Small Change is Gonna Come
Michael Moore has always been fat, preachy and so left-wing he has no room for even-handed discussion with “corporate fat cats.” But he was once somewhat charming. He was a voice for the little guy (no matter how incompetent they were).
In his early days on The Awful Truth I found Michael Bore actually quite funny and engaging. He had a small team, who knew their stuff (and would even be allowed a bit of camera time), to assist in his white collar crime busting investigations. It was cute. His people were SMART. Moore, being a director, focussed on what he was good at: directing and entertaining and not really using his brain too much. So it made sense that he had a team to do the thinking bits, and it worked for the most part. He covered a variety of issues: homophobia, unfair voting systems, sexism etc etc etc. I liked the whole vote-for-ficus joke.
The series was FRESH, sharp and informative.
Since the beautiful and sad film Bowling for Columbine, however, Moore seems to have lost himself in a self-congratulatory and self-indulgent “go for the big fish” agenda. And it wears thin.
After an uneccessarily shallow look into the 9/11 attacks and a fair attack on the failure of health care in the US (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt when I say “fair.” I did not bother watching that one), he delivers perhaps his most obvious ambitiously “commy” film, Capitalism: A Love Story (oh, but he DOESN’T LOVE CAPITALISM SO IT’S “IRONIC”!!! GET IT? DO YOU GET IT? Cause it’s Michael Moore? And he hates… Yes, this is a WELL THOUGHT OUT title!).
Once more, Moore (hehe) TURNS THE CAMERA ON US and shows us your every day “middle class” (actually possibly lower class) Americans getting evicted from their homes because they can’t afford to pay their mortgage. “This is capitalism,” Moore BOLDLY states to the shocked, tearful audience. But we’re not shocked and tearful. We’re rolling our eyes. Is it capitalism, Michael Moore? If we aren’t promoting capitalism, what should we be worshipping?
DEMOCRACY! (Which is another word for communism, the way Moore talks about it.)
Thank you; that clarifies THE WHOLE THING! All we need to do is give people a chance to have their say! EQUALITY!!!
But wait… We DO THAT: we vote! But wait, PEOPLE ARE MANIPULATED! But wait, CAPITALISM ISN’T DEMOCRATIC?!
And that’s basically how the film goes for 2 hours until Moore asks us to “join him” in a fight against capitalism. He says this as he’s unrolling “Crime scene: do not cross” tape in front of all of the banks (get the joke? GET IT?). Presumably, of course, the “corporate fat cats” inside are noticing this is happening and are both interested and fearful (CHANGE HAPPENS SLOWLY!). Surely they’re thinking: what if Michael Moore provokes a revolt??? JUST LIKE IN FRANCE!
But that’s just it. Any of those researchers he USED to INCLUDE in his documentaries might have told him that yellow tape in front of a building isn’t effective or even controversial. It’s just crazy and desperate. It’s the equivalent of one of those crying “middle class” evicted Americans swearing at those “corporate fat cats” (on camera) who “robbed them” of their home. They weren’t to know they might need a lawyer, or that they couldn’t afford to pay off the mortgage. Why should they read the small print? Your AVERAGE American wouldn’t do that! Etc etc, no responsibility, etc.
No Michael, it’s not nice to see people in such desperate situations. And yes, I did leave the cinema hoping I would get hit by a truck because it was so FUCKING DEPRESSING! But no, I do not see myself joining you in such “wacky fun” antics as asking the banks to return Government money to me. IT DOES NOT RESOLVE ANYTHING!
And Moore’s excitedness that a black democrat is voted in is tarnished by the same fact brought up by those criticising Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize: you can’t acknowledge someone for something not yet achieved. What is Obama actually doing to reverse this “capitalism” Moore defines so eloquently, and why isn’t this discussed? Is it likely Obama will “fix everything” just by being an average “middle class” American? Just like everyone watching your film?
Once again Moore’s argument falls short of a wholistic and new debate. Instead of suggesting possible solutions (with the exception of showing us some small business who bake bread: BORING), or providing a bit of insight into capitalism itself and defining it, Moore provides one sorry and tragic example after the next to make the same point: Capitalism: bad,
Communism Democracy: good. Because America is the only country with a capitalist structure. And democracy is the only possibly answer to this “problem.” The film is actually constructed in a similar fashion to the kind of bottom-feeder gutter journalism you see on Today Tonight.
I’m not defending America. I’m not defending or attacking anyone (except Moore). That’s just it. Moore once again got caught up a game of cat and mouse, instead of removing himself from the situation and providing a balanced and informative unique perspective.
The picture above is a fitting illustration of the full impact of his films; his sermon falls on the deaf ears of a converted audience (oh yes, it’s mixed metaphor time). Like a demented old man with no teeth, Moore’s bark is worse than his bite (though he still manages to bite off more than he can chew) (I’m sure I could’ve added at least 5 more metaphors in that one!).
Not worth the price of the ticket (and I saw it for free).