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The top 10 worst teachers in movie history

The top 10 worst teachers in movie history (photo)

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Cameron Diaz may play the title role in “Bad Teacher,” but many, many terrible teachers have come before her to the big screen. The film, which opens this week, joins a proud tradition of movies featuring educators with questionable intentions.

In fact, Diaz looks like a candidate for a Golden Apple award for teaching excellence when compared with some of the classroom authority figures envisioned by John Hughes and Ingmar Bergman. Any child would be lucky to have her in charge if their alternative involved a psycho from Park Chan-wook’s “Lady Vengeance” or Arnold Schwarzenegger as an undercover cop.

While Diaz may be worthy of the label “Bad Teacher,” these ten characters deserve to be recognized as “The Worst Teachers in Movie History.”

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10. Detective John Kimball, “Kindergarten Cop” (1990)

Male action stars fought bad guys in all kinds of unlikely places and with shockingly mismatched partners during the 1990s. Hulk Hogan had “Mr. Nanny.” Sylvester Stallone starred in “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.” And Arnold Schwarzenegger shook down a classroom of little brats to find a kidnapped child in “Kindergarten Cop.” As Detective John Kimball, he fires off one-liners like “It’s not a tumor!” and “Who is my daddy and what does he do?” that have gone on to become quotable classics.

Despite his success in find the missing child, Kimball fails to keep his class under control in virtually ever scene and even drops a kid, making him a terrible guardian and a potential insurance liability.


9. Mrs. Tingle, “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” (1999)

Helen Mirren certainly ranks as the classiest horrible teacher on this list from her performance in “Teaching Mrs. Tingle.” She’s smarmy, she’s witty and she knows precisely which buttons to push with her overachieving student Leigh Ann (Katie Holmes). Tingle treats Leigh Ann so harshly that the young girl and her friends visit her home and end up careening down a spiral of bad choices that result in a kidnapping situation. Throughout the whole ordeal, however, Tingle remains as charming as she is vicious and unrelenting.


8. Pai Mei, “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004)

As a kung fu instructor training Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” Pai Mei makes Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid” look like Mr. Rogers. He knows how to turn an apprentice into living weapon, but his teaching strategy involves endless insults and hard labor–and don’t even think about trying to talk to him in Japanese. This is the one teacher above all others that you do not want to mess with, but his tutelage is only for the strong-willed and thick-skinned.


7. The Economics Teacher, “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” (1986)

Ben Stein set the bar for boring in his emotionless, iconic performance as the teacher calling out Ferris Buehler’s name during an epic act of truancy. He wasn’t necessarily the worst teacher of all time, but his rapport with his class seemed to be totally non-existent. You can’t blame a free-spirited lad like Ferris for wanting to be somewhere else.


6. Diane Marshall, “The Teacher” (1974)

According to the trailer for this bizarre 1974 film (but let’s face it, what wasn’t bizarre in 1974?), teacher Diane Marshall (Angel Tompkins) “corrupted the youthful morality of an entire school.”

“How did she do this?” you may wonder. Well, she likes her male companions scandalously young, and she exercises some extremely poor judgment by using the student body as her personal dating pool.


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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…