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Resist the temptation to be polarized by the title. First and foremost,
this documentary has a non-adversarial tone that is refreshing and
well-executed. The title is truly terrible from a marketing
perspective, but it's there for two very good reasons:
1) It is an extremely ironic jab aimed at the growing number of people who shun rational debate in favor of screaming shrilly that they are right and everyone who opposes their views is evil, be they "Conservative" or "Liberal". I promise you that this film has none of that, and in fact it is that attitude (why people have it, why it's a bad thing) that this film spends the most time examining.
2) In the end, the question of how Moore feels about America seems to keep coming up throughout Mike Wilson's search and he goes to experts and common-folk alike to get their honest opinions, often without telling them the title of his film (at first) so-as not to influence their response.
This movie will leave you feeling good in a way you haven't realized you've been missing, and it gives a fresh new take on the documentary film genre that's brings it back to its roots. It proves that documentary filmmakers taking the "high road" can still entertain their audience, and perhaps even stimulate discussion between opposing viewpoints in a way no "low-road" documentary ever could.
I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys documentaries and doubly so for anyone who has an opinion on Moore, because chances are that no matter what your opinion of Moore is, messiah or madman, after this film you will find yourself revising it, at least a little bit.
P.S.: Sadly the vote breakdown at the time of this writing seems to be split almost exclusively between 10's and 1's. I implore people to actually SEE this movie and make sure they vote their honest opinion AFTERWARDS instead of just giving their opinion of the title. This film deserves that much, at least.
Even if you are a Michael Moore supporter, you can't help but scratch
your head about the famous "documentarian" after watching Michael
Wilson's film. Obviously, this documentary was made as a result of
Moore's Farenheit 911, although aspects of it is similar to Roger & Me.
Wilson could have, and possibly should have titled his film, "Michael &
Me" since the most controversial aspect of it is the title itself.
Certainly, Moore could not have taken issue with such a title since he
himself lifted his film's title from Ray Bradbury's classic "Farenheit
Overall, it is a highly entertaining examination of Moore's rationale behind his film making style and subject matter. Instead of leading the audience to a single, specific and politically one-sided conclusion as Moore's films do, it challenges the audience to think for themselves and not necessarily take the word of the film maker as gospel,including Wilson's film. I feel the film maker respected my intelligence and my time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The average rating is so far from reasonable that one can only conclude
that many who voted did not actually see the film, and were just
responding to the provocative title.
This sort of behavior is of course in line with many of the themes presented in the film. Not so different from the scene where the filmmaker is shouted down after asking Micheal Moore a question. Micheal Moore is a zealot magnet, so getting a crowd to judge the film simply on its merits is too much to hope for. I would suggest that the title chosen for the film was also a mistake, since it prevents the film from being taken seriously from the start. Something like "Micheal and me" would have been more appropriate, though it would not have attracted as much media attention. I have shown the film to big Farenheit 911 fans, and even they found merits in it. Anyone who enjoyed "Roger and me" (as I did) would particularly appreciate this film for the way it turns the cameras around on Moore some 18 years later. It's worth giving this film a chance, regardless of how you feel about Moore.
I know... you look at the title and cringe. Either you love the title
because you hate the guy, or you hate the movie already because you
But I had been following this kid (not really a kid - probably late 20s) for a while. He followed his dream - he wanted to make movies. He lost his job, spent all of his money - just to make the film.
So I did something I never do - I bought the movie without seeing it. Ebert and Roeper gave it two thumbs up, so I knew it wouldn't be a total waste. I was pleasantly surprised.
It wasn't an all out attack on Moore. It did criticize his methods (the more shady ones) and acknowledged his talent. The movie was more of a feel good story... he talks to real people and funny things happen. The director (Mike Wilson) is completely open and honest about himself and his shortcomings. It wasn't laugh out loud humor (although Penn Gillette, who's in quite a bit of it IS laugh out loud funny at parts).
The best part of this movie is that you are smiling at the end of it. It actually felt good to help this guy achieve his dream of making a movie and pocketing some coin. You just know he is a decent guy - at one point he sends an apology email to an interviewee because he feels badly about deceiving him.
This movie is worth your investment if you like a good story and want honest-to-goodness independent entertainment. I am a movie snob and I really recommend it to anyone who has a few bucks to spend after Christmas.
I have to say that I am not a fan of Michael Moore. He makes very
entertaining films, he has a good sense of humor, but it is an insult
to call him a true documentary filmmaker. His films are really
propaganda pieces to promote him as a working class hero. He makes
himself the story. This film is by Michael Wilson, a guy who wanted to
give Moore a taste of his own medicine. This documentary follows
Wilson's attempts to interview Moore, a la Moore's own film Roger and
Me. He is avoided by Moore at every turn, at one point he attends a
speech by Moore, and in an open question session tells Moore the title
of his film, and Moore shouts him down. It is a tactic that Moore uses,
but when Wilson puts him on the spot he lashes out. It is ironic that a
man who has become a multi millionaire by confronting people hates when
it is done to him. It was great to see Wilson interview Moore
supporters after the incident, and disagree with the way Moore had
treated him. They were Moore supporters but had no problem with someone
that disagreed with them.
To be fair, Wilson borrows a lot from Moore's style, the film is very much like Moore's own work. The difference is the tone, it is obvious that Wilson is not a Moore fan, he views America with a more positive perspective, for some people that would mean that Wilson is some right wing nut. He makes no real political proclamations, his point is that we should be able to debate without being so shrill. Both sides have bomb throwers, Moore is really just that, a bomb thrower that wants to wallow in how bad it is in America without offering any solutions. The right has Ann Coulter, she is just as bad as Moore. This film is not scandalous or inflammatory in any way, it does point out that Moore has every right to say what he has to say, but it exposes how he slickly puts his films together to get his messages across. He seems to be a very savvy and cynical filmmaker. Michal Wilson chooses to view his country in a hopeful light, Moore sees it in a bad way. Does "Michael Moore Hate America"?, as the titles says, I don't know, but this film makes a pretty good argument. But what this film does is that it champions his right to think and say what he wants, and that is the way it should be.
I've seen three or four Michael Moore films. While I often hear people deride Moore, I can't deny his importance as a documentarian--he literally changed the face of documentary film-making, for good or ill. For example, "Super Size Me" or "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" would not have existed without Moore first. Having said that, there is much to criticize about Moore. I think only the most hardened partisan wouldn't realize that he plays fast and loose with the truth. This film exposes some of the problems with Moore's films. Should that disqualify Moore? No. But it should serve as a warning to all people that when they view a documentary they should be on their guard. All documentaries, no matter how objective they appear on the surface, have been manipulated. I will agree that there are levels of truthfulness, but no one can ever achieve complete objectivity, and you're naive if you think a documentary can be a window on the world. At least Moore doesn't hide that he has a perspective. (And I must tell you that I'm a conservative, so I don't generally care for his perspective.) As a final note, I think the title of this film is horrible: it's almost false advertising because Wilson's documentary is much milder. The title prepares you for a conservative hatchet job. I would have advised Wilson to come up with something different. ("Bowling for Michael"? I don't know.)
I always knew Michael Moore distorted things, but it never really bothered me. I like Bowling For Columbine, despite the gimmicks and misrepresentation that goes on in it. Those films (while not "documentaries) are a sort of "stand up" journalism and it was entertaining at least. F/11 was an inappropriate forum for Moore's style, went too far and was simply tasteless. That said, I don't hate Michael Moore, I sort of pity him. Anyway... I was reluctant to see this movie mainly and shallowly because of the title, but it was actually pretty good. There were a couple sophomoric parts I disagreed with, but the guy who made it (Mike Wilson) seems like a genuine guy, and is not mean spirited at all. The movie is not really about Moore, but rather what America means to Wilson. He is a very simple person with simple views - not stupid, but simple. The parts that involve Michael Moore are essentially about his approach to documentary making, and what objectivity means - especially if one is pursuing it. It's worth a watch - don't get freaked out by the title. Wilson explains the title is more a comment on the shrillness of political discourse in America right now. (I would have gone with a different title still.) All in all go rent it.
Micheal Wilson's film demonstrates that the little guy can still have
his say. It's NOT about liberal or conservative. It's a thoughtful
examination of the difference between making documentary films and
making propaganda films. It is NOT about politics. It's about political
Go see this movie or rent the CD! Couples who disagree about gun control should see it. Democrats who are married to Republicans should see it. Pot smokers should see it. Mormons should see it. The rich and powerful should see it. Most of all Michael Moore should see it. It's not a mean spirited movie at all, Michael. It won't hurt your feelings but it will make you think.
Michael Moore claims to speak for the common folk. This movie gives the common folk the chance to speak for themselves.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, so I've been unable so far to avoid Michael Moore's
documentaries, for the most part. However, what I have been roughly
successful at avoiding is anti-Michael Moore documentaries. I mean, why
even bother watching Fahrenhype 9/11? All you need to do to see that
Fahrenheit 9/11 is complete bullshit is to watch it and not be so
stupid as to claim, "Well, he misrepresents things, but as long as the
message is getting out there, then..." I'm sorry, the message is the
medium, and Moore skews it up every time.
However, I actually wanted to see this one because it seemed like a pretty good idea: a filmmaker named Michael Wilson gives "Michael Moore a taste of his own medicine" by following him around, Roger & Me style, asking for an interview. Surprise of all surprises: he never gets it.
The whole point here being the revealing of Moore's aggressive and confrontational style by the use of it on Moore himself, very simply: nobody can stand up for themselves when they suddenly find a camera and a microphone in their face. Moore's subjects can't do it; Moore can't do it. It is actually this approach as a whole that angers me the most about Moore, because if he ever did that to me I would punch him in the face.
However, the title isn't entirely ironic; every now and then, especially during the beginning, Wilson states, "But, you know, he kinda does." The absolute best instance of this, however, is when Wilson is interviewing Albert Maysles (yes, THE Albert Maysles), and Maysles is talking about how a documentary filmmaker should approach his topics in terms of curiosity and love instead of judgment and hate, and Wilson's producer behind the camera asks Wilson to give Maysles the title of the film he's making, and Maysles' reaction to it? "Well... I think he (Michael Moore) does... (hate America)." That scene is great. That scene is great because it has that same approach to rhetoric that Moore has in all of his movies, but this time it makes Moore look bad and, even more importantly, a producer, literally behind the camera, asks Wilson on the spot to come out truthfully about what he's trying to do to a person who has just said something that could be taken as against the idea or theme of the movie, and Wilson laughs, says, "I'm being put on the spot," and then does it--something that I do believe Moore could never, ever, do.
That said, Michael Moore Hates America is also kind of obnoxious in that the mere act of making a documentary against Michael Moore creates the idea that Michael Moore is stating things so seriously that stuff needs to be said against him--in other words, works him out to be more important than I honestly think that he is. This is why I avoid anti-Moore documentaries and why I hope other people avoid them (as well as Moore documentaries) as well. Also, watching this film does become, after a while, an exercise in seeing how many people can say, "I don't agree with him, but the fact that he can say it is what makes this country great." That gets tiresome, and let's face it: these subjects would punch Moore in the face, too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Interesting film even that the title is provocative. Someone ones said
that "cinema lies 25 times a second" - that should always be
remembered. Moore's documents, and documents in general, always
reflects the documentarist's own visions and ideas. When someone goes
on to make a document they usually have a argument which they try to
prove and that makes the person prejudiced. Document never tells the
truth and nothing but the truth - there is always things which are not
filmed or are left on the editing room floor.
Wilson was still quite aware of the difficulty of objectivity and along the document he realized that. Moore should have given the guy an interview - he seems to be intelligent person who can stand up for his arguments and I don't see why he was avoiding Wilson...
Penn Jillette and old-documentarist-guy had the most smartest comments in the film - otherwise there was lots of repeated message that Moore is an a-hole - opinion which should be clear just by knowing the title of the film.
It's funny how American's thing that they are the most free nation in the world and that people in other countries can't fulfill their dreams and be anything they want. I guess that's the part of American (day)dream.:) Hard work is much appreciate in France, Sweden and in Finland too and sometimes you can even be successful outside of America - it's hard to believe, but it's true!
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