YMMV / Bowling for Columbine

  • Anvilicious: Mid way through there is a segment of America intervening in other countries while ignoring the atrocities those countries were responsible for, and you don't need to watch very far to see where it is going. True enough, it cuts from saying Bin Laden had American support to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
  • Common Knowledge: Trey Parker and Matt Stone had nothing to do with the animated segment "A Brief History of the United States of America". However, many viewers mistook it for their creation because it immediately followed Matt Stone's interview and was South Park-esque in animation style and vocals. Annoyed by this, the duo killed off Michael Moore in Team America: World Police.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Marilyn Manson's interview is considered a highlight of the film, particularly since he comes across as the Only Sane Man in it and brings forth some of the more intelligent arguments.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: This is a very polarizing movie, especially among right wing people who don't like it for the overall criticism on gun ownership and the fact that Michael Moore made it. That said, even some left wing people who favor gun control have mixed feelings about some scenes in the film. However, it must be said that the movie is more than just a "guns are bad" propaganda flick. Moore debunks some common theories anti-gun activists have about guns too. For instance, he shows that there are other countries who also have a violent past and the right to bare arms too, yet where the amount of gun-related accidents and murders is far lower in comparison to the USA. The movie made Moore the most recognizable documentary maker on Earth, but this also made it more difficult for him to go out and film somewhere without immediately being stopped by guards who recognize him. It can even be argued whether the film actually did his career any good. On one hand his next movies attracted large crowds of curious people and supporters; on the other hand many Michael Moore haters refuse to watch his next films just because he made them. Which is unfortunate as his movies do address interesting topics and arguments that are open for debate.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Moore originally planned to criticize the National Rifle Association's "Guns Don't Kill, People Do" motto. He then learned that there were much higher gun ownership rates in countries other than America (which have much lower gun-related violence statistics), making him believe that their motto is more or less correct.
  • Tear Jerker: An interview with one Colorado man who remembers the massacre (and starts openly weeping) brings this to mind.
    • The emergency call from the Elementary School after the shooting of Kayla Rolland. Itís horrible hearing her voice: she's just frantic and hysterical the whole time, and praying to God to let her live.
      • That's only the beginning. It gets even worse once we find out the details of everything that led to the shooting - a boy found a gun in his drug dealer uncle's house, decided to take it to school, and accidentally shot Kayla in the middle of class. Evidently, the school's fate: closed down in 2002, demolished seven years later. It's not a cover-up. Just another shooting incident forgotten to time, like so many others.
    • During Moore's interview with Charlton Heston, Kayla's murder is brought up, causing Heston to deem the interview over. Moore doesn't do anything else, he only leaves a picture of Kayla Rolland by his door. Even though it's clearly set up for the camera in order to make Heston look bad it's still touching.
    • Marilyn Manson's statement when asked what he'd ask the shooters.
    • The biggest Tear Jerker of the whole film? Aside from the small victory of getting K-Mart to stop stocking handgun ammunition on their shelves, the film ended up accomplishing nothing. Nearly two decades after the Columbine Massacre, public gun massacres in America (whether in schools, cinemas or crowded public places) remain so common as to be almost mundane, the NRA continue to insist that their right to own any lethal weapons their want is more important than other people's right to not be murdered and that the only way to end the mindless slaughter is to arm everyone in the country, and politicians either lack the courage to decisively oppose them, or actively support them. And with every year the bodies pile higher...
  • Signature Scene: Marilyn Manson's interview, widely recognized as the moment that the general public saw him for the intelligent, eloquent man he was underneath his dark and edgy music and stage persona and the resulting shock-rock bogeyman label that Moral Guardians gave him.
  • Values Resonance: The message remains relevant in The New '10s, with further mass shootings and continued trouble passing laws meant to prevent them.