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Roger & Me tells the story of Flint, Michigan after General Motors chairman Roger Smith, shut down the GM plant leaving the entire town in financial ruin. It also tells the story of director Michael Moore's quest to find Smith and bring him to Flint to see the town's devastation. The documentary tells the idiocy, cowardice, heartlessness, and kissing up of the rich while a town tries anything, and I do mean anything, to get back on their feet. I saw this in my high school economics class and after watching parts of Moore's TV Nation ( also highly recommended ) I felt compelled to watch this again. Contains grisly scenes of a rabbit being slaughtered, which I find painful since I have a pet rabbit, and Smith delivering a Christmas speech about the warmth the holiday season provides, while superimposed over a family being evicted on Christmas Eve. Smith later resigned as chairman and will later on meet a man in a red suit, and he ain't Santa Claus. 9 out of 10.
This movie really showed me what America's free enterprise system is about.
Make your millions in producing automobiles in an American town, then run to
Mexico where labor is cheap, and not offer any jobs to Americans. I loved
it, very true, very deep.
I loved how Roger Smith dodged the film crews everytime they showed up. It was very good to show the effects of the plant closing shop. I never expected a true look into what happends to American workers.
I give this one 5 stars, and I realize now that our Free Enterprise System just keeps the poor, poor. And the wealthy get even more wealth. Our free enterprise system is a joke.
I grew up near Decatur, Il, a city that was devastated in the late 70's and
80's by downsizing in the auto industry, the migration of jobs south of the
border, and corruption in the giants of agribusiness. The city's economy
has never really recovered and has been on the frontlines of the labor
battles of this country, while the national media has ignored it. It bears
a close parallel to Flint, Michigan, as depicted in "Roger &
Moore goes back to his hometown and sees the effects of massive job loss, created by a company that cared more about executive stock options and bonuses, than the community it lived in. We meet people who have lost their jobs, benefits, and homes as a result of short-sighted decisions. With few alternatives that pay a living wage, the community spirals into decline. We see the arrogance of wealth, via lavish parties, while the poor are evicted from their homes. We watch as city leaders concoct one bizarre cosmetic scheme after another, without ever addressing the real roots of the economic problems of the city.
The film makes many valid points which still hold true and still occur. You can find fault with Moore's "ambush" approach and mockery of celebrities; but, Moore has usually made civil efforts to talk with these individuals, only to be ignored or driven off. So, he resorts to grandstanding tactics which brings attention to the issues he is pursuing. Also, the celebrities are so generally caught up in their own self importance, that they deserve the skewering they receive.
You can fault Moore's tactics and selective portrayal of an issue, but he does provoke discussion, which is usually his aim. In this, he is following the great tradition of the muckrakers, like Upton Sinclair, who were able to stimulate argument on vital topics and effect positive change. Moore is a great filmmaker and thought-provoking figure. Love him or hate him, he makes you focus on issues. Too bad politicians and executives don't.
I am quite shocked that no one else has commented on this film. This is
quite possibly one of the most important movies in the last 20 yrs.
Michael Moore by putting his own passion and blood into the making of
this movie, showing corporate greed at all levels from political to
civil , got an Oscar for this film and he pretty much cemented himself
as one of the bravest and strongest directors ever.
I don't even know where to start with the review. Shot on location in Flint Michigan, with real people including former corrupt President Ronald Reagan, this movie it as real as it gets.
It pretty much started the whole documentaries on exposing corporate greed and well the downhill and moral decline of America (also shown in "The Big One" and "Bowling for Columbine" (which won the Oscar for Michael Moore).
Before I get more into depth of the movie, I asked you to remember these image in your heads to show you how sad the situation in Flint Michigan both in 1989 and 2003 are:
In the movie while General Motors is showing profits of over a billion dollars,they disgusting laid off over 25,000 factory workers. I repeat General Motors was showing a profit, not a loss, yet they decided to lay of thousands of people basically giving them a death sentence.
Most factory workers didn't have the money to pay for their mortgage and were evicted,during one scene in the movie as many as 25 people in one day were evicted even on Christmas Eve.
To show the real disgusting situation. A poor and mentally disturbed woman by the name of Rhonda Britton is so desperate to get money for her kids that she tries to sell Rabbits as pets. When that doesn't work she ends literally killing these poor animals and selling them as meat!!!! Which includes skinning them alive!!! The real sad part is that there a million dollar GM hotel only a few yars from where this women is doing this acts to get any form of help for herself.
Basically Flint , Michigan as shown in the movie, from once a booming celestial center of action, is now a corrupt, poor , and crime infested city with no hope even amidst the lies of former Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Reagan's promise that they "would change the situation".
In fact Reagan as shown in the movie uses Flint basically as a campaign ploy to elect himself during the 1980's. It's disgusting.
Now the plot deals with General Motors and their disgusting actions of laying of well basically everyone who works for them in the factory. Even amidst Union groups like UAW , and booming profits, GM pulls the most disgusting acts reported in corporate history.
Undoubtedly other sick American companies like Exxon and Enron followed in GM's footsteps.
So Michael Moore seeing the situation that is happening, makes this movie as he puts it during the trailer "I did this movie to raise the spirits of the workers". Indeed he did, but more importantly he showed America and the world corporate greed up close and personal and the many people covering up the lie that all is well on GM.
For instance Anita Bryant, Bob Eubanks and Pat Boone are 3 disgusting American celebrities who basically are hired by GM to fool the town into thinking everythings nice at Flint Michigan.
They hire them for Carnivals, parades, tourism, nything. In Eubanks case as shown in the film, this self indulgent pig is promoting his newlywed game. Eubank is one of the first celebrities that Moore exposes. Eubanks at first seeing Moore doesn't think that Moore wont do much damage.
And thats the big mistake that everyone at Flint Michigan does as quoted in the commentary by Moore "getting an interview with these people was easy...because they just took look one look at me and figured oh this isn't going anywhere".
My God how wrong those people are. As stated in the first sentence where Eubanks shows his antisemetic joke, he obviously didn't think Moore's movie would have any impact. but furthermore, Eubanks is the typical example of every greedy American pig in the movie. He thinks because he has power he can treat and offend those who don't have power and those who aren't around to listen to his offensive remarks.
Again backed up by Moore's commentary "This people thought they could be offensive ecause the groups that they were being offensive too weren't there." True cowardism and Moore's shows that too.
The movie moves on to show the Union groups attempt to gain their jobs back and get GM to turn the situation around but they fail. One of the reasons they failed is because the Union Managers themselves kept giving concessions to GM, meaningly they gave into GM demands without getting anything in return.... True stupidity.
The movie then shows us Moore's attempts to talk to and question the main man behind the GM scandal Roger Smith, the chairman and Ceo of Gm (this old greedy bastard is no longer the head of Gm).
Moore's attempts go awry at first, apparently Smith has goons stopping him and people like Ralph Nader from exposing the greedy Smith.
Eventually though using the fact that people underestimate him Moore does meet Smith (for 2 minutes basically) before Smith hightails it ouf there and Moore is removed from security from the Gm building at Chrismas no less!!! Where Smith aware of the unemployment, and crime wave hitting the city as a result of the layoffs still seeks to spew his lies and image of Gm into the media.
However by the end of the film. Moore wins, TV Channels and programs become aware of the situation going on and give Moore credit for exposing the situation.
"Roger and Me" was shown at over 200 Theaters in America. It won several awards at Cannes, gave Michael Moore instant credibility not just as a director but a man, an American, someone who stood up for the rights of others, stood up to the corruption and greed and his area and did something about it.
Easily the funniest documentary of all time, this film takes a hard look at the common working man. So many elements in this film are excellent, and one gets to see the tough life these factory workers experience. From the cross action between Roger Smith and the workers getting evicted is one of the most surreal moments in a film full of them. While Michael Moore fiddled with the timeline egregiously, the tongue-in-cheek attitude most of the people exhibit is shocking. A movie for anyone who feels frustrated with the daily rat race.
The best documentary i have viewed. This is a powerful indictment of American Corporate greed and the results to the blue collar worker. Who pay the price by loosing there job with the only trade they knew how to do since joining the workforce. Yes, like the one user mentioned, Govt. has something to do with the way companies function with there laws, tax's, and tariffs. But you can't tell me that these rich companies with allot of political power in Govt. Can't just stand up and say, No. Your hurting our company with these laws. But why would they care. All Ceo's and upper management have there golden parachutes. You can say what you want about all of Moore's movies, but if they were really so full of crap like so many believe, Where are all the lawsuits. There's none, because for the most part he's telling the truth. People who hate Moore are the same, Well off Middle and or Upper class, with no worries. You won't find too many poor people or people who lost there only job they know how to do, calling Moore a fraud and bum. Because they know the truth of what greed does. The Gordon Gecko's of the world still exist. And thats a damn shame.
I saw this film at a second-run theatre not long after its initial
And not being a fan of documentaries, I must say I was incredibly
informed and even. (gasp!).entertained. Prior to this film, when I heard
word documentary, I usually conjured up images from Mutual of Omaha
landscapes and another scene of animals either mating or
My mother has always touted the merits of stories based on true events, and of course documentaries being 100% true, she finally found a film that she could whole-heartedly embrace and recommend to her son who at the time, preferred films of a more fantastic and less plausible nature.
Michael Moore, the "Me" in "Roger And Me" has a dry wit that can leave you rolling in the aisles with his dumbfounded disbelief in the face of human absurdity that he encounters almost everywhere he goes on his hunt for "Roger" Smith, the CEO of General Motors. Michael just wants to talk with Roger and ask him to visit Flint, Michigan, Michael's hometown, to see the effect that closing down all the automotive plants in Flint has had on the people who live there. That effect being at times incredibly depressing and at others, quite amusing. The most amusing moments coming from Roger Smith's repeated, successful but narrow evasion from the confrontational Michael Moore.
Is Michael Moore entirely unbiased? Hell, no. But he is intelligent, engaging and inherently humourous in his views and I'm glad there's someone like him out there. If after this film, you feel you need more, than all you must do is prime yourself with his book, "Downsize This" and follow it up with the simple yet powerful documentary, "The Big One". Michael Moore is also the man behind the short lived "TV Nation" which ran for two years on two different networks in the early 90s, and proved to be some of the most intelligent, thought-provoking material that ever hit the idiot box. There are tapes available of the show, which I own, and sadly cannot recommend due to the low technical recording quality, which doesn't do the fantastic content justice.
...Michael Moore should have stuck to the facts. I lived in the Detroit
area (Milford, the home of the GM Proving Grounds) from the early 70's
until 2002. The 80's were a rough decade for the auto industry.
Roger Smith became Chairman and CEO of GM in January, 1981. The man was an unmitigated disaster. Among some of the things he proposed was the elimination of GM's engineering division (pink slipping everyone). He didn't think that the world's largest automaker needed an in-house engineering capability. Absolutely moronic!
There were several other examples of Roger Smith's buffoonery. The viewing audience would have been better served had Mr. Moore stuck to the facts. There were several items in this film that were either staged or flat-out false (people who never worked for GM getting evicted, Pres. Reagan being quoted out of context, etc.). This is the typical tactic Mr. Moore uses in all his films.
The upshot? Mr. Moore is a gifted filmmaker and able storyteller. Unfortunately, he doesn't let the facts get in the way of the point he's trying to make. There was no shortage of material on what a moron Roger Smith was (is?). Had Mr. Moore kept with the facts, Roger & Me would not just be entertaining, it would have the added benefit of being factual.
Flint is small town that was for many years a extension to General
Motors factory. One morning boss of Genergal Motor Roger Smith woke
up and discover the fact that closing the factory and fire of 30,000
people can make better business than carry on with production, despite
the fact that factory didn't bring any losses.
"Roger and Me" is document where Michael Moore report the slow but systematic fall of his hometown because of Roger Smith decision. Moore just want one thing bring Roger Smith to the town, so he can see with his own eyes the fallout. I wont spoiler, let me just say the one of last scene of this movie is very eerie and surreal.
This is very interesting document, when every reported thing is scary, curious and funny. My favorite moment is interview with women breeding rabbits (for pets, and for meat), but all of this encounters with Flint's peasants are at least informative. Yeah, it's a manipulation by Moore like always (I hate his Fahrenheit because of that), but here he selected and arranged the moment in very powerful way. The situation is real, and the horror of it its more then real, when we see this hopeless, not very bright people who where just because of one man decision put on the highway to hell.
And of course this movie is all about Moore. He is everywhere, non stop commenting, but the god-crusader from last scene of "Bowling for columbine" (Heston) is no where near here, and that's a good thing. This movie is just a well aimed shot, a punk-rock scream for a social injustice. This is art for document with power to stir up emotion and show people ugly things just the way they are: evictions, parades, idiotic city decision ignorance, foolishness, powerlessness its all powerful evil, and the last scene with very sad Christmas Carol its surreal.
michael moore is a true genius. he captures the truth behind many issues that most people don't even realize. through his brilliant filmmaking, he reveals how ignorant people can be. he truly shines a new light on the issue of big business vs. working class. this is a must-see, not only for michigan residents, but for everyone.
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