5 Fab Movies
Bad Teacher – First off, can we just take a moment to appreciate that this comedy has the best tagline ever? “Some teachers just don’t give an F.” PURE GENIUS! But yeah, maybe you wouldn’t want Ms. Halsey (Cameron Diaz) teaching your teenager. She smokes, drinks and plays movies for her students all day, and her goal in life is to land a rich husband and get breast implants. Though she sets her sights on a wealthy substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake), it’s actually the sarcastic gym coach (Jason Segel) who’s clearly her soulmate. Will she realize it before she gets fired?
School of Rock – Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is one of my all-time favorite movie teachers… but technically he’s not even a legit teacher. Meaning, he’s actually just a desperate-for-cash slacker posing as substitute fifth-grade music teacher “Mr. S” at a private school run by the strict and structured Principal Mullins (Joan Cusack). There, Mr. S gets everyone to loosen up by teaching the kids his favorite songs from the likes of AC/DC, Kiss and Led Zeppelin, and entering his students into the Battle of the Bands. For those teachers about to rock, we salute you!
Fast Times at Ridgemont High – When you’re dealing with teenagers, your only option is strict discipline. At least that’s the approach the no-nonsense Mr. Hand (Ray Walston) takes when attempting to teach history to the unruly students at Southern California’s Ridgemont High — especially the über-stoner Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn). But in the end, Mr. Hand’s determination to get through to Spicoli and ensure he’s learned what he needs to learn is what makes him such a standout movie teacher.
Akeelah and the Bee – Catch a young Keke Palmer in her breakout role as Akeelah, an 11-year-old student from South Los Angeles who is encouraged to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. While Akeelah’s mother (Angela Bassett) believes in her daughter, she’s also fearful of the girls’ dreams being crushed if she doesn’t win. Enter visiting English professor Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), who is at first reluctant to coach Akeelah because of a tragedy from his past. But eventually, with such a compassionate mentor and teacher by her side — in addition to the support of her entire community — Akeelah’s dreams are within reach.
The Karate Kid (1984 and 2010) – Sometimes the best teachers are the ones we meet outside of school. Like Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), who serves as a coach, mentor and teacher to new-kid Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), bestowing life lessons that would impact Daniel’s life both in and outside of the dojo. In the 2010 China-set remake (which I was totally against at first but ended up loving), Jackie Chan plays Mr. Han to Jaden Smith’s Dre to the same inspiring effect.