News Clip: A Quick Primer on Two Upcoming Gyllenhaal Releases

For days, I have been trying to condense the following into a tweet, but I can’t manage to do it. Apologies are in order, too, for it’s not exactly breaking news.

But as you may have noticed, the siblings Gyllenhaal each have a film coming out at the end of the month, just a week apart. First, Jake plays a cocky young LAPD officer who becomes the target of a drug cartel/gang in End of Watch (David Ayer, 2012), and poor single mom Maggie teams up with stoic teacher Viola Davis to found an inner city charter school in Won’t Back Down (Daniel Barnz, 2012)—at least that’s what I think they’re doing to fight the education system that’s failing their kids.

The point is, I can’t help thinking that, though the stories are worlds apart, both of the ridiculous-sounding movie titles are at least somewhat interchangeable. In other words, Jake Gyllenhaal and on-screen partner Michael Peña may as well perform in a movie called Won’t Back Down. After all, the phrase is fit for an actioner, and it does bear a striking resemblance to the mixed martial arts flick for the Step Up set, Never Back Down (Jeff Wadlow, 2008.) End of Watch, on the other hand, is so esoteric as to be vague. Since the fighting mantra “Won’t Back Down” does the mothers-fed-up-with-the-school-system storyline no favors, why not call it End of Watch? As in, “Not on my watch!” The effect won’t be much changed.

Neither one of these films interests me enough to entice me to the theater. Especially End of Watch. Haven’t we seen that one before? When I think of the features that it most recalls, Harsh Times (2005) and Training Day (2001), I realize they were also written (and in the case of the former, directed) by David Ayer. Won’t Back Down is rather simply an inspirational uplift movie I can wait to see on DVD.

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