Coming Soon, to a Theater Near You
I caught these films at a recent screening in an abandoned warehouse, or some other undisclosed location. Here are this season’s offerings and my impression of them:
A brash newcomer with little practical experience but plenty of mettle (Michelle Rhee) is abruptly promoted to a position of authority in D.C. Schools. She wastes no time in converting this authority into a bully pulpit, yielding mixed results. The movie has no heart. There is no evidence of growth taking place within the protagonist–she’s just not a very sympathetic character, and the portrayal simply failed to show her humanity. The film’s denouement lacked polish. I didn’t buy the formulaic ending of her resignation and found the postscript in which we are told she establishes a Twitter account a cheap, gimmicky wink at modern self-promotional techniques. I was further annoyed by the soundtrack’s persistent use of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”.
A computer geek/businessman (Bill Gates) seeks to change the nation’s school system using his nearly unlimited funds and his limited understanding of education and educators in this would-be comedy. He bumbles through one PR opportunity after another, straight-facedly portraying himself as an expert. Hilarity might ensue if our hero were capable of demonstrating some humility. The only remotely funny moments involved rude body noises.
A driven and idealistic man (Geoffrey Canada) establishes a promising model for educating and empowering marginalized communities. Oddly, rather than using his success as a means to instruct others in achieving similar results, he transforms into a cranky, rhetoric-spewing naysayer. I went in hoping for an uplifting entry but ultimately found it depressing.
Invasion of the School Snatchers
An unsettling science-fiction tinged film in which public schools begin to disappear leaving behind commotion and disruption in communities. The disappearances begin mostly in struggling inner-city neighborhoods and are largely ignored at first. The disappearances gradually increase, drawing additional attention from citizens, but newspapers do not present the whole story, adding to the mystery and confusion. Eventually, the public begins to realize that no school is truly safe from the bell-curve-shaped menaces. But when they do, will it be too late to stop the Snatchers?
I’m not sure I would wholeheartedly recommend any of these selections but urge you to judge for yourselves and enjoy the rest of your weekends. Popcorn, anyone?