Won’t Back Fug


I have so many thoughts about Maggie Gyllenhaal’s new movie Won’t Back Down, and maybe one about her outfit for its premiere:

Namely: who greenlit this movie? I’m sure it’s a very worthy subject, but who in their right minds thinks anyone is going to get a babysitter and pay $12 a ticket to see Maggie Gyllenhaal in a movie about charter schools? Let me run down the problems there for you:

  1. that is a TV movie. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis Start A Charter School, Fight The Power, And Teach Kids to Read has Sunday Night TV Movie written ALL OVER IT. And “major theatrical release” written all over none of it.
  2. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a good actress, but she can not anchor a movie, especially one that is already about a subject that a huge portion of the movie-going public is going to find theoretically boring, and the other portion of the movie-going public has already seen tackled in far more powerful style in Waiting For Superman. Literally NO ONE in the history of EVER is going to say, “let’s go see that new Maggie Gyllenhaal movie about school districts where she screams about illiteracy for two hours”  Sandra Bullock could anchor that movie.  That’s about it.
  3. “BEING POOR SUCKS AND MY KID CAN’T READ” is the most memorable line from the trailer and that sound you hear is the rest of America saying, “uh, NO SHIT. If I’m going to pay to see a Gyllenhaal watch shit get real this weekend, it’s going to be Jake in End of Watch, because it’s supposed to be great AND there might be a car chase. I get enough poverty and homework during the week.”
  4. She might realize all this, which is why she’s wearing her nightgown to the premiere.
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Comments (65):

  1. Elizabeth Gorman
    0

    The Harvey Dent Nightie Collection! My first thought on seeing this dress.

    • Jessica
      0

      Well played! Apt, since she was in that particular Batman, too.

    • Squirrel!
      0

      I love it when other members of Fug Nation read my thoughts….

      I do like the rose shade on her, and I don’t hate the dress, particularly given Maggie’s usual looks. Not a fan of the footwear — flip-flops??

      • Squirrel!
        0

        (The “thought-reading” comment was in response to the Harvey Dent Nightie Collection comment.)

      • Art Eclectic
        0

        Yes! That dusky rose as a full dress would have been great with her coloring.

  2. Gine
    0

    The first time I saw the trailer, I thought for sure it would end with “Coming this fall on Lifetime. So, yeah.

    Also: why is it (apparently) so hard for celebrities to find shoes that fit?

  3. courtney
    0

    well worth the wait

  4. Billie
    0

    Eh, I think this is pretty good…for Maggie. I’m definitely grading on a curve here, but this looks relatively sleek and modern. It’s one of those rare times she doesn’t look like she smells of mothballs and Aspercreme, so I’m inclined to give her a thumbs up.

    • glee
      0

      I am totally with Billie. This is one of the better looks for her – please add another upturned thumb to the count.

      • Other Emily
        0

        Yeah, I’m in on this, too, but ONLY for Maggie. She usually looks almost completely terrible, so pretty face and strange-but-not-hideous dress is only a minor fug. The movie looks ridiculous. No I will not go see that.

        • pantsonfire
          0

          Agreed. I saw this a couple days ago, and kept staring at it, wondering if I actually did like it. And I do.

        • pidget
          0

          I am jumping on this train, as well. It’s weird, but it’s HER. The rose colour is delicious on her, and the flowy oddity and thongs suit her laid-back-ness. She owns this, and looks completely comfy and happy, and like she could actually carry on a conversation if you asked a question or two. I like that she sticks to her style guns and isn’t equating dress-up and uncomfortable.

          Why can’t we have different drummers?

    • Kit
      0

      Yup. For Mags, this is great.

  5. kathotdog
    0

    Here is a really long article about who made this movie: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/wont-back-down-film-pushe_b_1897278.html

  6. Louise
    0

    I like the dress. Not a fan of the thong shoe. When I saw the commercial for this movie, I thought surely this was going to be a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV presentation.

  7. TonyG
    0

    Jessica, this post is the bomb!

  8. Paz
    0

    WHY oh WHY does she not ever wear a bra!!!!!

    • Wendy
      0

      Excellent question! I do think this is not bad for her.

      I will definitely be avoiding this movie at all costs, much the same way I have avoided seein The Blind Side. Even though I do think Viola Davis is great, I don’t like movies that preach at me. Also, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s acting annoys the crap out of me (except in Away We Go and I think she was pretty much playing herself in that, or at least something close to my impression of her, so she nailed it).

      • Kat
        0

        I liked her in Mona Lisa Smile, but otherwise, I agree with you. Annoying acting is the name of her game.

        • Anu
          0

          With the not-jake gyllenhaal I feel like she dresses like the actor she believes she is – so good that she can wear anything she wants and pull it off in the glow of her intense performance. NO. JUST NO. Meryl Streep you are not MG. Maybe if she didn’t try so hard and tried a little harder with the clothing she’d be more tolerable.

          As for the movie, if i had to choose between a root canal and some screeching self righteousness, I’d pick the root canal.

  9. val.
    0

    This is a decent look for her.

    But what is going on with the little train on the back of this dress? What IS that?

  10. Kara
    0

    Literally NO ONE in the history of EVER is going to say, “let’s go see that new Maggie Gyllenhaal movie about school districts where she screams about illiteracy for two hours”
    I just fell out laughing at this, for real. And: totally true. You should see End of Watch. There are indeed car chases and the chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as partners and best friends is terrific.

    Re: the clothes, I thought this was a jumpsuit at first and almost cried, but then I realized it wasn’t. But as a dress, it’s not much better, and is she wearing flip-flops? To a premiere?

  11. lilywise
    0

    I think she knew she was going to have to stand next to VIola Davis — who looked A-MAZE-ING at this premiere — and decided not to bother with tailoring, cute shoes, wearing a bra, or any other things normal people do to dress up and look nice. And … if I had to stand next to Viola Davis, I might come to the same conclusion. That woman is gorgeous.

  12. Erika
    0

    You mean it’s not about Tom Petty? Because I’d pay to see that.

  13. A.J.
    0

    ” I get enough poverty and homework during the week” – I laughed so hard about this. So true! I don’t want to pay my little bit of extra money to go see a movie that makes me think about my problems, I’m trying to escape that! That’s why I’m at the MOVIES!

  14. anonymoose
    0

    Ah, Maggie. From the fingers and collarbone up, she looks great. The splayed toes make me squirm!

    And the nightie…is it molting?

  15. amys
    0

    Her makeup looks pretty. What is poking out of the front of her negligee?

    • nichole
      0

      I wondered the same thing too. On close up, it’s a weird turning of the ruffle down the front of the dress.

  16. Ellelake
    0

    Love Maggie, love her acting and think she’s beautiful. Ditto Viola. The dress is good, the flip flops gotta go.

  17. Sajorina
    0

    Loved the rant!!! I couldn’t agree more… Even though this movie has great actors in it, it is definitely a TV movie and one I wouldn’t even see while sitting comfortably in my reclining chair at home! I’m sorry, I know that poverty & illiteracy are huge problems and I’m all for women power and making a change, but I much rather go see Jake’s film, honestly, because at least it’s got some action and JAKE in it!

    This outfit doesn’t bother me really, except for the short train, but it doesn’t say movie premiere to me as much as “Sunset Cocktail Hour & Buffet Dinner Al Fresco”!

  18. e
    0

    PEEPS this is a freaking expensive Lanvin dress? FTW? It’s ok and yes better than her usual look.

  19. anna
    0

    obviously none of you get maggie. and while i agree about the content for this particular film, if you think she can’t anchor a movie you obviously don’t get movies, either. maggie does phenomenal work, she has an astonishing face and she doesn’t have to wear a bra and heels if she doesn’t want to. i think she looks gorgeous and like herself and also like a REAL HUMAN BEING. ugh.

    • jenny
      0

      I’ll back Anna on this one. The merits of this particular movie aside, she’s lovely and has her own look.

    • Jessica
      0

      And yet she has never opened a movie. That’s okay. Plenty of actors making a living as character actors. But this is a movie that will never make money without a big name attached.

      • Sajorina
        0

        Well, she is the lead actress in 2002′s “Secretary”, in which she did an amazing job! She really is a very talented actress and a beautiful woman!

        • Heather
          0

          Yes, but leading an indie is very different than opening a major movie, which is what Jessica was getting at here I think.

    • Lindy
      0

      Anna, I don’t think you understand the concept of opening a movie. Opening a movie doesn’t mean “anchoring it” or being the lead; it means the force of the actor’s personality and likability translates into butts in theater seats. Sadly, Maggie Gyllenhaal cannot open a movie.

  20. janine jackson
    0

    yeah, everyone’ who’s anyone is bored with poverty. since we know you’re about frilly crap that doesn’t matter, it’s probably best not to even mention “real world” (= BORing) shit so we don’t think about that too hard. DRESSES! YEAH!.

    • Emma
      0

      Actually, I think the point the Fug Girls are making is not that people are “bored with poverty,” but that the American public doesn’t really need obscenely wealthy Hollywood actors to PRETEND to be poor in order to tell them what they already know.

      And surely the mission of GFY is to combat the global epidemic of “frilly crap?”

  21. Sbeetle
    0

    I was sent no less than four invitations to screen this for free. I still wouldn’t go.

  22. Arlene
    0

    Wow, no love for Maggie. Have you seen her in Secretary? I believe she can open a movie, just not mainstream crap because she’s not your typical mainstream actress. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Heather
      0

      But I think you’re maybe missing the point here, out of fondness for Maggie. Jessica didn’t say she doesn’t think Maggie Gyllenhaal is talented, nor did she say Maggie Gyllenhall can’t CARRY a movie. She just said Maggie Gyllenhaal isn’t someone who has ever opened a big-budget movie — meaning, as the lead actress, she hasn’t brought people out to the theaters in droves just because they will see her in anything. I think she is correct that Sandra Bullock IS, at the moment, one of those actresses. Or at least maybe she was before Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. And this is the kind of movie that’s really risky unless you manage to cast that actress everyone is clamoring to see — like, I don’t know, whoever the thirty-something Emma Stone is now. I don’t even know if we have one.

      Anyway, that’s the gist. It’s not a knock on Maggie as an actress.

  23. Lucy
    0

    I read Go Fug often, but this post was just nasty. Two great actresses making a film about a worthy subject: oh no! And a star who looks relaxed and happy in a simple dress: that must be slammed! No need to be so catty.

    • Arlene
      0

      Right on, Cathy. Yesterday, they were making a point about not making body-shaming comments here, which I agree with. But this column was a real slam and, somehow, that’s ok. Seems a little disingenuous to me. I love this site, it’s full of snarky fun, but the self-righteous tone I heard yesterday is out of sync with what I hear today.

      • Jessica
        0

        I assure you, we have been making tons of snarky bitchy comments about movies for eight years. If you think this is mean, you clearly haven’t read the archives because MAN have we mellowed over the years. Like, A LOT.

        There is a huge different between mocking people’s bodies and saying the movie they’re starring in is better suited for Lifetime and looks terrible.

      • Emma
        0

        “Right on?” Have we stepped through a wormhole into 1975? ;)

        I don’t understand why people think we owe celebrities respect. We’re not required to adore films about worthy subjects just because they’re about worthy subjects; nor are we obliged to commend the expensive and ridiculous fashion choices famous people make just because they’re making films about worthy subjects. The dress is ugly and unflattering.

  24. Arlene
    0

    Whoops, I meant Lucy (not Cathy).

  25. Heather
    0

    I posted something above, but I’d like to repeat: The post wasn’t a knock on Maggie’s acting skills, nor any of her previous roles. It’s just stating that Maggie Gyllenhaal, at the moment, is not an actress who brings people out of the theaters in droves to watch whatever she’s in, no matter what it is. Katherine Heigl used to be that actress. Sandra Bullock has been that kind of Emma Stone may yet be. But I think Jessica is correct that this is a movie that’s not going to get people off their couches unless you strike gold with the casting, and put someone in it who is SO major and popular that they make people fork over $14 for a ticket. That Maggie isn’t that actress at the moment isn’t a knock on her — she’s never tried to be that actress. Which makes her all the more curious a choice for a movie that might be really good, and might be important and have a lot to say, but needs a little extra help right now getting people to want to see it when we’re all so bummed out about the state of the world.

  26. Liz
    0

    I think you’re being too hard on Maggie’s movie. There’s a huge group of parents going from my daughter’s school.

  27. marie
    0

    thoughts on the dress: i love it on Maggie. TLO used to call her someone who smells like nursing pee so this is an improvement..and i do love the sandals..almost no one ever wears flat sandals anymore so kudos to her for going that route..also a plus that she really looks comfortable..i’d rather look like her than some startlet wearing platform shoes with the veins in their feet close to bulging..i dont really have any opinion about the movie, just that may I just give big props to H and J for not posting any snarky comments everytime there is a commenter who doesnt agree on their comments?i’ve been to a lot of sites where bloggers would often jump on the commenter once they disagree with their views..may the democracy on this site long continue!

  28. Eurydice
    0

    I don’t have a problem with her feeling relaxed and comfortable, but it seems a shame to pay a pantload of money for something that doesn’t fit properly. And the thing is that her feet don’t look relaxed and comfortable – they look like there’s something wrong with her shoes.

  29. ok
    0

    Who knew Maggie Gyllenhaal had a ‘little monsters’-style following that can’t take mild criticism or a few sober facts about the object of their adoration?

  30. Lindsay
    0

    I can’t wait to see the movie! Maybe I’m just really out of sync with the rest of moviegoing America, but my mom and I have had it on our calendars for awhile!

  31. lucy
    0

    Thanks Arlene, I agree. And to respond to ok (the last comment), I have no particular affection for Maggie Gyllenhaal over any other talented actress. It has nothing to do with not being able to “take mild criticism”. It’s just a few Go Fug readers expressing their dislike of one post. The internet is full of snarky, nasty and unnecessary comments. We don’t need more of it. If I wanted that, I would head to the YouTube comment section, not this site. Witty critiques are great (and this site usually does really well at that), unfunny bitchiness is not. Your comment illustrates the very problem: a few people politely express their dislike of the post and you mock them and make bizarre assumptions about them.

    • Jessica
      0

      Okay-dokey. Let’s all just step back from the post for a while, shall we? I think everyone — including me — has made their point.

      Thanks!

  32. Shiitake
    0

    This appears to be a fairly typical red carpet choice for Maggie Gyllenhaal, and her makeup is better than usual.

    This is an election where too many politicians are using their open mic to attack teachers and schools, or pointedly not talk about public education. Any media that places the subject in the glare of the klieg lights is an opportunity for thoughtful discussion, not derision. .

  33. Helen
    0

    The bralessness, here, is fine with me. I don’t think her perky little boobs need one, except, you know, THINK OF THE FUTURE!, and this is a modest cut.

    But the dress doesn’t really fit her. The ruffle’s doing that weird thing in the middle of her tummy, and overall I think it’s just too big. It’s hard to say, maybe I could go along with the two-tone if it had been tailored well. Probably not, but maybe.

    And seriously, it is NOT that hard to find shoes for wide feet. I have them, too (6EE/EEE, depending on maker), and bunions, which Maggie doesn’t have that I can see, and Zappo’s has served me very well over many years. If I can manage it, surely she can.

    Well, you can always count on her! She’ll mess it up quite reliably, but in ways that are at least interesting. And to end on a positive, other than the ill-fitting shoes, I love the styling. Hair, makeup, jewelry, I think all of that looks great.

  34. Jessica
    0

    Let’s everyone calm down in here, please.

  35. erin
    0

    An outfit related comment:
    A few years ago I watched this obscure movie starring Chloe Sevigny called “Lying”. There is a scene where Chloe has on pants where the left side of each pant leg is one color and the right side of each pant leg is another color. She explains that when you see her walking from one direction they look one color and from the other direction they are another color. They were fug. I can’t remember if the movie was enjoyably odd or less than stellar, but I do remember the scene with those pants. This is like the dress version of those pants.

  36. Meg
    0

    The dress is a mirror of the movie the pink half of the dress loves kids but the black half hates public school teachers (or does the black half love kids and the pink half hate public school teachers?!?), and her facial expression says she just realized the message of the movie is anti teachers and anti public schools.

  37. Lily1214
    0

    The flip-flops make me think she’s actually going to sit poolside in this swimsuit coverup.

  38. TJ
    0

    I am a teacher and wouldn’t see that movie in a theatre!