Teacher of the Year
Today’s movie is Teacher of the Year, a dark romantic-comedy short that’s actually pretty clever even if it essentially relies on just one joke.
Co-writer Gil Zabarsky stars as third-grade teacher Ethan Collins. Depressed and disillusioned following the end of his marriage Ethan veers away from his curriculum and shares his profanity-laced thoughts with his class. Throughout the course of the day Ethan is listened to by his sympathetic but confused students. Confronted by the school’s vice-principal (Rachel Dratch), and supported by Abigail (Kathleen Littlefield) another teacher assigned by Dratch’s character to monitor and document Ethan’s career-destoying break-down.
The film derives most of its comedy from Ethan alternately talking to a classroom full of third-graders as if they were his drinking buddies, or incorporating his depressed ramblings into the format of a classroom lecture. (At one point he gives his students a homework assignment to catch their mommy being a liar.) While I’ve been critical of one-joke movies in the past, it works here in this is a seventeen minute short.
At the same time, I could see where this could easily have room to be re-made as a feature. The ending here seems a bit rushed, with the final conclusion seeming to come along a little too easily. Still this is a fun and effective short film. It’s definitely worth watching.