Disney/Miramax Criticized for Teen Film

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Parents from around the nation are protesting Disney/Miramax's latest film, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, for its portrayal of a group of high school students who kidnap and torture a high school teacher.

The film, released on August 20 by Dimension Films, a subsidiary of Miramax (which is owned by Disney), was originally titled Killing Mrs. Tingle. After the school shootings at Columbine high school, the film was retitled and the ending was reshot. But that hasn't stopped many observers for criticizing the film's producers for releasing it.

"It's an irresponsible movie," Michael Medved, a former New York Post film critic and radio talks how host, told CNSNews.com. "It celebrates cheating, promiscuous sex, drinking, and acting out violence against teachers."

However, Medved said that he didn't think that the movie, which has been a disappointment at the box office, was performing poorly because it hit too close to home after the Columbine school shootings, but because "quite simply, it's a bad movie."

However, the father of a student killed at Columbine has drawn a direct line from the school shootings to the movie's violent portrayals.

"Just about the time we think we've pushed the envelope we push it a little further," said Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Joy Scott, one of the 12 students killed at Columbine, in a statement to reporters. "I'm just amazed at how we've taken God away from our kids in school and filled it with violence at school and in movies and with video games."

Susan Clarius, a mother from Alexandria, La., led a protest of the film in her area, forcing many theaters to drop its scheduled run.

"I've never done anything like this," said Clarius in an interview with CNSNews.com. "But after Columbine, I just thought, 'How could they release a movie like this?'"

Clarius said that she continued to call movie theater managers and theater companies until the film was cancelled.

"Parents have to stand up and say that enough is enough, that we don't want our kids watching this sort of stuff."

Teaching Mrs. Tingle features three high school students who kidnap and torture one of their teachers after she discovers a copy of a test in one of the characters' backpacks. Written and directed by popular teen film screenwriter Kevin Williamson (Scream, Scream II, I Know What You Did Last Summer), the film is described by Dimension as "a wicked new film."

Andrew Stengel, a spokesperson for Miramax films, did not return repeated calls from CNSNews.com.

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