Monday, October 1, 2012
The movie Won't Back Down makes a compelling case for accountability in our public schools. If schools aren't doing their job, why not turn the school over to a private company? It might be harsh, but schools exist for children after all. Don't we have a right to demand the best from our teachers?
In Illinois, teachers who receive two unsatisfactory evaluations within a 7 year period can have their teaching certificate pulled. This seems only fair. After all, accountability is the new trend in education reform.
Unfortunately, education reform took a major hit this past weekend, when despite a compelling message, Won't Back Down set a record for box office futility, with the second worst ever opening weekend for a movie opening on at least 2,500 screens. I thought the story was great, so I can only assume the problem was with the actors. Sure, we can find all sorts of other reasons why the movie had a less than stellar open, but it doesn't make any sense to start making excuses now.
For Viola Davis, this is very disappointing. She's been in several very successful movies lately, but that doesn't excuse movies like this one and her 2010 film Knight and Day.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is in familiar territory with this flop having made the disastrous 2006 movie Trust the Man. Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press said, "A lot more smug and a lot less insightful than writer-director Bart Freundlich apparently assumes, and it's burdened even more by its surfeit of unsympathetic characters."
Unfortunately, despite better work, as an education reform community I believe it's important that we look at actresses like Maggie and Viola who continue to make less than satisfying films in rapid succession. We need to call for accountability. I was just watching a documentary on TCM today on Spencer Tracy and practically every movie he made was a hit. We must have the same high standards for today's actors. I am calling for Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis to quit hiding behind their union and quit the movie business. There are a lot of people who would like to be movie stars and it's time we gave them a chance.
Update: As seen in the comment below, Won't Back Down dropped below The Rocker for worst opening since 1982