"But speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And theyíve taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities."
Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker and author known for his stridently left-wing political opinions, which he uses his documentary films to advocate. He is very controversial for this reason, and has a sizable hatedom who claim that his movies are full of dishonesty. Nonetheless, no fewer than three of his films have at one time or another held world records as "highest-grossing documentary not concerning music" and he has also received significant critical acclaim for them. Though bear in mind his unbiased documentaries will convince you he's a selfless activist who looks out for the good of the common man, though maybe this man actually does, right?.His films include:
Roger & Me: His breakthrough film, it documents the mass unemployment and other negative economic effects caused by General Motors closing its factories in Flint, Michigan (where Moore was born, though he was raised in neighboring Davison), as well as his more ambitious attempt to find thenĖGeneral Motors chairman Roger B. Smith and convince him to see these bad side effects in person. When Moore finally tracks Smith down at the company's Christmas party, he turns him down.
The Big One: Follows Moore on his book tour for the best-seller "Downside This: Threats From An Unarmed American" as he tours cities where companies are closing down plants and opening factories overseas despite making huge profits. Moore attempts to meet with CEO's and ask them the reason for their questionable decisions, most notable for Moore's meeting with Nike CEO Phil Knight. He tries to convince Knight to build a shoe factory in Flint to no avail, though he does succeed in getting him to donate $10,000 to Flint schools (on the condition that Moore matched his donation).
Fahrenheit 9/11: Still the highest-grossing documentary of all time (nearly US$222.5 million), it looks into the administration of George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center as well as the War on Terror. It was made with the obvious intent of preventing Bush from getting re-elected in 2004 (not quite succeeding). It received the Palme D'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and amusingly, it is the movie for which George W. Bush won two Golden Raspberry Awards, one for "Worst Actor" and another for "Worst Screen Couple" with either Condoleezza Rice or His Pet Goat.note This was the first documentary to be nominated for or win a Razzie, as well as the first time a film not roundly judged to be of poor quality did so.
Sicko: An attack on the U.S. health care system, it details the effects that private health insurance has had on various citizens and contrasts the system with the universal health care systems of Canada, Great Britain, France, and even Cuba. Nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature, but lost.
Capitalism: A Love Story: This film studies the ongoing recession and, naturally, capitalism itself, particularly regarding the United States. Fittingly/ironically, it failed to recoup its US$20-million budget in its theatrical release.
Moore also created and hosted two satirical TV series, TV Nation (1994-95) and The Awful Truth (1999-2000).Please remember the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment when contributing to this page.
Bourgeois Bohemian: Moore makes much of his working-/middle-class upbringing; his critics make just as much of the fact that he has since become a multimillionaire. Both are correct; he focuses on the past, they on the present.
However, Moore does consistently claim he grew up in destitute Flint, Michigan.note Of course, Flint proper was in much better shape during his childhood. He's actually from one of its nearby (and much more affluent) suburbs.
Lighter and Softer: To an extent, Sicko, while still angry and opinionated, toned down the self-promoting style of Moore's past few films, with him not even appearing onscreen until halfway through and only one major "stunt" towards the end of the film. Also quite literal in that he did lose some weight while working on the film.
More directly, Moore claims he wants The Man to pay more in taxes and to stop using loopholes to avoid it. However his own tax records show that he makes extensive use of tax shelters to minimize the amount of his sizable income he pays, on things such as his Enron Stock. (Yes, he owns stock in several of the companies his documentaries have criticized, and this information is freely available.)
Several of his movies have blasted union-busting attempts and espoused how great workers' unions are. Moore himself uses non-union camera crews and has consistently union-busted any attempts they've made to organize, using tactics any Corrupt Corporate Executive would be proud of.
Mood Whiplash: Roger & Me begins by showing Michael growing up in the Flint area and later finding work in San Francisco Ö only to move back to Flint and find it a shadow of its former self.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Again in Roger & Me, this is the attitude he adopts in the course of his search for Smith. One such attempt sees him walking into GM's head offices and looking astonished that Smith's private elevator won't take him to the CEO's office.
Arguably he sometimes comes across as being this too. at least one of his critics has openly wondered "whether [he] is as ignorant as he looks," but no one can deny that he is rather good at what he does.
Raised Catholic: Moore was raised as a Catholic and still identifies as such, though he disagrees with the Church's official stance on gay and abortion rights.
Refuge in Audacity: This suggestion that General Motors would do better to peddle crack cocaine than manufacture automobiles if, as he recounts hearing time after time from assorted CEOs, profit truly were supreme.
Shameless Self-Promoter: Another frequent accusation levelled at him. A common point of criticism is that the various stunts and pranks he puts in his movies seem to be more about putting himself front-and-center rather than addressing the issues he's supposedly focusing on.
Significant Monogram: In Roman numerals, his initials (MM) indicate 2000. Perhaps coincidentally — or perhaps not — he has enjoyed substantially higher publicity in the 21st century than the 20th.
Strawman Has a Point: invoked In making Bowling for Columbine Moore was surprised to learn that Canada has higher per capita gun ownership than the States, but lower per capita gun crime. He thus came to the conclusion that the NRA (and others) are not entirely wrong (note, however, than in Canada these are mostly hunting rifles or shotguns, not handguns and other firearms more common in the US that are easier to use in crime).
In Bowling for Columbine, he spliced select portions of various speeches Heston made as president of the NRA to appear like one speech that he gave during the organization's convention in Denver which makes Heston look like an insensitive prick to the Columbine Massacre (which had occurred, downright inconveniently, less than two weeks before). The fact that Heston's suit and background wasn't matching up between cuts made it very noticeable.
Also in Columbine, the "Calling up the stairs" sequence which occurs after the heavily edited interview with Heston near the end of the film — if the shots are mapped out in the sequence presented, it is quickly revealed that it is literally impossible for the sequence to have occurred as presented.
Or the stunt with the "gun in the bank" which he set up 30 days ahead of time, and yet again spliced the footage together so it appears ridiculous.
In Fahrenheit 9/11, he confronted several legislators walking around Washington, DC and asked them if they had children in the military. One such ambush interview was Representative Mark Kennedy (Republican from Minnesota), who gives a confused look before the shot cuts away. Right before he told Moore that his nephew was deployed in Afghanistan.