Michael Moore was born in Flint, Michigan April 23, 1954, but was not raised there. Contrary to popular belief, he was actually raised in Davison, Michigan. He studied journalism at the University of Michigan-Flint, and also pursued other hobbies such as gun shooting, for which he even won a competition. Michael began his journalistic career writing for the school newspaper "The Michigan Times," and after dropping out of college briefly worked as editor for "Mother Jones."
He then turned to filmmaking, and to earn the money for the budget of his first film Roger & Me (1989) he ran neighborhood bingo games. The success of this film launched his career as one of America's best-known and most controversial documentarians. He has produced a string of documentary films and TV series predominantly about the same subject: attacks on corrupt politicians and greedy business corporations. He landed his first big hit with Bowling for Columbine (2002) about the bad points of the right to bear arms in America, which earned him an Oscar and a big reputation. He then shook the world with his even bigger hit Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), making fun of President George W. Bush. This is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. Michael is known for having the guts to give his opinion in public, which not many people are courageous enough to do, and for that is respected by many.
|Kathleen Glynn||(19 October 1991 - present) 1 child|
Usually wears a baseball cap and glasses
Often mentions or shows his hometown of Flint, Michigan in his films
Famous for his provocative populist documentaries that are unapologetic attacks on social wrongs, including those he considers callous business corporations and opportunistic right wing politicians.
Usually wears jeans and sneakers
Narrates all of his documentaries in the first person
Often uses classic film clips and music for juxtaposition
Was arrested during filming of the video "Sleep Now In The Fire" by Rage Against the Machine, protesting Wall Street and the investment of American money overseas (i.e. in hostile and Communist countries). The filming also shut down the New York Stock Exchange early that day when band members tried to enter the floor uninvited.
It was announced on March 13, 2002, his book "Stupid White Men...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation" had reached #1 on the New York Times non-fiction list.
Briefly served as both editor and columnist for Mother Jones magazine.
Raised money for the production of his first film, Roger & Me (1989), by running neighborhood bingo games in his house.
Is a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association. Moore told Tim Russert that he joined so as to be elected its president and then dismantle the organization.
On the day after his infamous "Oscar Backlash", where he attacked both George W. Bush and the Iraq war, attendance for his movie Bowling for Columbine (2002) went up 110%. The following weekend, the box office for the film was up 73%.
Throughout his film Bowling for Columbine (2002), Moore proudly sports a Michigan State University baseball hat.
Has a daughter, Natalie.
Lives in New York City.
Elected to Davison, Michigan, board of education at age 18; this is described and elaborated upon in chapter 5 "Idiot Nation" in his book "Stupid White Men".
His movie Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) was shown at the Cannes Film festival, making it the most sought-after movie there. [May 2004]
Attended the University of Michigan-Flint in the 1970s.
Supported Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential elections.
Although he owns a VW Beetle, he is now said to travel about by chauffered limo.
Early in Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) a celebrity-filled rally for Al Gore is shown and Moore (in his narration) refers to Ben Affleck, "Little Stevie" Wonder, and "the guy from Taxi Driver (1976)," that "guy" being Robert De Niro. This was perhaps a bit of joke because Taxi Driver (1976) is Moore's favorite film and De Niro is one of the actors Moore respects the most.
Senator John McCain referred to him as a "disingenuous filmmaker" during his speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Moore, who was present at the convention in the press area, stood and waved both arms at the crowd, which started chanting "four more years!" Moore then flashed a sign language L (for "loser") at the crowd and, according to "The Guardian" newspaper, said, "Two more months!"
While the press tried to pit Moore and his Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) against Mel Gibson and his The Passion of the Christ (2004) against each other as the representation of "blue" and "red" states in the election year of 2004, the two men get along well personally and find their opposition to be an invention of the press. Actually Moore, a practicing Catholic, loved "Passion" and saw it many times and Gibson, who opposed the invasion of Iraq despite his conservative reputation, greatly enjoyed "Fahrenheit."
Another of his favorite films is also his favorite documentary, Hearts and Minds (1974).
After the box office failure of Canadian Bacon (1995), a very depressed Moore briefly contemplated early retirement. However, famous producer rep John Pierson and filmmaker Kevin Smith changed Moore's mind and gave him inspiration during Pierson's "Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes" book tour. Smith could identify with Moore's grief, having just experienced the box office failure of Mallrats (1995).
2007 - Ranked #27 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
Though born in Flint, it is not actually his hometown. He grew up 10 miles east of Flint in Davison, which doesn't have a hospital.
Having completed Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), he has hinted that he may take a break from documentary filmmaking and that his next project will be a feature film. He's written two screenplays he'd like to get made, a comedy and a thriller.
Due to his portly demeanor, Moore has always been uncomfortable seeing himself on film, thus, a prominent poster in his production office reads: "When in doubt - cut me out!".
Moore's 2011 autobiography "Here Comes Trouble" features a picture of him as a 13-month-old boy on the cover.
I like America to some extent. Take the Japanese for instance. They are complicated and tend to be reserved in expressing themselves. Sometimes, it is difficult for me to understand them. Americans are simple and clear. They are charming people. You will understand how good an individual American is. What I am not satisfied with America is that the nation cannot control the government and economy. Only a handful of people have the power to control the country.
I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. That's why I've been kicked from one network to the next: I won't give in.
Americans, when they see Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), will see things they have never seen before.
In response to bootleg copies of the movie popping up: "Is it wrong for someone who's bought a film on DVD to let a friend watch it for free? Of course it's not. It never has been and never will be. I think information, art and ideas should be shared. I don't agree with the copyright laws, and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that. I do well enough already, and I made this film because I want the world to change. The more people who see it, the better, so I'm happy this is happening."
"There is no terrorist threat!".
About his follow-up film to Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) and the re-election of President George W. Bush, where Bush won 51% of the popular vote: "We want to get cameras rolling now and have it ready in two, three years. We want to document it. Fifty-one per cent of the American people lacked information (in this election), and we want to educate and enlighten them. They weren't told the truth. We're communicators and it's up to us to start doing it now. The official mourning period is over today, and there is a silver lining: George W. Bush is prohibited by law from running (for presidency) again."
Thousands of Republicans turned to me chanting "Four more years.' I thought, 'That's strange, Republicans are usually good at math, but they're off by a few dozen months. Bush only has two months left.' So I held up two fingers to correct their miscalculation. But that just drove them into more of a frenzy.
Upon winning his Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine (2002): "On behalf of our producers, Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to say that they're here in solidarity with me because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. [Interrupted by mingled boos and cheering] And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much."
I thought it was a powerful piece of filmmaking. I'm a practicing Catholic, and you know I think Mel and I may be from different wings of the Catholic Church. My film might have been called 'The Compassion of the Christ.'" - On The Passion of the Christ (2004)
I remember going back to my hotel room that night, where they had all the pundits on post-Oscar and they were all like, 'That's the end of Michael Moore. That's the last we'll see of him.' By the end of the night, I believed it. I thought, 'No one is going to want to work with me in this town. I just ruined their big party.' We're all supposed to ignore that the war is going on and just have a party. Well, now here we three years later and it's not just me. It's a few other people saying that we weren't told the truth. - On The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) (TV)
We've spent the better part of the year shooting our next movie, Sicko (2007). As we've done with our other films, we don't discuss them while we are making them. If people ask, we tell them 'Sicko' is a comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth.
When I'm shooting a movie, I'm always in an invisible theater seat. I respect the fact that people have worked hard all week and want to go to the movies on the weekend and be entertained. But the struggle for me does not come between politics and entertainment, because I know that if I succeed in making an entertaining and funny or sad film, the things I want to say politically will come through very strong. If there ever is a struggle, making a good movie will always supersede the need to be noble.
Having been bumped from Larry King last night for Paris Hilton, I am beginning to take things personally. The priorities in this country are seriously askew.
About Sicko (2007): I made Bowling for Columbine (2002) in the hope the school shootings would stop and that we would address the issue of how easy it is to get a gun in the United States and, tragically, those school shootings continue. I made Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) and I said that we'd been led to a war under false pretense. I said it on the Oscar stage and I was booed off. It's my profound hope that people will listen this time.
I think [homophobia is] a very ripe subject for someone like me to make a movie about. Simply because we are not there yet and it remains one of the last open wounds on our soul that we are not willing to fix yet... If you believe in equality, if you believe in standing up for the rights of all, especially for people most affected by bigotry and discrimination, then you have no choice but to be present and accounted for when it comes to standing up for gays and lesbians in our society.
I am not sure what I am going to do for my next film, but I certainly believe that I have no right to tell another couple whether they can or cannot be married. That is simply not allowed in my ethical book of standards. I am a very spiritual person - I don't talk about it publicly that much, but I went to the seminary when I was in high school; I read the New Testament. And let me tell you something: There is nowhere in the four Gospels where Jesus uses the word homosexual, nor the word abortion. The right wing has appropriated this guy. It makes you think, what someone can do in your name a thousand years from now. And they have used him to attack gays and lesbians, when he never said a single word against people who are homosexual. Anyone who professes to be a Christian and does that is certainly not following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
People want to see documentaries, but there's a disconnect between that desire and the exhibitors out there. We're not asking for charity. This could be on the 15th screen of a multiplex that would otherwise have the sixth showing of the new Harry Potter movie. Some of these films make $200 or $300 per screen.
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy". They are the Revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.
Horatio Alger must die! We're addicted to this happy myth...that anyone can make it in America, and make it big...Listen friends, you have to face the truth: You are never going to be rich...The system is rigged in favor of the few, and your name is not among them, not now and not ever.
[on being an altar boy, carrying the incense censer] This had all my favorite activities rolled into one: fire, smoke and emitting a strange odor.
We have got to get more documentaries in the theaters. Distribution in this country sucks.
It's not envy, it's war, it's a class war that's been perpetrated by the rich on to everyone else. The class war is one they started. The mistake they made to deal with the racial part of this is, um, their boots have been on the necks of people of color since we began. This is a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves, so alright, we started with a racial problem.
[observation, 2013, on 'Bowling for Columbine''] I never thought I would have to, a decade later, stand here and say that that film of mine did no good. That, to me, is personally heartbreaking. Every word in it stands true to this day, which is the saddest thing.
(July 2007) Bellaire, Michigan
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