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'Bad Teacher': A lesson on film's unusual educators

Cameron Diaz in 'Bad Teacher'

Cameron Diaz in 'Bad Teacher'

Hollywood loves its rogue teachers.

Everyone from Edward James Olmos to Robin Williams has gotten a crack at that juicy archetype, playing characters who run afoul of stodgy administrators and connect with their students in unconventional ways.

There are many admirably sincere films about these inspirational, noble educators, among them "Stand and Deliver" and "Dead Poets Society."

It's clear from the title alone that "Bad Teacher," a comedy starring Cameron Diaz that opens in theaters Friday, is not cut from quite that same cloth. So we decided to look at Diaz's Elizabeth Halsey and where she stands among some of the movies' silliest teachers.

Elizabeth Halsey, 'Bad Teacher'
Cameron Diaz
She sleeps through class, plans on skipping the first day of school and hammers students with dodgeballs. And that's just in the trailer!

Rick Latimer, 'The Principal'
James Belushi
Oh those unruly inner-city '80s kids. They're such trouble! Whoever will shape them up? Erm, James Belushi? Really? That's the best we've got?

John Kimble, 'Kindergarten Cop'
Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Governator's Detective John Kimble impersonates a teacher in this minor classic, with enough ridiculous dialogue ("Who is your daddy and what does he do?") to spur countless Internet soundboard-aided prank calls.

Jonathan Shale, 'The Substitute'
Tom Berenger
High school is a war zone in this mid-'90s thriller. Mercenary Shale poses as a history teacher to take on a gang and bust up, yes, a heroin ring being run out of the school. "I am so very tired of this movie," Roger Ebert wrote.

Dewey Finn, 'The School of Rock'
Jack Black
We like Jack Black and "The School of Rock," but we wouldn't want our kids anywhere near his out-of-control Dewey Finn, substitute teacher and band leader extraordinaire.


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