"We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times.We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious President. We — We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or the fictitious [sic] of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up."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 (Love It or Hate It
) very controversial for this reason. 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.
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.
- Canadian Bacon: Moore's only non-documentary film, this is a comedy about America starting a new Cold War with Canada in order to revitalize the defense industry. Notable for being John Candy's last film, and for a crack about the lunacy of declaring a war on terrorism despite being made in the '90s.
- 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).
- Bowling for Columbine: The documentary that made the most money of any at the time (US$58 million), it looks into the causes of the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre and, by extension, gun culture in the United States in general. It won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
- 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
- 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
remember the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment
when contributing to this page.
Tropes relevant to Moore and/or his work:
- Banned in China: Played for Laughs (albeit very dark ones) in The Stinger to Roger and Me: "This film cannot be shown within the city of Flint. All the movie theaters have closed."
- 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 He's actually from one of its nearby (and much more affluent) suburbs.
- The Cameo:
- As demonstrated in the page quote, in The Simpsons episode "The President Wore Pearls." In the episode, he pops up in Springfield to voice his support for Lisa's student strike;note more recently he appears on its DVD Commentary discussing the scene's foreshadowing of the Occupy movement, which he has also spoken favorably of.
- He also plays Lisa Kudrow's cousin in Lucky Numbers (the other movie that gave John Travolta his 2000 Razzie).
- And he portrays a journalist in The Fever.
- Don't forget about his genuinely hilarious Creator Cameo in Canadian Bacon.
- Canada, Eh?: In Bowling For Columbine, he compares Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, just across the river/border, and describes Canada as being like a paradise.
- And of course this was the entire premise of Canadian Bacon.
- Cluster F-Bomb: When it was revealed that Rahm Emanuel, who would become Mayor of Chicago just a few months later, allegedly said "Fuck the UAW!", Moore responded with a pro-union blog post called "Happy Fuckin' Labor Day.
- Documentary Of Lies: One of the most common accusations levelled against his films (see each film's entry for examples of this).
- Godwin's Law: His description of Bush's "USA PATRIOTnote Act" (which, admittedly, was of questionable legality) in his book Dude, Where's My Country? as being "as un-American as Mein Kampf."
- Hero-Worshipper: To FDR, and to UAW workers, even workers in general.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: Dissected in Bowling For Columbine.
- Iconic Item: His Detroit Tigers baseball cap.
- 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.
- The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: At the very end of the 2003 documentary The Corporation there is a clip of an interview with him discussing this.
- 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.
- My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Moore is infamous for criticizing American politics and society.
- 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.
- Old Shame: Supporting Richard Nixon as a fourteen-year-old in 1968, chiefly because he had claimed to have a plan to cease American involvement in The Vietnam War. At the time, Moore promised himself he would never reveal his part in Nixon's election; forty-three years later, he owned up to it.
- 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: 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).
- Strawman Political: Often used in his works, for obvious reasons.
- You Have Failed Me/No True Scotsman: In his first major book, Downsize This!, he espoused the opinion that modern labor leaders have turned their backs on everything their predecessors stood for.
- Similarly, he spends an entire chapter in Stupid White Men expounding on a theory that the Democrats are "DOA," and refers to Bush as "Clinton's logical extension".
- White Collar Crime: Often referred to in his works, particularly in reference to corporations