…and the quest to see everything

In praise of Mirren and Coughlan

You might know her as The Queen or as Supt. Jane Tennison whoever but I will always remember Helen Mirren in the first movie I’ve seen her in, playing the title role in Teaching Mrs. Tingle. She’s the stereotypical teacher from hell, 90’s bowl cut, angry American accent and all.

Some film geeks might herald 1999 as a banner year but it was also a part of that decade, seeing the release of many teen movies. We have the headlining adult in this film but where do we get the young stars to get my attention? Why television, of course! At the time Katie Holmes, also coming out with Disturbing Behavior, was then one of successful “Dawson’s Creek” alums. There was also “7th Heaven’s” Barry Watson.

ph. Dimension

But let me present you Marisa Coughlan. While Leigh Ann Watson (Holmes) and Luke Churner (Watson) are ‘going to school or home so they won’t look suspicious,’ they assign Jo Lynn Jordan (Coughlan) to Tingle watch. So ‘aspiring actress’ Jo reenacts famous scenes from classic movies, passing the time. At one point she has to pretend to be Tingle when the married Coach Wenchell (Jeffrey Tambor) comes over, Jo sounding more like Isabella Rosselini instead of Mirren. She has to wear Tingle’s clothes and perfume, coming too vulnerable and close to the dark side.

I find one scene interesting, when Tingle finally makes Jo into believing that Leigh and Luke are having an affair behind her back and Jo readily believing anything she has to say. For argument’s purposes, Jo is being a bad actress in front of Tingle, saying the words ‘You’re lying’ so insipidly but the latter can’t see it. I don’t know how intentional this is on Coughlan’s part, or that writer-director Kevin Williamson can’t transition from one part of the scene to another, but I’ll call this subversion. Points for Miss Coughlan.

8 responses

  1. Wow. Seriously, Paolo, I was supposed to post an article on this for Helen’s birthday last week but I forgot (I still have the post in my draft). I liked (?) this movie back in the day. Absolutely ridiculous, like some of the teen fare, but always entertaining.

    August 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    • It was last weekend. It was one of Nathaniel’s suggested topics last week when he was away, yet none of us were up to is. I guess this is the closest we got.

      And again, Holmes got a lot of work back then. Imagine an alternate universe where she’s the most famous Dawson’s Creek alumni but for the right reasons. Did you watch the show too?

      August 6, 2011 at 12:19 am

  2. Yup, I watched DAWSON’S CREEK (I was WB’s bitch back in the day) – even then I knew Busy Philipps would be brilliant, ever since then I didn’t like Michelle Williams. Of course, a significant amount of my DAWSON’S CREEK love depended on that theme song and I never could get in Pacey and Joey as a couple.

    Okay, that’s enough of nostalgia.

    (I actually don’t hate Katie Holmes, a bit bland on occasion but great in PIECES OF APRIL and I remember when she did that Judy number a few years back on “So You Think You Can Dance” I said I wouldn’t mind if she played Judy G. over Anne Hathaway, because I’m not that big a Hathaway fan. But, I vaguely remember getting death-threats, which I think came from Jose, if memory serves me right…but I could be wrong.)

    August 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    • You didn’t (still don’t?) like Michelle Williams, Busy Philips, Anne Hathaway, and you’re not on Team Pacey neither? You’re breaking my heart back. I never thought of Dawson as attractive because of his facial features and this is from a guy who’s mostly into blonds.

      Also, I keep seeing PIECES OF APRIL on the cheap DVD racks and I should pick it up one of these days. If not for Holmes or the potential of Holmes, I’ll see it for Patricia Clarkson too.

      August 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm

  3. Oh see it for Patty she is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!! (and majorly caustic, which is how I love her best). Oh, I love Busy – she’s well…Busy. And Michelle Williams seems really sane and nice, but eh…I don’t know.

    And on Dawson, I don’t know…Van der Beek isn’t particularly good looking or anything, but I always liked Dawson.

    August 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    • I get you. She’s versatile enough, but she reverts to Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory.

      I liked van der Beek in Rules of Attraction. He was cute and well shot there.

      August 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm

  4. Dan

    I’m a big fan of Marisa Coughlan but haven’t seen much of her lately. Thanks for highlighting Teaching Mrs Tingle – a film that didn’t get the plaudits it deserved I feel.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    • Despite being devoted and fantastic to the movie that I’m going to mention, Freddy got Fingered absolutely ruined her career. She’s been relegated to cameos in TV shows like Bones now.

      August 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm

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