Using the release of Smart People as her hook, the Washington Post's Ann Hornaday takes on that time-honored trope of teachers in the movies. [The cinetrix would probably link to it even if Hornaday hadn't brought up her bete noire Mona Lisa Smile in the final graf.]
It's a cinematic archetype as reliable as the fish out of water and the blonde in distress: the disheveled, misanthropic college professor, in the throes of writer's block (or some other form of publish-or-perish anxiety), living in book-lined solitude as a result of divorce, death or free-floating disgust with humanity.
So, what's the allure?
In other ways, the bored or blocked professor -- teaching the same texts in the same rooms to the same if interchangeable students, day in, day out, semester after semester -- perfectly embodies the ennui of any job. But in this case, that job brings the added value of involving performance. Thus the professor is the ideal personification of inertia without inert ness, suggests Poirier. "He's onstage every day."
Do click over for the slide show of Dennis Quaid, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Douglas rocking that echt beard/artful glasses look that makes the cinetrix think she's going about this teaching thing all wrong, in terms of both gender and garb.
But then she remembers that Harvard had out-there Elvis Mitchell teaching its undergrads and realizes there's hope for her yet. Scheduled to be at Full Frame last weekend to support The Black List, Mitchell, true to form, was a last-minute no-show, thus thwarting the cinetrix's hope for
some site-specific stalking teaching tips at long last.