prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Movies by and about Michael Moore

Posted by prof e on October 5, 2008

There’s a new film out by Michael Moore (Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko) but you won’t find it in theaters. In an attempt to allow as many people as possible access to the film, Moore is making the film available as a computer download at slackeruprising.com

The documentary chronicles Moore’s sixty-city tour in 2004 to get out the youth vote for John Kerry. In large stadium rallies, Moore challenges those in attendance to go to the polls. To help sweeten the deal, Moore is seen handing out Raman noodles and clean underwear to those who take his pledge to vote. Of course the outcome of the 2004 race turns this film into a review of what went wrong for Moore and his campaign. One suspects that the release of Slacker Uprising now is another attempt to motivate the college crowd to get out the vote….this time for Obama.

The documentary also chronicles Moore’s celebrity pals who show up to lend support. Eddie Vedder, Joan Baez, Viggo Mortensen, and Rosanne Barr are just some of the celebs who adoringly introduce Moore to the auditorium crowds. Film critics have been accusing Moore of being self-indulgent since Roger & Me premiered nearly 20 years ago…and this film will fan those flames again.

If you want to see a totally different perspective on Moore you can check out David Zucker’s comedy spoof called An American Carol, out in theaters now. This parody pokes fun at a character clearly modeled after Moore who is trying to abolish the Fourth of July holiday. While conservatives rail against Moore’s “liberal bias”, liberal critics accuse An American Carol of being “right-wing propaganda”.

What do you think?

Slacker Uprising trailer at blip.tv

An American Carol trailer at YouTube

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13 Responses to “Movies by and about Michael Moore”

  1. Alex Timmons said

    I used to be a fan of Michael Moore’s films. I really like the idea of someone who dares to speak truth against power. I think it is a moral responsibility that people constantly question authority in a stringent and sometimes harsh manner. Although, as I continued to examine his work, I realized that he injects too much of his own identity into his work. I wasn’t quite sure if he did so intentionally or unwittingly. Either way, Moore has relegated himself to little more than a conspiracy theorist — even if he raises many valid points.

    In short, Michael Moore has made himself too much a focus of the conversation. His dullard personality, his frumpy appearance and lethargic demeanor make for easy fodder, so that now, instead of a movie that clarifies or challenges some of the assertions he makes, only his image is scrutinized; unfortunately, his arguments have been reduced to mere “loony-liberalism.” This is Moore’s fault, and he should have seen it coming.

    [“This parody pokes fun at a character clearly modeled after Moore who is trying to abolish the Fourth of July holiday. While conservatives rail against Moore’s “liberal bias”, liberal critics accuse An American Carol of being “right-wing propaganda”.]

    You’re right Sam. Both sides of the political fence are stepping up efforts to deliver propaganda by way of pop culture. Earlier this year, Ben Stein released a film entitled EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. I didn’t watch it, but i assume that it was about the ongoing Believers VS Atheists debate and the controversy surrounding the courts refusal to allow the thoroughly debunked “Creation-Science” to be taught alongside evolutionary theory in schools. And now Bill Maher, who describes himself as an agnostic rather than an atheist, who is also classified by the right as a liberal, has released a film called Religilous. Maher is apparently poking fun at the irony of faith. I’ll probably see this one.

    If I were capable of good psycho-analysis, I’d claim that Moore is now too drunk with his unlikely fame, and his name only muddles political debate. People who continue to place Moore on a pedestal are too sheepish to take his opinions for what they are, and those who fervently oppose, even hate, his ideas are just towing the opposite party line. Sometimes taking one’s identity out of the discussion helps, and it also makes it easier to analyze ideas separately from how one feels about them.

  2. Alex Timmons said

    I got home late from class last night and immediately turned on Larry King in order to get my daily dose of politics. Turns out that Oliver Stone has released his new film entitled W. This should be an interesting depiction of our current present irregardless of how one feels about his leadership. Stone claims that his intention was to simply examine what is truly the fascinating character of George W. Bush. Partisan pundits will surely tag this film as yet another example of liberal Hollywood attacking the right, but this has become a default claim in every case of media scrutiny. Now Stone will never be able to legitimately claim objectivity, as he is a self-proclaimed dramatist, and the two concepts just don’t work hand-in-hand.

    There is a larger trend at work here, what with so many politically-bent films and filmmakers entering the mainstream movie release market. It will be interesting to see how it motivates audiences to act on the ideas to which they’re introduced. If they decide to act at all.

  3. David Patterson--MCCNM 101 11:00 TTH said

    I really consider myself a moderate liberal, however, I’ve never really understood the appeal of Michael Moore’s work. His documentaries are sensationalist garbage at best and far-left-leaning propaganda at worst. I think it’s even a bit of a misnomer to categorize his films as documentaries seeing as they do more to add commentary (of Moore’s particular rant of the time)to what is displayed on the screen than to just document an event or story.

  4. Nader Omar from MCCNM 101 11:00 TTH said

    Seems that I agree with the majority here. I too use to be a fan of Moore when I was younger but now that I’m older and remember his work I see much clearer what it really was. Take “Bowling for Columbine” for instance. The film (from my memory) tried to blame the negativity American media but had so much little support for that that instead it just took the common scapegoats that society points there fingers at and denounces those, however he failed to give much (if any) concrete evidence of why the media is to blame. And was I the only one who noticed how the movie starts off with him blaming America’s obsession with guns and then he later states that “no that isn’t the reason?” So what was the point of having that first 30 minutes? Well then again this is from what I’ve remembered when watching it years ago, my memory is somewhat fuzzy about it. And I know it seems that I am angry or going on some rant in this paragraph but I’m not I’m being rather calm about this (text truly can be decieving).

    With him being accused of “propaganda” well isn’t that how most documentary’s are? I mean if you are going to watch a persuasive movie I assume that it is going to be persuasive (similar if you are reading a persuasive essay). I was also very shocked when I saw the “American Carol” preview. I mean I was just thinking to myself “this guy is seriously butt-his-head hard enough to make a film against this guy?”.

    In terms of why his movies are so popular. Now I am not trying to play elitist (as I admit I am no huge documentary watcher or the master political science by no means), but it is probably because it is all so basic and simple that anyone can relate to it. It isn’t just Moore’s films just take other films that had similar like say “Super Size Me”. I mean the documentary was really well told and presented. However in reality it just told some simple and basic facts that most people who’d have basic knowledge about the topic would already know. But in reality the majority of people out there really aren’t familiar with a lot of these topics and they just want to get their toes wet out of curiosity to have some knowledge of what goes behind those closed doors. You see this in nearly any genre and even entire mediums the most basic is often the most popular because the more basic it is the easier it appeals to everyone.

    Personally I prefer to just look stuff up on my own as I find documentarys too one sided (though to me that is expected). This is just my 2 cents though.

    – Nader Omar

  5. Alex Timmons said

    [I really consider myself a moderate liberal,]

    First off, what exactly is a moderate liberal? This introductory clause is essentially a Trojan horse tactic used by people who actually hold the very opposite positions of which they cite. The simplest definition of a liberal is someone who is broad-minded; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms. In other words, a free thinking individual. So is someone who is a self described moderate liberal only moderately broad minded, and only sort of free thinking?

    Anyhow, the initial appeal of Moore’s work was the underlying trait of speaking truth to power. Exemplary writers and filmmakers over the years have often been described as fearless soothsayers, and as a result of some of their exhaustive research and compelling arguments, many atrocities against human beings and society were uncovered and ceased. If you’ve ever heard of Upton Sinclair or Eric Schlosser then you’ll get the point. If you cannot defeat someones work with evidence to the contrary, then you have no business leveling criticisms. To dismiss Moores work as mere “sensationalist garbage at best and far-left-leaning propaganda at worst” is nothing more than a hand waiving gesture from a person who plainly cannot develop a proper counter argument of his own. Instead of name calling, which is ridiculously easy and childish, state what it is specifically that you do not like. Otherwise, you’re nothing more than an undercover partisan soundbite.

  6. Edward Garcia said

    I’ve never seen any of Michael Moore’s films. It sounds like his films have a large conspiracy theory idea behind them though. With Slacker Uprising, it sounds like it’s more in line with getting people to think the way that you want them to. When he originally made this, it was to convince the young voters to vote for John Kerry. Now he’s using it to convince the young voters to vote for Obama. Things are different now then they were in 2004. This film is only relevant in that it’s the first movie available to download legally for free. Much like itunes did for the music industry, film distribution will likely be largely internet based in the future. With movie rentals and purchases now available over the internet, this might not be to far off.

  7. Alex Timmons said

    Hey Sam, I totally understand if you decide to delete this post, but I’m gonna let number six have it.

    [I’ve never seen any of Michael Moore’s films. It sounds like his films have a large conspiracy theory idea behind them though. With Slacker Uprising, it sounds like it’s more in line with getting people to think the way that you want them to.]

    This is one of the most blatantly stupid statements I’ve ever read. Are you seriously offering up an opinion on material you have never even seen? Is this as thoughtful as the typical college student is capable of being. Well obviously you are and its plainly clear that you merely read the initial post for this blog, maybe a couple lines of some of the other posts, and then your brain accidently farted in your reply.

    If anything, Michael Moore’s work should be weighed carefully against the facts. His ideas strike a common cord among a very diverse audience. It’s up to the individual to take or leave the information, but this is a right earned only by people who are willing to research the material and thoughtfully work through the idea presented. Michael Moore likely fell in love with his own celebrity and thats why it’s important to remain skeptical about his films. But skepticism is very different from ignorance, which simply means to be unaware. If you choose to remain ignorant of the ideas to which you are adressing, then keep your opinion to yourself. Otherwise, you expose yourself as an intellectual fraud.

    Number 6, opinions are like asses, and everyone has one, so please wipe before you show your ass to the world. And please try not to fart in blogrooms!

    Sorry for being a jerk Sam.

  8. Paul Meyer from MCCMN 101 11:00 TTH said

    I think that Moore’s work is always some of his best work. He was really using this film to tell voters to get out there and vote for whoever they wanted to vote for in this year’s election. Also, he didn’t want anyone to go out and rush to the theaters to see this film. What he wanted everyone to do was to watch this film on the place he knows that the internet is almost the number one mass media form. I think he had the right idea for this new film.

  9. Nate Baptist said

    First of all, upon hearing about the “free movie rental” format of Slacker Uprising, I immediately went home and watched it. I’d only seen two Michael Moore movies prior to this one, Bowling for Columbine and Sicko, and enjoyed both of them very much. However, after watching Slacker Uprising I became under the impression that Michael Moore was putting the film in this format not only to spread his message to a larger audience, but also because it lacked a lot of the charm and content of his previous movies. Bowling for Columbine is a very in-depth analysis of America’s violent tendencies that included numerous interviews with many important public figures, controversial and otherwise. It set out to answer a question and seems, for the most part, politically unbiased. I think it’s great that Michael Moore created this film that chronicles his long, hard campaign in support of John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential nomination, but I do not believe that it holds up to the same standards of previous films. Regarding whether or not Michael Moore’s works are political propaganda, I have to first make it clear that I have not yet seen his most controversial film, Fahrenheit 9/11, but I do realize that he leans strongly to the left. I think when dealing with Michael Moore’s films, as well as with most media, viewers need to take the content with a grain of salt.

  10. Mitchell Trujillo said

    Well I think that both of the movies presented are very one sided and leave little to be explored. The point of both is to make people feel like picking a side. I tend to lean to the left so if i had to pick a movie of the two it would have to be Michael Moore’s film “Slacker Uprising”. I would think it hard to say that his film was far better than “An American Carol” but it dose present a more open minded style of movie. An American Carol just seems like liberal bashing and really doesn’t seem to hold any real point other than republicans dislike Michael Moore. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is propaganda, although the movie dose lack a lot of substance. Having seen that I could watch Slacker Uprising for free I decided to watch some of it but then got bored and shut it off. I give both movies a rating of 4 out of 10.

  11. Lindsay Wolking said

    Moore, well he has sparked many ideas and questions in the conservative brain. I think it is a great idea to have someone question our thoughts and actions. If you are against him you question your beliefs or you find something that you so very strongly believe in. After watching a film or two I realized that I have strengthened where I stand. He has swayed me at all to believe more like him, he has actually done the opposite, he has encouraged me to evaluate where I stand and be proud of that. Moore, you had a nice attempt and you didn’t get kerry into office but you did help get Obama but I’d have to say-with or without you I believe Obama had it in the bag the whole time.

  12. Deandra said

    Michael Moore is definitely controversial. I think it’s a good thing that he brings up some topics that everyone else wants to keep hush hush. But to me, it’s not like he does a good job backing up his side on any topic. His movies come off to me as just rants. With no concrete evidence behind what he’s ranting ON.

  13. daniel Bashian said

    his movies bring out some truth in the topics that he informs his audience. his left winged beliefs come out strong in every movie that he has ever done. I think it was in sicko where he exposes the health care problems in the united states, in my opinion it seems like he is anti America, he complains about the bad why doesn’t he portray the good of America in any of his films. I have not seen An American Carol of being “right-wing propaganda”, so i cant comment on that but im sure it is.

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