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Creator / Michael Moore

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"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 Moore, winning the Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine

Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) 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. 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 (1989): 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 then–General 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 (1995): 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 (1998): Follows Moore on his book tour for the best-seller "Downsize 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 CEOs 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 (2002): 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 (2004): 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 (2007): 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 (2009): This film studies the ongoing recession and, naturally, capitalism itself, particularly regarding the United States. Fittingly, it failed to recoup its US$20-million budget in its theatrical release.
  • Where to Invade Next (2015): A film that Moore mostly shot overseas in various European countries, taking a look at several specific social and institutional improvements those countries have made that the United States is comparatively lagging behind on.
  • Michael Moore in TrumpLand (2016): A one-man live performance filmed not long before the 2016 American Presidential Election. While it does make a few jokes about Donald Trump, it mostly deals with his support of presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.
  • Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018): A Spiritual Successor to Fahrenheit 9/11, focusing on the election and first year of Donald Trump instead of George W. Bush, using the day of the election as its title.

Moore also created and hosted two satirical TV series, TV Nation (1994-95) and The Awful Truth (1999-2000).

Tropes relevant to Moore and/or his work:

  • Alliterative Name: Michael Moore.
  • Author Tract: Moore makes no effort to hide the fact that his documentaries are made to promote his personal agendas, and it would take a staggering lack of perception to be caught off-guard by how overtly liberal they are.
  • Banned in China: Invoked so it can be 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.
  • Box Office Bomb: Capitalism: A Love Story. Budget, $20 million. Box office, $14,363,397 (domestic), $17.4 million (worldwide). Not helping was that it didn't screen in enough theaters. The movie is eventually leaked onto Youtube and never contested.
  • The Cameo:
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Compassionate Critic: Moore genuinely loves and believes in America as a nation and much of his criticism is frustration of in his opinion the nation's failure to live up the ideals it has set for itself so often in the past.
  • Creator Killer: Capitalism: A Love Story which bombed at the box office despite favorable reviews. It would take him six years to recover and his next film only had a limited release. Although its been speculated he simply wasn't as motivated to make films due to there not being a president he hated in office.
  • Cultural Cringe: This American doesn't have many nice things to say about American infrastructure, especially to those above the working class.
  • Culturally Religious: Moore was raised as a Catholic and still identifies as such, though he disagrees with the Church's official stance on abortion and LGBT rights.
  • Darker and Edgier: Fahrenheit 11/9 is this. While all of his documentaries pull no punches on the social issues that plague America, in this one Moore specifically warns of America's collapse as a nation.
  • Godwin's Law: He compares Trump's rise to power to that of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Fahrenheit 11/9.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: He once recounted an anecdote in which he met Bob Dole for the first time, and unthinkingly held out his right hand in order to shake hands, forgetting that Dole had lost the use of his right hand following a war injury. Moore hurriedly retracted his right hand and offered his left instead, which Dole accepted.
  • Hero-Worshipper: To FDR, and to UAW workers, even workers in general.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Dissected in Bowling For Columbine. Moore views the idea that "violent video games caused the Columbine shooting" to be spurious, wondering why something else couldn't be blamed for it instead, like bowling (hence the name of the movie), since the two Columbine shooters were avid youth bowlers.
  • Iconic Item: His Detroit Tigers baseball cap.
  • Ignored Expert: Moore, a native of Flint, Michigan, was one of the few mainstream commentators who accurately predicted the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election and the fall of the "blue wall", and was especially critical of ivory tower Democrats who were unaware of how much anti-establishment resentment there was against them in the country.
  • 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.
    You know I've always thought it's very ironic that I'm able to do all this and yet what am I on? I'm on networks. I'm distributed by studios that are owned by large corporate entities. Now why would they put me out there when I am opposed to everything that they stand for? And I spend my time on their dime opposing what they believe in. Okay? Well it's because they don’t believe in anything. They put me on there because they know that there's millions of people that want to see my film or watch the TV show and so they're going to make money. And I've been able to get my stuff out there because I'm driving my truck through this incredible flaw in capitalism: the greed flaw. The thing that says the rich man will sell you the rope to hang himself with if he think he can make a buck off it. Well, I'm the rope. I hope. I'm part of the rope. And they also believe that when people watch my stuff, or maybe watch this film, or whatever, they think that, well you know what, they'll watch this and they wont do anything because we’ve done such a good job of numbing their minds and dumbing them down you know they'll never affect... People aren't going to leave the couch and go and do something political. They're convinced of that. I'm convinced of the opposite. I'm convinced that a few people are going to leave this movie theatre or get up off the couch and go and do something, anything, to get this world back in our hands.
  • Manipulative Editing: The most frequent criticism of his work. A famous example is in Fahrenheit 911 where he asks a congressman if he would send his son to Iraq. The camera cuts to black implying it was an Armor-Piercing Question, but the congressman actually responded that he had a nephew currently serving in Afghanistan. The congressman in question was not happy about his depiction.
  • Mood Whiplash: Roger & Me begins by showing Michael growing up in the Flint area and later finding work in San Francisco ... 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: 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. He will often use this general demeanor to appear more inoffensive during interviews in an apparent attempt to get his guests to open up.
  • 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.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In Fahrenheit 11/9, in regards to Donald Trump's election:
    "How. The fuck. Did this happen?"
  • 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: His style of documentary usually involves recording himself investigating a subject rather than putting the subject center stage. This has helped market his films and build himself into a celebrity, though some critics state that it's just self-indulgence.
  • 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, with Canada also having more restrictive gun laws on average).
  • Strawman Political: Often used in his works, for obvious reasons.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Invoked - he accuses his audience of this in his book "Stupid White Men"; after releasing "Roger & Me", Moore received vast levels of hatred and confusion for having a scene where a rabbit was clubbed to death for meat, but no one ever made the slightest complaint to him about an African-American man being shot to death by police a few scenes later, implying they had come to accept that as normal.
  • White-Collar Crime: One of his chief targets throughout his work is corporate crime.