So…Won’t Back Down set a record for the WORST film opening…ever. It took in about 2.6 million dollars, which in film receipts is like a chicken wing and a grape soda, max.
I am not going to say that this occurred because the film is propagandist because of course all art is propaganda, even when that is not the “intent” of the artist. I’ve preached time and time again about how artist intent gets filed under “things very few people give a damn about.” (I previously wrote a post titled All Art Is Not Good….All Artists Are Not Noble on my photography blog.)
As W.E.B. DuBois wrote:
All art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy. I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda. But I do care when propaganda is confined to one side while the other is stripped and silent.
This propagandist film to support those who feel that anti-union or privatization of education is the magic answer that will save minority children apparently didn’t peak the interests of film goers. Destroying public schools from K-12 and undermining community colleges and state 4 year colleges, while replacing them with proprietary colleges that cost more than Harvard with often substandard education, is a systematic, methodical plan for creating and maintaining a permanent, undereducated, low paid, non sociopolitically active/minded workforce. This is why the liberal arts within colleges are always under attack. As Salon writer Katie Billotte wrote:
This war on the liberal arts is born from the same desire that produces voter ID laws: a desire to limit democratic participation. The goal of a liberal arts education was never primarily direct economic benefit for the recipient or even the sort of personal/spiritual development about which many like to wax lyrically. The purpose of a liberal arts education was always meant to be a political education.
Now, I like Viola Davis as an actress, although her late night interviews (i.e. Leno, Letterman) make me very uncomfortable. She does not seem comfortable with herself as a person, and this hurts me. Certainly, I don’t personally wish her any harm. And, I think she is beautiful, especially when she wears her natural hair. Natural hair takes at least 10 years off of her and she glows.
However, I am laughing at this film not doing well (not at the seriousness of the education problem, of course…just the film). I don’t like the premise. I don’t like what these anti-union privatization czars in real life are up to because what they say and what the result actually is has a chasm as large as the Great Wall. I don’t like oversimiplification of complex socioeconomic and education issues. And ultimately, the market has spoken. The capitalist system that these folks love has spoken with a resounding hellz naw; people do not want to see this film, apparently.
Link: The Miseducation of Viola Davis (the title sounds harsh but important critique to consider in regards to her roles and this film).