Monday, July 02, 2007

So What IS The Problem?

Saw Sicko this weekend. I also fell on my ass in front of a sidewalk full of people, but that's another story. One which I'll also tell today.

But first...I have my issues with Michael Moore as much as anyone else does. He's a self-righteous man who exploits the victims he includes in his movies as much as he helps them. His sense of humor is obtuse and somewhat patronizing. And his biggest problem, I believe, is that his attitude and "in your face" style narrows his audience down til what is left is the proverbial choir. Thus, his message (which is generally a great one) only goes out to people who are already outraged enough to spend $10 a piece to become even more outraged at one of his movies. He's not convincing anyone new of anything they didn't already guess. In this way, he is ineffective.

But still...the man asks the most beautiful questions. And his name can get him, as a filmmaker, into places no other filmmaker could ever get in to. And for that, he is invaluable.
Sicko is a beautiful film...with the exception of its opening credits (this dude sews up a cut on his leg). I think he focuses too much time on the "utopian" societies that are Canada, France, England and Cuba (uh huh) and too little time on how we can change America...but the message he sends is clear and sickening. We NEED socialized healthcare to keep so many people from suffering and dying unnecessarily. And we need to stop being so afraid of our government. As one of the interviewees, an ex-member of the British Parliament put it (imagine Peter O'Toole's voice) "a government should be afraid of the people, not the people afraid of the government." All I can say to that profound statement is 'Fuckin' A, man'.

As for what happened on the bike... I was balancing sideways on the straight bar of the frame on the sidewalk in front of McMenamin's Blue Moon Pub waiting for the check to come to our table so we could get the fuck to the soccer (football for the Commonwealth) game that had already started (Timbers WON!). Suddenly, I felt the bike lose ground and it hit the concrete with a *crash*! And my ass fell right on top of it. In front of an entire sidewalk of tables filled with hipsters. I got an applause. Assholes.





PS: I love you, mom...even if your employer is evil incarnate.

16 keep(s) me blogging:

Devon said...

I disagree. Michael Moore's last two movies both broke records for highest grossing documentaries in the US, and by a long shot too I believe. Bowling for Columbine won the oscar for best documentary which placed even more attention on him and his movies. He's reaching enough people that I don't think it's just preaching to the choir anymore. His movies seem aimed towards the younger (18-30ish maybe) range and this is where he is effective. Some poll I read about shows that younger people are leaning more to the left these days and I'd guess that people like Michael Moore have at least a little to do with that.

The criticism about his sense of humor and self righteousness could be right but my problem with his whole thing is that people think he is making documenaries when in reality it is pretty blatant propaganda. When asked he doesn't seem to claim that his movies are really documentaries but satire or "opinion based on facts."

But in any case, I'll probably go see it and practice my high notes with the other members of the choir.

The Future said...

It's a good thing you added that little postscript or I would have wondered. Honestly, yours is the only good review I've heard of the movie. Even John Stewart was very careful to say absolutely nothing about whether it was good when he talked to Michael. Of course, Michael was still grousing about the fact that Paris bumped him off an hour with Larry King. Oh, forget I said that, I certainly don't want to get the whole Ms. Hilton thing going again. Moore did sound very much like a whiny butt though, and a sizeable one at that.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I knew Michael Moore as a funny comedian before he started making documentaries. I think he lacks the required honesty to do more than make propaganda films. I do hope your posterior was not badly bruised.

Orhan Kahn said...

I was just reviewing Bowling For Columbine on my Flixster account last night and I'm sure I recommended his films have alot less of him in them.

I've only seen half of Sicko (because a mate came over and I paused it never to return, but I will). And don't you worry, 300 is next on the TO-WATCH-LIST. And then we'll see what this whole Iraq-related business is all about.

You have very down to earth reviews. I approve of your devil ways :)

Macoosh said...

i'm anxious to see it. it hasn't arrived over here yet. i'll let you know when i have.

and, you call them assholes, but you KNOW if it were someone else, you'd totally have clapped along with them. hahaa, you probably did anyway!

hope your mom's boss stops being evil...

Kara said...

devon - i realize he broke all sorts of records, but the fact remains, he doesn't have the integrity of, say, an errol morris...who's work i'm more likely to get my grandparents to see than michael moore. you know?

devon and goranas - this is something that has bothered me for years. people throw around the word "propaganda" likes it should be followed with three spits behind your left hand. the definition of the word is simply 'the promotion of an idea'. now...it has been skewed over the years to the point where the connotation is more 'the promotion of a one-sided, usually evil idea". i resent that. it's not always a bad thing to promote an idea...some might call that 'idealism'. so i agree with both of you...Moore creates propaganda. i'm just not willing to put it in the same genre as Triumph of the Will. booyah.
(and goranas - he always welcomes anyone to challenge ANY of his assertions)

future - whining aside...i'd be UBER pissed if i got bumped for Paris Hilton's bony ass. did you see any of the interview? it was like watching fish mate. you were just like...'whaaa?'

or - i'm so glad i am able to dictate so much of how you spend your free time from all the way over here. get me a beverage while you're up.

macoosh - true. but that's beside the point. I'M the victim here!

Devon said...

That was sort of my point. There is a vast difference between what Errol Morris does and what Michael Moore does. I know documentary is a pretty vague genre but to me it seems like it should at least try to remain impartial. I don't call it propaganda as an insult. It's just what it is and I see that as distinctly different from documentary. I don't think a lot of folks get that though.

It's a little disappointing though, because I think he could do documentary and it would be just as convincing and effective. If not more so.

Laura said...

I'm pretty much on par with your assessment of Moore. I like the guy, but I think he could be much more effective in making his point if he didn't always do it so heavy-handedly. But every hero's gotta have flaws, I guess.

Falling on your ass in front of hipsters sucks. So does getting the stomach flu and having to get pumped full of IV fluid. I win.

One more week till OOTP -- w00t!

Kara said...

devon - well, it can't ever be completely impartial. just the act of editing it creates partiality. or whatever. besides...you're forbidden to comment on my blog anymore until you post something on your own.

waif - don't try to out my-life-sucks ME! i will destroy you! and isn't IV fluid just saline? you could've just swallowed all your contact solution. cheaper.

The Future said...

Fist of all, I had so many points to make I can't even remember them all. Oh, I know, what is fish mate? And WHY were you watching that slutty substance anyway? Is your life that boring and pathetic, I'm sorry but I'd watch Antiques Roadshow rather than give her one minute of my time. She is absolutely not worth it and I won't support her in any way by watching any tv coverage of her...kind of like the Pres.

slaghammer said...

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but speaking as a person who could not afford any significant medical care from 1977 to 1993, I have an opinion. We do have socialized medicine already. It consists of county hospital ER’s in most U.S. cities. These emergency rooms are consistently jam-packed with desperately ill and injured people who have no money, no insurance, and no other option. By law, the hospitals cannot refuse them service. The bills are paid by taxpayers, i.e., you and me. In the early years, I was able to treat most of my injuries at home but I had cuts stitched and broken bones set on many occasions, all paid for by John Q. Public. This is the “safety net” that President Bush speaks of when he tries to make the case for maintaining the status quo. The fact is, the current “safety net/socialized medical care” system is outrageously more expensive on a per-incident basis than a competing government sanctioned universal medical plan would be. The detractors of universal healthcare decry increased taxes but conveniently choose not to mention that we are already being heavily taxed to pay for inefficient indigent care and much of the increases in taxes would be paid by a redirection of funds from personal health insurance plans to government universal health plans. Regarding universal health care, I could go on and on about the mitigating factors, but not without hijacking your blog in the process. To my friends who reject universal health care, do the math. Find out how much of your taxes are being pissed away in a broken system already, a system that you effectively support and maintain by virtue of your vote but likely know little about short of talking points. Visit just one county hospital on a Saturday night and see for yourself. Better yet, visit five and talk to people who allow their wounds to rot and fill with maggots rather than subject themselves and their families to bottom-of-the-line, ineffective healthcare that often causes more problems than it solves. Most of these uninsured people leave the ER with budget busting invoices stuffed into their pockets. Invoices many try to pay but not quick enough for the contract collection agencies who call, day after day, threatening all manner of legal ramification as they try to squeeze blood from turnips. The question is not “should we have government run universal health care,” the question is, “should we replace the broken and insanely expensive government run universal health care system with a more reasonable and rational version of the same. I say yes. If you say no, fine, just quit voting for the status quo. It just doesn't make sense.

My Little Pony said...

Michael Moore is a pud wacker! I can appreciate him bringing these major issues to the forefront of our minds but I don't respect him as a person. In my opinion he's doing the same thing the government does just with a different spin. I feel he's out to make money and he doesn't care who he exploits to obtain the almighty greenback.
I watch his movies because he makes good points in his own pompous, condescending way. Although, I can't help feeling that some if not all of his breathtaking discoveries are all created in the editing room...

My Little Pony said...

Oh yeah and what is a hipster? Are they the type people who wear Von Dutch hats?

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Sorry about your ass.

Jill said...

I hate hipster assholes.

AxAtlas said...

I haven't seen the movie yet.
In my grad school pricing strategies class, we went over an insurance company's pricing tactic for a "healthcare product"...holy shit! We ended up increasing the price by a bunch for the desired "product" in order to maximize profit and remain competitive in the industry. Myself and one other dude were the only ones awake sayin' nay to increasing the price and saying yay to adding more value. It was just a stupid in-class exercise.