I don't think it would be outrageous to say this film should be mandated required viewing for all Americans. Especially voters. Because...wow. If you thought GW was a dumb monkey before...well, Michael Moore will leave no doubt that the man hasn't a clue much of the time. It's almost scary, the film footage of what GW was doing at 9am on Sept.11.
Granted, Michael Moore is rather sandpapery, and not the 600 grit either. He's added a whole new dimension to the word "abrasive." and yes, he does massage some facts, he does make a few "Paul is Dead" connections, and he does edit in a few soundbites that are not entirely in context. He uses music and amusing film clips (such as the opening credits for Bonanza). He strings together many scenes, one after the other, so that the viewer barely has time to react to a picture of a legless soldier before we're whisked back to Flint, MI to see devestation nearly as bad aas that in Iraq. But in a world where the medium is more the message than ever before, Moore has hit upon just about the only way to get through to people, especially the generations who grew up with Sesame Street and MTV...who would go see a documentary if it were still made like those 16mm films we were subjected to in school?
And Michael himself is more restrained and subdued than I've ever seen him. He does still pull a few of his patented stunts (asking congressmen to get their kids to enlist, reading the Patriot Act through an ice cream van's loudspeaker on Capitol Hill), but nowhere near as many as were in Bowling for Columbine. He's still angry, but it's a more focused fury, and he attacks the President with the precision of a big brother teasing his little sister. We see GW bluffing his way out of a question he can't answer. We see him golf, fish, and basically just goof off. We see him defer to his father as though dad was a Chinese Emperor and GW the ill-favoured second son. And then he shows us a convoluted maze of "coincidental" connections that just make you wonder how anyone ever voted for Bush.
Moore also shows us US troops in Iraq, a mother whose son was killed, independent media sources questioning the President's motives. And then he does one of the most brilliant, most daring things I've seen in a film: for several minutes, the screen is black and we hear the sounds on the streets of Lower Manhattan the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Just the sounds. Then, the sound is muted, music comes up and we see the sights...it's incredible.
But my favourite moment in the film is where Moore shows us Bush looking all official, with the theme song from The Greatest American Hero in the background:
Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world,
It should've been somebody else.
That got the single biggest reaction in the theatre I was in...people applauded! (And how sad am I? I have that song on a 45.)
On my way home I called my dad; he would love this movie, the Oregon state troopers, the witty sarcasm, and the whole ridiculousness of everything. I told him he needed to see it, and he said, "We're actually on our way out. We're seeing it at 7."
Acorns never do fall too far from their trees...
Oh, and to prove cats are democratic creatures...they hate Bush, too.
(Today is June 30; half the year is gone. And, by an interesting coincidence...this was movie #50 for the year!)