Movies are great. They cover, well, everything. From the human condition to life as a fly, from monsters and mayhem to sex and seduction; movies have it all. Something that struck my interest lately was different profession that crop up on film. Everyone knows about the spies and the evil scientists, but I got to thinking about something a little more obscure. Dentists.
I’ve always had a fascination with teeth (the real ones in your mouth, not the odd comedy-horror from 2007). I even looked into the best dental programmes and how to join them. Ultimately, however, I ended up watching dentists more than becoming one. Which is a shame as you can make a lot more money being one than watching them.
All the same, here are my top five on-screen dentists.
- Marathon Man, 1976
Directed by John Schlesinger. Adapted from a book by William Golding. Starring Laurence Olivier as a Nazi dentist. What could possibly go wrong? Never before had anyone thought to use a cavity as a torture device. And I’m still asking myself, ‘Is it safe?’
- Little Shop of Horrors, 1986.
Directed by Frank Oz and adapted from a Broadway musical, this cult classic stars Steve Martin as the sadistic, deranged dentist, Orin Scrivello. He likes to indulge on laughing gas and has a penchant for motorbikes and beating on his girl. Unfortunately (or maybe it’s fortunately), this dentists has a rather more ‘earthy’ ending. But I won’t ‘soil’ it for you.
- Ghost Town, 2008.
Ricky Gervais wouldn’t be my favourite comic of all time (that privilege goes to Bill Hicks) but he’s certainly one of my favourite dentists. Directed by David Koepp, Ricky’s character Frank is a misanthropic dentist who has a near-death experience mid-colonoscopy. Since then, he can talk to dead people. Yep, it’s one of those kind of movies.
- Finding Nemo, 2003.
The breakout movie of 2003, Nemo was a massive success for Pixar. But was I the only one shivering every time we entered that creepy dentist’s office? If it wasn’t the kid with ridiculous braces, it was the chair, or the paraphernalia. Something in the way all that polished steel glistens in the sunlight just set my heart racing. After all, isn’t every kid afraid of the dentist at some point or another?
- The Secret Lives of Dentists, 2002.
Do you ever feel like dentists simply must have the best lives? I mean, all they do is yank out the odd tooth or fill in a small hole, and then charge you a gazillion bucks for it. Surely they have it all down to a tee, they get life, right? Well, if you want to see what dentists are like when the antiseptic gloves come off and the gas mask is pulled down, watch The Secret Lives of Dentists. Find out what’s really going on behind the idyllic scenes. You’ll also get a pretty decent view of what it’s like in the office, too, so, you know, bonus points.