Michael Moore is working on a film about the banking crisis (sound effect: expensive pants shat). If you work in the biz he could use your input.
I will admit that some of Moore’s appeal comes from the same perverse feeling that drives wingnuts to idolize anyone who pisses off liberals, no matter how nutty. That said, Michael Moore is just not that nutty. The wiretapping abuses, torture and insane ideological failure of everything from Iraq reconstruction to the DoJ that have come out since the premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11 make that film look if anything restrained and understated. Major media figures who picked accuracy fights over details in Sicko usually lost. Kvetch about his tone all you want, but it is hard to describe Moore’s attitude towards recent targets as unfair.
Yeah but he IS fat.
@matt: Tunch fat.
The only complaint I have about Moore is that he invariably goes over the top to some extent which makes his work easier to attack. For example in F. 9/11 by representing Iraq as some peaceful paradise.
If it weren’t for the meaningless grandstanding (floating folks to Guantanamo in Sicko) and occasional complete lack of taste (showing various Bush officials pressing flesh with folks who were apparently arab without identifying them) I’d have no problem with Moore. His movies are best when he identifies small stories about people caught up somewhere at the end of a national or global story that’s hard to get your head around. Roger & Me was almost entirely like this because he had no access to anything larger, Bowling for Columbine (outside of the scenes where he bugs old men) was mostly like this because of the subject matter, F:9/11 had a broader scope but was more restrained because Moore does have some sensibility, and Sicko was best when it avoided trips to Cuba. In Sicko, Moore accomplished the same with the section on a French couple without being ridiculous.
I’m with Napoleon. The one that sticks out to me was in Bowling for Columbine. I have a visceral aversion to guns, would actually really advocate for a Constitutional amendment to the second amendment (if for no other reason than it really makes no damn sense.) But even I thought it was a bit of a stretch to blame Dick Clark for a kid taking his uncle’s handgun to school and shooting another student. It had something to do with how the mom, who had been put in a welfare-to-work program, now worked at a Dick Clark chain restaurant and at a candy shop in the mall, "making fudge….for rich people." Anyway, kind of a stretch.
To refine that point a bit, sometimes things are more powerful standing on their own and speaking for themselves than they are with Michael Moore yelling them into a bullhorn and beating you with a baseball bat. That story could have been told much better if he had just let the mom tell her story instead of showing him literally running after Dick Clark’s car.
I respect Michael Moore’s work.
I did have a problem with one scene in Bowling for Columbine. The confrontation scene with Charlton Heston in Heston’s house made me uncomfortable. I had no use for Heston as president of the NRA, but it still seemed a bit bullying, especially since it really was an ambush. And my opinion of that sequence has not improved since Heston’s death from complications related to Alzheimer’s Disease. I think it’s decent to leave sick, lonely old men alone.
But Moore’s savaging of the Bush administration in Farenheit 9/11 was dead on. If anything, the criticism was too mild. He presented Bush Co. as villains. They turned out to be monsters.
He’s even more relevant now.
I mean, think about it. I’d say many of us are a lot closer to becoming the "Pets Or Meat" Lady now, than we were when "Roger & Me" came out.
I’m only half-kidding.
Michael Moore will soon be exposed as the deranged, ultra-leftist failed fraud he is for daring to mock our powerful, effective Commander In Chief in a time of war, George W. Bush Jr.
Anybody else seen Blood in the Face?
I saw Mike speak at John Hopkins U. once, and I have to say, the man is no different in person than he is in his movies. He is a big man with passions about right and wrong who has a weakness for the melodramatic. He doesn’t always serve his own causes very well, but his causes are always legitimate and he provides a unique perspective on them that no one else has ever gone to the trouble to uncover.
No. Michael Moore really is the left’s Rush. yes, he isn’t as crazy and doesn’t lie as much, but that is only because the left isn’t as crazy and driven by lies as the right.
Seriously, he did a documentary about the worst President ever, and he couldn’t stop himself from being disingenuous. It doesn’t matter if everything in the new film is accurate, most people that can be moved in their opinion don’t trust him.
Sorry, Moore doesn’t help to move the conversation forward. He simply preaches to the choir, and last I checked, we just got a choirmaster that really knows what he is doing.
I love Michael Moore. His was the first sane public voice I heard after 9/11.
I went to a book signing of his about six months after 9/11. Not a single public figure at the time dared do anything but heap praise on our bold CiC. I couldn’t watch TV, listen to the radio or read a newspaper that didn’t seen Bizarro-world crazy, but the media borg had no cracks–unanimous adulation for an inadequate, stunted president who liked to dress up.
Anyway, the book signing was overflowing. Moore came out in person and told those of us who had not gotten there extra early that they couldn’t seat us, but if we stuck around he would give another talk in 3 hours. As near as I could tell, almost everyone did.
He gave a lengthy talk at this 2nd signing, and what he said was that he was running into crowds like this wherever he went. Then he said: "You’re not alone." I started weeping. I will never forget that, the relief. My attitude toward MM is that I’ve got his back. In a fight between MM and just about anyone outside my direct family, I’m on his side. I love Michael Moore.
Okay, y’all can like him all you want, I’m just saying if you’ve ever bought fudge in a mall then you are a RICH PERSON DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHOOTING DEATH OF A CHILD.
I like him, too. He just drives me crazy. I even used to watch that TV show he had, had Janeane Garofalo on it, can’t remember the name right now. One of them sent a bunch of Canadians over the American border wearing sandwich boards that said "I need a job." That is an example of making your point in an effective and funny way, and I just wish he were more consistently like that.
John Stewart was always sane with regard to the previous administration. The Daily Show was the only outlet confronting the Bush Administration (and the media) during Bush’s first term. And he ended up being far, far more effective than Moore ever was.
Personally, I see Moore as a bit of a relic. Roger and Me predates blogging. His movies were about getting out progressive perspectives that the public never saw because of the way the media works. The progressive infrastructure on the Internet has made a lot of that redundant. Just exactly who is going to be moved by a Moore film that is not either (a) already a Moore convert or (b) already on the Internet?
Don’t forget, he was all over the auto industry straight back to his first movie Roger and Me. And Bowling for Columbine would have been one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen if he hadn’t taken such a cheap shot at Mr. Cold Dead Hands.
The man is ahead of his time. He’s definitely a personal favorite for me.
Bowling for Columbine is my favorite of his films- I think because I felt it was not so much about gun control as about the culture of fear in the US. It really changed the way I watch the news. And I was really moved by the South Park guy talking about the Columbine killers. As horrible as what they did was, what stuck out to me was that they were bullied so mercilessly. I was bullied by a neighbor girl when I was little (I was small for my age, so I was an easy target) and it was awful. Thirty years later, I can’t remember her name, but I can still remember specific moments. I can’t imagine having to face that every day in high school and was glad amidst all the shouting of "they’re monsters and evil and devil spawn" that BfC included a bit reminding us that the tragedy was on both sides.
And, of course, I loved his acceptance speech for it at the Oscars. In the midst all of the head-ducking, "Is it patriotic to have the Oscars this year"- remember that?- from the Hollywood types, he got up and laid it on both barrels. And I loved all of the hand-wringing afterwards. Please. You gave Michael Moore an Oscar. What did you think he was going to do with the acceptance speech? Thank his agent?
The Tim Channel
Michael Moore is the closest thing to a prophet we have in our generation, and he’s very skilled in the arts of mass communication. That’s gonna piss a lot of wingnuts off.
The Other Steve
I actually went to see Moore once speak live, and ended up walking out on him after about an hour. He’s funny, and he’s able to respond to some heckling… but his positions ramble and he contradicts himself.
That being said, i sent him an email. If I can be in a movie, I’m all for it. :-)
I think I’ve got a really good melodramatic take on why our company floundered. I don’t even know if there is any truth behind any of it, I just thought it was an amazing coincidence. Perfect for a Moore movie. :-)
Bob In Pacifica
I read the book "Blood In The Face" about white supremacists. Kinda yucky bunch.
I saw "Blood in the Face" back in ’91. Shudder. I think one of the reasons that documentary was so powerful was that MM didn’t resort to gimmicks like bringing a bunch of 9/11 workers to Cuba. He just let the neo-Nazis and white power people be themselves and it was creepier than anything MM could have made up.
He actually had two TV shows, TV Nation and The Awful Truth. I don’t think anything will ever top the look on Fred Phelps’ face when the "Sodomobile" rolled up. Comedy gold? No, comedy platinum.
I’m also partial to that segment with the "orange safety wallet" for African-Americans in the wake of the shooting of Amadou Diallo.
I saw him at a film festival while he was promoting "The big One"— he seems like a very genial guy, but his self-promotional tendencies get the better of his biting satire and juxtaposition… something shown to be even more of a problem for less talented clones like Morgan Spurlock. I’d like to see him produce a semi-documentary, but with Jim Hightower as the central "character" instead of him.
If it weren’t for those moments, no one would ever hear about his movies. How many staid, balanced documentaries get the press or attention that MM’s do?
I actually like the over the top bits. They make a point in a way that isn’t forgotten. Those sick people who were 9-11 workers and couldn’t get health care in the U.S., but they got help in Cuba? I won’t forget that. It may not be entirely fair, but it makes a point that is entirely fair IMO.
The thing I like about Michael Moore is that he has a very good ability to line up all the facts in one place and then present them in a cohesive story. None of his films (that I’ve seen) had any particularly new revelations, but having all of that information in one spot was handy.
That being said… God, he’s self-congratulatory a lot of the time. I have a hard time listening to him for very long for that reason. However, even if I blow that to its far-flung conclusion — that, say, Moore is our O’Reilly — the right still has Hannity, Limbaugh, Kristol, etc. etc. etc. So I don’t intend to apologize for Moore when obnoxious liberal personalities are still outnumbered by obnoxious wingnut personalities about 3,429:1.
I remember seeing Blood in the Face, and the group I was watching it with laughed out loud at certain parts, like where the guy is ranting about Mongolians carrying suitcase nukes across the Mexican border. The thing is, a lot of that completely batshit stuff has been mainstreamed by conservatives. You’ll see talking heads, with a completely straight face, talk about suitcase nukes being smuggled across the border.
Yes, I never thought B for C was about guns especially. At one point he says that Canada has as many guns per capita as we do. It’s the culture of fear that makes the difference.
TV Nation, that was it. Thanks.
Weird how I seem to be the only Dick Clark/mall fudge consumers-defender, though. I guess that didn’t stick out to anyone else.
What I like about Moore is his willingness to go after the major issues that no one else seems to want to talk about.
What I don’t like is how he edits his documentaries to say things and show things that aren’t necessarily being said or done. Bowling for Columbine in particular irks me. And it isn’t just me. Matt Stone is still pissed at him for running that cartoon right after his segment, making it look like he created it.
...now I try to be amused
I have mixed feelings about Michael Moore. On the one hand, it bugs me that he makes himself an easy target for the Right Wing Noise Machine so they can shoot his message along with the messenger. It seems to have an inoculation effect too — subsequent evidence on the issue is discounted because of the association with Moore. I wonder if Moore’s propaganda has an overall negative effect on his causes.
On the other hand, Moore was the only one giving mass media play to his issues at the time. I’d love it if Paul Krugman made documentary films, but he doesn’t.
I don’t remember the Dick Clark segment. But I will admit the part about harassing the old guy with Alzheimer’s didn’t appeal to me.
That’s what drives me crazy about Moore. I don’t think he needs the dishonest tactics to be effective. It’s as if he can’t resist handing his critics exactly what they need to discredit him. How can you change minds if your audience always has to wonder "did that really happen?" Thinking you are so righteous that you don’t need to be honest is fatal.
You articulate better then I did above the problem I have with Moore.
Yep, they were both cheap shots, for different reasons. Heston because he was so far past his prime and in poor health — at a different point in time, he would have been a legitimate target. Dick Clark just didn’t really have anything to do with the fact that the welfare people in her county found her a job in one of his restaurants and so she didn’t have time to supervise her child and make sure he wasn’t packing a handgun in with his lunchable in the morning. Someone should watch that movie again and make sure I’m not misunderemembering, because it’s been several years.
Bob In Pacifica
Do they still prop up Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve? Or is it a vanilla fudge statue of him?
Which reminds me, remember Vanilla Fudge? Wotta band.
Walker, Jon Stewart had something of a self-imposed moratorium on criticism of Bush for a while after 9/11. His criticism was restrained, but, you’re right–he was there.
I guess the need Michael Moore filled in that vacuum was a full-throated fuck-you call out of Bush. After all the adulation going out to the Egomaniac with the Inferiority Complex CiC, respectful disagreement with some affectionate humor just wasn’t scratching that itch I had to scream "Have you all gone crazy! He’s a moron."
Alright now, a few shots of people in Iraq actually enjoying a normal day doing normal human things is not "representing Iraq as a peaceful paradise." Don’t fall for that sort of right-wing b.s.
No one is more qualified to lampoon the corporate villains on Wall Street than Michael Moore. It’s just too bad that this film wasn’t made in say, 2007.
I’m still impressed about 9/11 nailing the motives for Iraq as well as it did. Moore didn’t go for the cheap "no blood for oil" shot – he made it clear, the real money that was going to come out of Iraq was in government contracting.
But that’s a huge difference. The important part of Rush’s massive influence on the right is the part about being crazy and having no respect for the truth. Admittedly, part of the problem probably is that the right itself is insane, but still, this is a false equivalence.
Moore didn’t do that movie; James Ridgeway, the former Village Voice writer, wrote the book and co-directed the movie.
Moore is the Rush Limbaugh of the Left. the only material differences between the two are the media they exploit and their politics. Both are cynical, dishonest charlatans who pander to the prejudices of the most gullible sectors of their respective audience for the overriding purpose of enhancing their own fame and fortune. Each employs the most tawdry sort of disingenuous tactics and outright fabrications and can only be effective in an environment where they have total control of the medium so they can bully and distort without challenge.
Embrace him if you want but agreeing with the general substance of a message is no reason to excuse the messenger’s utter disregard for the truth and fairness.
@Emma Anne: I don’t think Moore brought the woman who skinned rabbits or whatever in Roger & Me to GE headquarters. I think his work would be as effective and popular if it stuck to simple explanations of complex issues highlighted by personal stories.
The big-stunt tactics really took off with TV Nation/The Awful Truth and just serve to turn off a lot of people. It’s funny to see him bring a bus full of gays to a Fred Phelps rally but it’d be more effective to interview, say, the relative of someone in the Westboro church.
Another big problem with his stunts is that he includes them in the movies whether they work out or not. The Dick Clark bit in Columbine was worthless — the guy didn’t have a clue what he was talking about — but for some reason it made the final cut. Same thing with yelling at Guantanamo with a megaphone.
Huge fan of Moore here. "Roger and Me" is a great masterpiece. Moore’s short-lived tv show, featuring him chasing after Newt Gringrich to ask him why his congressional district had the highest per capita influx of federal money in the United States, was to die for.
I’d like to see Moore do a film on this subject. Safety in our food chain is Out.Of.Control at this point, and it’s going to turn into a mega disaster unless it’s fixed.
Thanks and (yet another) tip-o-the-hat to the Bush Administration for helping destroy an essential function of government.
As for the debate about Moore himself, most of what I see is material about the man, more than the work. The films stand on their own merits. Moore himself is a pretty abrasive character. His work is propaganda, which is a useful tool, and he is surely the best at it in the modern world. I love his work for that reason… it’s just good. It is not journalism.
I thought that was the point … Clark was a metaphor for the clueless and thoughtless way that the society sets up, and tolerates, a certain level of violence. Whether you agree with the premise or not … and I do …. the thing wasn’t about Clark, it was about what Clark represents about America. A sort of "let’s dance" way of looking at a world with serious problems, and having no clue. It’s us he is calling out, not Clark personally.
Gotta love the old Awful Truth episodes -the singing, dancing gun Pistol Pete at the playground "Who wants to show me that they know how to beg for their life?" or the discount gas station "Saddam’s Gas" where they had lines stretching for blocks.
Thats the Michael Moore I miss -over the top but spot on.
So does masturbation, but I haven’t heard you knocking it.
We sincerely hope that you meant that figuratively.
FWIW, I’m OK with that; I just feel that he sabotages himself.
Oh, and I forgot to add the standard disclaimer: IOKIYAR.
"TV Nation" was some of the most brilliant documentary television ever made, IMHO. It was Moore at his best. Yaphet Kotto trying to get a cab in NYC, Rusty Cundieff with his "white slaves" in South Carolina, the Fred Phelps ambush and the faux-serial killer segment had me cringing, crying and laughing my ass off all at the same time.
One of the best things about TV Nation was that Moore often stayed completely out of the segment and let his co-producers like Cundieff shine. If he could follow the same practice in the new movie, he could deflect a lot of the inevitable dismissal by the Right. It’s seeing Moore’s mug that pisses them off the most, so why not stay out of the direct line of fire?
Here’s an idea, Mr. Moore: start off the film by introducing a band of merry pranksters (co-producers) who will be appearing in much of the film, and let them drive most of the action. Keep in mind, your reputation precedes you, and many of your best targets will run screaming if they see your face. So stay aloof and above the action, perhaps by simply being the voice-over narration. Let your lieutenants fight it out in the trenches.
I learned a lot from Sicko. Moore gets extra credit from me for that.
@TheHatOnMyCat: As Jon Stewart said Monday night:
"Funding for regulatory agencies? Please. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a peanut butter, spinach, tomato and Chinese toy sandwich to finish."
Should’ve thrown in Diamond pet food, too.
Watched Sicko last weekend. Blew my mind.
Is that a reference to my dating of self abuse or my keen auditory system? Haven’t you been to the thread on Miracles yet?
Oh yeah, I remembered that bit with Rusty Cundieff but for some reason mentally attributed it to a really old Daily Show. It was great, and hilarious, and kept a sense of humor. I can still picture the line dancing. It hit just the right note, which Michael Moore himself seems to do just not too terribly often.
Just Some Fuckhead
I used to watch The Awful Truth on Bravo back in the 90s. It was one of the catalysts that drove me from a basically apathetic libertarian viewpoint to pretty much a proponent of progressivism. I don’t know what the ten-years-older Fuckhead would think of that sorta muckraking in-yer-face style now but back then, it was new, exhilarating and no one else even had a forum for that sort of thing. It was also right. So I give Michael Moore a lot of credit for making me the liberal I am today.
Prolly a good reason for corporate media to keep those liberal fuckers off the teevee.
Calling Michale Moore Rush Limbaugh with the lies is like calling Camp Cayuga Dachau without the gas chambers.
You know what? All of you with your "except for this & except for that" whines & "he’s the Rush of the Left" can just go fuck yourselves.
MM is a genius.
And we’re ALL better for what he does.
The problem I have with Moore is the same one I have with a lot of the media in general.
Namely, if they are ‘factually challenged’ on subjects I do have background knowledge on, how many lies are they telling me on subjects that I don’t know much about?
The only reason MM isn’t the Limbaugh of the Left is because he doesn’t have the EIB Golden Microphone™ in his studio.
Are you always such a whiny bitch?
Well, Glocksman, you’re just forever doomed to have problems.
Indeed I am, as expecting total honesty is a problem when dealing with any ideologue, no matter which side he/she takes on an issue.
That said, critical thinking is your best defense against bullshit, especially when dealing with pieces you agree with.
Most of us have our Bullshit Detectors™ on maximum when reading a GOP press release.
My larger point is that we need to keep them turned up no matter what the source is.
I guess that helps you personally, being so totally honest and all, but in the real world it’s just total dreamworld. Everybody, except you of course, is bullshitting 24/7 in some way. That’s just the way it is. Funny thing is, I actually agree with you philosophically, but reality kills you every time.
MM is a genius & a national treasure.
Reality is a bitch.
Personally I’m not ‘totally honest’ as you put it, but I do like to be aware when someone is slinging bullshit my way.
I used to be a conservative Republican, so my personal experience in mutating from a Rushbot to a newly minted Democrat may not apply to others, but I’d like to think that everyone could agree to get the facts straight when arguing a position.
Rush’s proclivity to being fast and loose with facts contributed to my disillusionment with the conservatard Republicans.
Similarly, MM’s proclivity towards selective editing and ignoring inconvenient facts leads me to mistrust his message even if I agree with it.
Perhaps I’m an optimist, but I’d like to think that given enough factual information, the majority of Americans would find the best path.
Heh…the ‘MM’ moniker applies both to Michael Moore and Michelle Malkin.
His entire oeuvre is ”those moments.” Staging a mock funeral at Humana headquarters for a man denied a transplant. Having The Laryngeal Cancer Carolers perform creepy voice box renditions of holiday favorites in front of Philip Morris. Occasionally coming across as grandstanding is unavoidable.