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#1365884 --- 09/26/12 06:59 PM Won't Back Down
twocats Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 11904
Loc: NYS

Today there have been many scathing reviews of the new “parent tricker” film “Won’t Back Down” consistent with my view, that it is an extremely poorly made film as well as shameless propaganda.  

Hopefully the huge promotional push by privateer astroturf organizations like DFER and Students First, and the shameless publicity provided by MSNBC/NBC Education Nation won’t be able to overcome these terrible reviews (and bad word of mouth as well).  

As of 5;30 pm today, it is getting a 18% “Splat” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 11% from top critics, meaning  eight out of nine reviews are bad..  If you’ve seen the film, please add your User review on that website as well.  Here are some excerpts from the critics: 

AP review “Fails to make the grade”:  “Theaters should install glow-in-the-dark versions of those old clunking classroom clocks so viewers can count the agonizing minutes ticking by as they watch the movie.”

NPR review:  “Too-Easy Way Out””  "something less honorable...propaganda piece with blame on its mind." 

Hollywood Reporter review:   “pedestrian & insultingly tendentious…condescending... dumbed-down agenda film… Given the disingenuous way in which this lumbering movie pushes obvious buttons and manipulates the audience’s emotional investment while conveniently skimming the issues, it’s a mystery how some of these names got roped in.”

Variety review: "disingenuous pot-stirrer...taking public for dummies...cardboard characterizations..."
My favorite?  The Salon review, headlined “Won't Back Down" is an offensive, lame, union-bashing drama”:
“ …the movie is unbelievable crap and the whole project was financed by conservative Christian billionaire Phil Anschutz, also the moneybags behind the documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” …“simpering, pseudo-inspirational pap, constructed with painful awkwardness and disconnected from any narrative plausibility or social reality…. script that has that disconnected, amateurish quality distinctive to conservative-oriented entertainment and plays written by fourth-graders…. a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product. Someone needs to launch an investigation into what combination of crimes, dares, alcoholic binges and lapses in judgment got Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal into this movie….”

The only somewhat mixed review so far is from Rex Reed in the NY Observer: 

“As a message picture, its heart is in the right place. Too bad it doesn’t always manage to rise above a swirl of predictable Hollywood clichés.”
Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

#1365902 --- 09/26/12 08:53 PM Re: Won't Back Down [Re: twocats]
Teonan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/30/12
Posts: 4810
Loc: West End

Appreciate the heads up. Here's an excerpt from a review appearing in The Nation.

Bad Lessons From 'Won't Back Down'

Dana Goldstein
September 26, 2012

"Indeed, like Waiting for “Superman,” the last school reform film financed by Walden Media, which is owned by conservative entrepreneur Phil Anschutz, Won’t Back Down depicts urban poverty in deceptive ways—not only as less exhausting than it really is but also as less deep-seated. When one police officer mom warns the reformers that a school takeover can’t solve the neighborhood’s underlying problems, like gangs and drugs, Nona intones, “You change a school, you change a neighborhood.” This claim is misleading. As an education reporter, I’ve visited many urban schools that are beacons of hope in troubled neighborhoods, but no school can find decent jobs for under- or unemployed parents who can’t put nutritious food on the table; nor can a school make up for the chronic instability of a young life spent in foster care or moving from apartment to apartment in a futile quest for safe, affordable housing. Volumes of research show such experiences affect cognitive development and children’s ability to focus in school; dedicated educators and counselors work wonders with such children each day, but they don’t rescue neighborhoods from poverty."

Article here:
"Everything that has ever happened to us is there to make us stronger."
-John Trudell

#1366961 --- 10/02/12 04:03 PM Re: Won't Back Down [Re: Teonan]
twocats Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 11904
Loc: NYS
This made my day! \:\)

‘Won’t Back Down’ gets taken down, sets worst-opening record
By Meriah Doty | Movie Talk – 1 hour 51 minutes ago

(Photo: 20th Century Fox)
Even an Oscar-caliber leading cast couldn't save this one. Maggie Gyllenhaal's latest film "Won't Back Down," also starring Viola Davis and Holly Hunter, set the record this past weekend for the worst opening of a film that appeared in more than 2,500 theaters, making a mere $2.6 million [via Box Office Mojo].
Yes, all three of these former Oscar nominees -- Hunter having won a golden statuette in 1994 for "The Piano" -- now have a pretty bad blemish on their resume. But they aren't to blame, say industry watchers, who are reacting to the film with a resounding face palm. "'Won't Back Down' wore the dunce cap last weekend, mostly because its marketing was almost non-existent," says Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations.
[Yahoo! OMG: Get the latest photos and news on Maggie Gyllenhaal]
Based on a true story about a single mother bent on improving her child's inner city school, "Won't Back Down" "beat" the Rainn Wilson comedy "The Rocker," which had held the dubious title of worst opening in 2,500+ theaters for about four years running. Incidentally, the film that holds the record for worst wide release opening in more than 3,000 theaters is 2006 Luke Wilson family comedy "Hoot." (Apparently nobody gave one.)
When it comes to "Won't Back Down," Bock further points out that "Most people didn't even know what the film was about -- Is this another Steven Seagal movie that I somehow missed? -- or that it was even being released in theaters."
It probably didn't help that critics weren't too hot on it either: It got a very weak 34 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an even weaker 18 percent rating from the site's designated top critics.
And if you try to place blame on the film's message-y theme that promotes the ideals of charter school education -- one that even drew protests at the Democratic National Convention -- think again, says film industry analyst Len Klady. "You have to be creative about selling this type of material," he says, adding, "'Stand and Deliver,' 'Mr. Holland's Opus' [and] 'Lean On Me' all had to sell stories about schools in trouble and did. My feeling is that the studio tested it and decided it was too difficult to sell this particular film."
[Related: The next host of the Oscars is... Seth MacFarlane?]
Indeed, Bock adds, "Here's a little 'Teacher Drama' 101 for you -- without a cast of young urban students and a hit R&B song backing you, you might as well be making a movie for the Hallmark Channel."
Klady also points out that Fox, the film's distributor, didn't have much at stake because the film was financed by Walden Media -- the same company behind the 2010 documentary that was essentially an indictment on the U.S. education system,"Waiting for Superman." "This is just a case where the film never should have received a wide release, and honestly would have been better served at Fox's indie shingle, Fox Searchlight," adds Bock.
"Won't Back Down" was never tracking well, according to Klady, who says that even with the "insurance" of its big stars, "film-goers don't want to see a film because it's GOOD for them and this film was both 'good' and 'important'... and sincere."
One bright note: "Won't Back Down" made significantly more money than "Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure." That ill-fated kid flick holds the record for worst opening in 2,000+ theaters, and only brought in a measly $444 thousand when it came out in late August this year.
Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

#1367026 --- 10/03/12 07:59 AM Re: Won't Back Down [Re: twocats]
Josephus Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 11561
Loc: NYS
Originally Posted By: twocats

“Theaters should install glow-in-the-dark versions of those old clunking classroom clocks so viewers can count the agonizing minutes ticking by as they watch the movie.”

WOW! What a scathing review! I actually contemplated on seeing this film, but for once paid attention to the critics. When Roger Ebert and Rotten Tomatoes get together on an idea, it's time to listen up! ;\)

Instead, I watched "End of Watch", which I thought was a great cop drama set in South Central LA. Go see that one instead. Or, see "Trouble with the Curve", which I also thought was good.
I don't want my country back... I want my country forward!