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Waiting for Superman | 2010 | PG | - 1.2.3

Documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows the stories of four families as they go through the steps of escaping from their sub-par public school system by entering lotteries to attend magnet, charter and private schools. The commentary tract features Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee and Bill Strickland. [1:42]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A man explains that a group of people being held might have been charged with sexually abusing children and the case is pending investigation.
 A shirtless teenage boy is seen in the background of a playground.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 2 - During an interview, a boy mentions that his father had died and that he had been a "drug user," and the boy's grandmother remarks that her son had died. A man says most of the people he knows are either in jail or dead. A man explains that a teenage boy had captured video of a man dunking a teenager's head into a soiled toilet (we do not see the footage). A statistic describes how children in a neighborhood know more people who have gone to prison than college.
 We see video footage of a person jumping from a tall platform into a body of water while holding a large rocket; the rocket falls on top of the person as they crash into the water. We see video footage of a person riding a bike up a ramp and crashing into the wall of a building.
 A video game a boy is playing shows a two people rapidly punching a person in the face and chest. Black and white film footage of a school bus carrying children is seen driving down a hill, Superman stops the bus and points to the driver, who is slumped over the wheel, and says he was unable to steer the bus. Graffiti of a firing gun is seen on a brick wall. We see an animated cartoon woman lifting the top of animated children's heads and pouring liquid into them. We see an animated cartoon boy spitting a spitball onto the face of another animated child.


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LANGUAGE 3 - 2 sexual references, 3 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (stupider, menace).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A boy mentions that his father was a "drug user" but does not elaborate. We see black and white film footage of a man smoking a pipe.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - The public school system, education reform, teacher unions, "drop out factories," school drop out rates and reasons, unemployment, the Board of Education in America, school boards, "lemon dance" of trading bad teachers, employment and teacher tenure, loss of teaching credentials, political contributions.

MESSAGE - The education system in American needs to be reevaluated. Educating a child is a family affair.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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