Beyond The Bitch
by Caitlin Tegart
In comedies, women are often the girlfriend, the wife or the bitchy friend of the girlfriend or wife (Leslie Mann, God bless you, you’ve worn all the hats). But there was a time when women did some seriously kooky shit in movies and got the be the funny, flawed, active idiot all the guys get to play. So let’s take a look at these movies and aspire to reach their level of kookiness.
You’re really not talking kooky lady movies if you’re not talking about Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg has done some kooky shit in movies: owned the NY Knicks? Yep. Pretended to be an old white man so she can dominate Wall St? Of course. Faked psychic abilities only to find out she has real psychic abilities and makes out with a widow? Yes, obviously that is something Whoopi Goldberg would do in a movie. But if you’re talking kooky and you’re talking Whoopi, you’re talking Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, right? I mean, you’re not an idiot.
I feel bad for Sister Act, itself a fine kooky lady movie. Certainly, I yelled “Alma, check your battery,” for probably 20 months after seeing this movie. Yet Sister Act remains dwarfed in cinematic history by Back in the Habit which combines the lounge singer-turned nun formula and a teacher movie. A musical teacher movie. And then added three magic words “Introducing Lauryn Hill.”
Our beloved Sister Mary Clarence is asked by her former nun-buddies Mother Superior, Sister Mary Robert and Sister Mary Patrick (KATHY NAJIMY ALERT!) to teach at St. Francis High School in the mean streets of San Francisco. Whoopi never turns down a nun-related challenge, but Sister Mary Clarence’s music class ain’t tryin’ to hear that see? This class likes rap music and sitting backwards in chairs! The class, led by the sullen anti-singing Lauryn Hill also includes Jennifer Love Hewitt as “a moron” and City High’s Ryan Toby as the intellectual.
These San Francisco street kids think SMC is just gonna try to teach them music from a bool? LOL. She’s obviously gonna make you be a choir. That’s literally the only think Sister Mary Clarence does: turn a random bunch of no talents into a choir. It’s her thing.
And here’s another thing: St. Francis will be closed by the Arch Diocese for lack of funds and lack of winning the California Choir Competition. I think. Anyway, Sister Mary Clarence enters the choir into the competition, but first they have to perform for their own school. Is it a success? You tell me when you the hairs on your arm raise when Ryan Toby hits that high in “Oh Happy Day.”
Look I can’t tell you how to watch kooky lady movies, but when you wake in the morning and all you can think about is watching kookly lady movies, then you’re a kooky lady watcher.
Caitlin Tegart is a comedian, writer and director often sighted at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre and CaitlinTegart.com.