some reason female teachers haven't done well on the screen. If I had to pick one, I'd probably go with Miss Shields from A Christmas Story. I am far from a fan of that nauseating tripe, but I like how kind and unharsh she is in the face of the student's antics. She confiscates quite an assortment of contraband and even helps Flick when he gets his tongue stuck on that pole.