UPDATE: As of Thursday morning, the reviews keep coming in, most of them extremely critical. The rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 32% from all critics, 18% from top critics, which if it stands will make it one of the worst reviewed films of the year. However, the user reviews are just as influential, if not more, for many people in deciding which movies to go see on the opening weekend; which in turn determines how long theaters will keep it going. Students First, Michelle Rhee's group, is sending its staff people to write positive reviews; as Jersey Jazzman blogged about last night. I strongly encourage anyone who has seen the film to send in your review, whatever you thought of the film, even if its only a few short lines, to Rotten Tomatoes as well.
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….”
“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.”