It's a new film starring Maggie Gyllenhaal about how teachers unions are the biggest monsters in America and the only solution is to privatize our schools and hire untrained scab labor.
“Won’t Back Down”: Why do teachers’ unions hate America? - Salon.com
So teachers’ unions don’t care about kids. Oh, and luck is a foxy lady. This is what I took away from the inept and bizarre “Won’t Back Down,” 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. Neither of them seems likely to sympathize with its thinly veiled labor-bashing agenda and, way more to the point, I thought they had better taste. Maybe it was that actor-y thing where they saw potential in their characters – a feisty, working-class single mom for Gyllenhaal, a sober middle-class schoolteacher for Davis – liked the idea of working together and didn’t think too much about the big picture.
Perhaps that was a mistake, because the big picture is that 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,’” which handled a similar agenda in subtler fashion. Even though I personally find the politics of “Won’t Back Down” noxious — and the film seems half-seriously meant to launch some sort of activism, on behalf of whom or what I don’t know — that’s only a small part of the problem. (The politics of “The Dark Knight Rises,” however you want to describe or define them, are probably noxious too.) There’s so much human drama in and around the charter-school movement that it should be easy to tell a powerful story, from almost any perspective you like. Nothing’s off limits in a dramatic context, of course, and given the enormous crap-storm that is American public education, there’s more than enough blame to go around. Let me add that as a known New York City home-schooling weirdo, I hold ambivalent views about the oversize role played in the city’s education battles by its teachers’ union and its longtime head, the fearsome Randi Weingarten. (There’s a Weingarten-like union head played by Holly Hunter in this movie, with Appalachian hard-ass attitude substituting for New York Jewish hard-ass attitude.)
So if you want to make a potent, mean-spirited drama about the failures of unionized schoolteachers and inept education bureaucrats, I say bring the noise.
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