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My guess is that most of the people giving this film a low score hasn't
seen it and just doesn't like what Michael Moore represents. I
encourage them to actually see the film because everyone has a right to
know the truth. The truth is this is the most important film ever made
because it outlines the route problem of a lot of problems.
I was lucky enough to catch the North American premier last night at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sitting in front of me was a man who seemed to be there out of obligation to his girl friend. Before the film started I heard him comment that he hated Moore, wasn't happy about having to see one of his "propaganda films". After the film when the lights came back on he was quiet and looked as though his world had been shattered. He joined the crowd in a 5 minute standing ovation and I realized this is not just another Michael Moore film.
There were moments in this film when I felt sick as I learnt about the cruel calculated actions of people who I had once believed were the good guys. I watched family's lives be destroyed by a system they had all served. I saw clips of footage so alarming that I should have seen them a dozen times on the news when they first happened. Thanks to the kind of news we now have I had never even heard of most of the examples shown in the film. I promise you that no matter what political party you support there will be at least of few parts of this film where you will see facts that you'll feel you had a right to know about sooner.
That is what makes this film so important, because most of it is about stuff you have never heard about and whether you like the guy delivering the news or not you need to see what the media hasn't been showing you. I can't promise you'll like the film but as a human being you owe it to yourself to watch this film and decide for yourself what you really think about Capitalism.
I saw the movie last night at a free screening. The theater was packed
and after the movie started you could not hear a sound from the
audience for the rest of the two hours besides two or three times when
You could feel that everybody in the audience really got the message.
I only hope that Michael's parting words will come true and everybody will join his fight. As long as we are being led like pigs to the slaughter nothing will change. We have to stand up against the insurance companies, the exploiting employers, the greedy merchants, the predatory lenders. If we all say no, things will change.
I will not be punished again for pre-existent conditions, car accidents caused by somebody else, retributions because somebody stole my wallet and I was punished. I will not fall buy trash anymore which breaks in a short time and cannot be repaired. I will not be talked into buying useless gimmicks which change every few months. etc.etc.
Thank you Michael Moore, without you, I would have lost hope a long time ago.
Economics. Who in their right mind would try and make a feature length
film about that subject? Michael Moore's previous work that included
subjects about guns, General Motors, and George W. Bush, to the
audience these were clear points for us to identify with, or in most
In his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore attempts demystify what economics and capitalism really mean to the vast majority of Americans. This is no easy feat. I must admit the first quarter of the film had me doubting if he would secede. I am not going to sit by and say that people who took out adjustable rate mortgages and then were foreclosed are not at all to blame. They bear a good share of personal responsibility. But so do the lenders who were drooling to make a profit via the art of deception.
Soon afterwards we are presented with an example of capitalism gone awry. A judge in a US town was locking up juvenile offenders, for "crimes" such as throwing meat or criticizing a vice-principal online. The prison was a privately run corporation that was sending financial kickbacks to the very judge who was locking these kids up on absurd charges. Granted this was just one example, but a shocking one that could make you question just what are American values. This is where the film really started to get interesting. Are capitalism and Christianity compatible? What becomes of capitalism when you strip out regulation? Who actually controls the government of The United States of America, the top 1% or the bottom 95%? When the markets crashed last fall and the banks cried uncle, where was the oversight by our elected officials regarding the bailout funds?
These are questions, and some answers, that make Moore's documentary effective and engaging. While he is reflecting upon the past he is also asking us, what are we going to do about it in the future?
I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was very impressed with the combination of comedy, tragedy, and historical explanation. Yes, there is a bit (or more) of playing to the camera by Moore himself--however, I enjoyed the grandstanding--kind of an investigative revenge fantasy to physically call attention to one of the biggest crime scenes ever. While the use of 1950s instructional film segments is played for laughs, other historical footage is literally breath-taking. My NY audience was utterly silent when we saw what FDR wanted to do, and might have done, had he lived longer. MY REQUEST, at least for the DVD version, would be to have more labels on the lesser-known political figures, so we could more readily identify the few, brave souls who spoke out in vain. I plan to see it again.
Reading some of the other reviews of Capitalism: A Love Story, it soon
becomes clear that those leaving low scores either haven't seen the
film or have a particular agenda to smear the movie - one reviewer
seems to think Angela Merkel's Germany (a centre right politician!) is
'Socialist'! It is this deliberate dumbing down in America of issues
surrounding what capitalism is and does (as opposed to socialism) that
enabled the conditions for the banks to exploit the worst off in
American society and force the taxpayers to foot the bill by bailing
them out - and why Americans are still without a universal free
healthcare system. Moore takes great pains, and succeeds, in
highlighting how this culture of demonising anything that criticises
rampant and unregulated free market economics has been firmly
established in US society. He has clearly undertaken a measure of
research in the production - numerous sources/interviews and facts are
used in the narrative - but the best thing for me was that he still
manages to keep the more complicated aspects of banking and loans
extremely accessible (I'm hopeless at maths!).
Comments that Moore is a socialist are extremely juvenile - Moore is a socialist in the same way that Ghandi was a terrorist or Jesus was a trouble maker.
All in all a very informative and inspiring documentary that dares to mention the elephant taking a big dump in the room.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In his new film, 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' Moore's focus is more
basic: the fundamental economic system, which is also political. Or is
it just "our way of life"? For all the anger and sense of wrong of the
pushed-through "taxpayer" bailouts of Wall Street investment bankers,
the foreclosures, and the skyrocketing American unemployment, this film
doesn't feel as urgent as 'Fahrenheit' or as well-researched (and
freshly informative) as Sicko. Nonetheless it is more basic and for the
first time Moore focuses on morals. He goes to the Catholic priest who
married him and his wife, the one who married his sister-in-law, and
their bishop, and all declare that capitalism advocates values that are
un-Christian. (If capitalism encourages greed, greed is avarice, and
avarice is one of the seven deadly sins.)
This is touchy stuff, but it seems that the director felt the moment was ripe to bring it up. He was proved more than right when the financial meltdown came in late 2008: this was a sign that the greed was destroying us. And for a change, certain words seemed no longer taboo. Moore noted that Bush made a speech touting the capitalist system and while campaigning Obama said something about sharing the wealth that led the opposition to accuse him of being a socialist. A socialist! The word could as well be Satanist or pedophile as far as US conservatives are concerned. It's so inflammatory in this country Moore himself doesn't dare use the word of himself. When asked if he was a socialist by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! at the end of an hour-long interview there was an awkward silence. Moore said, "I'm a heterosexual. . .I'm overweight. . . ." and then the program ran out of time. They say in Canada he isn't so reticent.
As he tells it Moore was already working on this film when the meltdown came. The average guy sees the government bailouts as greed. Some progressive economists, such as Nobel laureate and NYTimes op-ed columnist Paul Krugman, have consistently argued that the bailouts were necessary; that they just haven't been bold and thorough enough. The concept that "the taxpayer" is paying for them is a little simplistic. In that sense we're all paying for everything. It's better to be saving the financial system than to be invading Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing Pakistan -- and it costs much less too.
Moore jumps around, playing his old games asking admission to General Motors headquarters, or AIG, stringing "Crime Scene" yellow tapes around the Stock Market and big banks; following a window and door factory where all the workers were let go, but then decided to sit-in at the factory until they got their severance packages from Bank of America. There's a lot about foreclosures, how they happen, who has fought them, and who exploits them. There are several companies where the workers are actual shareholders who have a vote on what happens, a line operator gets $65,000 a year, more than some airline pilots, whom Moore reveals to be so underpaid some have had to resort to food stamps. Obama did once spout vaguely socialist ideas, but Moore shows how that was dealt with: big banks made him beholden by becoming major contributors to his campaign. Moore says Goldman, Sachs was the biggest, with a million dollars; actually the University of California is listed above that with a million five.
Three are many tear-jerking moments here. Moore has a field day with a couple who're ejected from their farmhouse complex and even paid $1,000 -- the ultimate humiliation -- to get rid of the contents of their house. A black family in another sequence is helped by an activist group to return to their foreclosed house and reoccupy it, after living in a truck. Moore goes overboard on this stuff. As Felperin says, Moore would probably show puppies personally drowned by (Bush Treasury Secretary and former Goldman, Sachs CEO) Hank Paulson if he could.
But the Michael Moore wants to wake you up and make you mad and the most powerful -- and important -- argument is that of the Catholic priests: that capitalism as it's practiced nowadays is un-Christian -- and in the terms of any spiritual system, morally wrong. Also important, if underdeveloped, in this complicated, effective piece of economic and political agitprop, is the historical line traced back to the Fifties, when life was relatively comfortable, college and medical care were affordable, through the Eighties, when President Reagan turned the country over to the corporations and the consummate evil yuppie character Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's Wall Street declared "Greed is good." Since then, as Moore rapidly points out, the wealth has been gobbled up more and more by the few at the top: the middle class has been ravaged and the poor have become more numerous.
If capitalism, as an old Fifties instructional film here intones, is "our American way of life," then how come it's failing to serve so many Americans? At this point it would have been much better if Moore had been less "resolutely U.S.-centric" (Felperin) -- because capitalist economies exist in other countries alongside systems of social services, alongside socialist benefits for the many. It's not so much simply capitalism that is killing us (has not communism been proved a failure, or at least unrealizable in the real world?) but the cruel, Darwinian, selfish, do-or-die form of it that's practiced in America. Greed is not good. As Moore does point out repeatedly, ordinary and poor Americans have been hoodwinked by propagandists for American capitalism into thinking that the system is okay, however heartless and imbalanced, because they might hit the jackpot themselves someday. As Moore says, ordinary Americans are beginning to realize that just ain't true.
Michael Moore has never been objective. No documentary maker ever was.
When you chose a subject, you've already taken some kind of position
and Moore doesn't try to hide what he thinks.
And he shows us worker's families being driven from their homes and brokers making profit on it. He shows business companies taking life insurances on their employed and taking all the money when the employed dies. He says that the Congress is in the hands of Wall Street and especially Goldman and Sachs. There are more examples.
The interesting question is why Michael Moore is so alone making these kind of films in the US. The answer is probably that the investors don't want him or anybody else to do them. They want to go on, treating the American people in the most terrifying ways. And since money seems to decide so much in that country, such films are very seldom made. But you're not supposed to know.
He took on our nation's obsession with guns in BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE.
He took on the politics of Bush/Cheney fear mongering in FAHRENHEIT
9/11. He even took on the health care insurance industry in SICKO. And
once more, the tenacious rabble-rouser from Flint, Michigan, Michael
Moore, takes on the powers-that-be in a cinematic broadside that needs
to be seen--CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY.
In this new opus from the man who has always gotten under the skin of the nattering nabobs of negativity on the Far Right, Moore posits some very chilling questions about our system of Capitalism: Is it really intrinsically evil? Should it be abolished? And he does so with the kind of simmering populist outrage that has been his stock-in-trade since his 1989 breakthrough ROGER AND ME (which is in fact part of the archival footage he uses here). In it, he details how America's financial system got overheated by deregulation and predatory loan practices that struck at the heart of the poor and middle class, the ones who actually make up the heart and soul of America and who are always the most vulnerable, leaving the rich to walk away with billions in taxpayer bailout money. It also shows us how corporate greed, far from enriching our lives, has actually corroded them, and subsequently corroded our political system so that the villains of this whole scheme are the same ones that buy off our elected representatives to sit there and save their sorry behinds.
But for each horror story he tells us (and there are many, make no mistake), there are stirring examples of common people standing up against the faceless corporate bullies and exercising their democratic rights (what a novel concept!): homeowners in Miami who refuse to budge from a foreclosed home; union workers in Chicago who refuse to leave their place of employment, a manufacturer of doors and windows, even after Bank of America has foreclosed; people in Congress who have finally had enough and scream "BULLS**T!" to the corporate interests.
All of this may seem like Moore is going to his usual excessive lengths to make his point, particularly when it comes to the idea of abolishing the capitalist framework altogether--a pipe dream, if ever there was one. But when doing a satirical documentary like this, a little excess can go a long way to expose some hidden truths about our country; and the fact that Moore exposes truths that we either disagree with or don't want to know about inevitably makes him a target for blind followers of the Far Right and the Palin/McCain/Joe The Plumber sect, whom Moore once again is able to skewer with their own words. And he doesn't go so easy on Bill Clinton's administration either, as several members of that administration themselves were involved in setting up the self-fulfilling prophecy that led to the near-complete collapse of the American economy in 2008.
It was Michael Douglas' character Gordon Gekko who, in Oliver Stone's hard-hitting 1987 film WALL STREET, said to the audience at a stockholders' meeting: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed works!" Well, as CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY shows, just the opposite is true. It is unrestrained greed and unrestrained fear that pushed America to the brink of total economic meltdown. And it is those same elements that have led Moore to the conclusion that Capitalism is evil. If he is wrong in his conclusion, then it is unfortunately not by much. And that is why CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY should be seen. We may not be able to abolish the capitalist system that has kept America a world power, but unless we do fundamental things now to place regulations on those that profit from greed, fear, and predatory behavior, then America may one day in the future go over the edge into the abyss with no hope to recover its lost greatness.
The only criticism is that Moore fails to draw the distinction between
economic systems and political ones. Capitalism, socialism, communism
are systems for organizing economies. Each of these could be
democratic, in that the people get to vote for laws, policies and
actions of their government.
Capitalism is often linked to "free enterprise" conflating it with freedom. It's really about the right to own property and make money from exploitation of the work of others. It is built on a system of credit and interest charged for capital and money.
Communism has not private ownership of factories and the means of production, and no interest or credit. Presumably the economy is run by and for the people, not the managers or owners of the means of production.
Socialism is also has the means of production owned by the state which is the people. The state provides for rights such as housing, health care, a job and education.
And then there are mixed economies as well. Moore's film underscores the immoral nature of capitalism which places wealth over human needs. he shows how the system has been rigged for the wealthy who always come out on top, don't even play fairly and have workers believing that the system will reward them for hard work. But he shows this is a lie.
His point is that is 95% voted they could turn the system into a just one. He's an optimist on that. The public has few options in elections and they are consistently gamed and stolen, and government officials accept LEGAL bribes from anyone so their constituency is the ones with the most money not the ones with the most votes.
1. You know the document Hank Paulsen "forced" the top 9 banks to sign to take billions in dollars in a one page letter? Did you know it contained one sentence, "This agreement cannot be reviewed by any court" clause, putting all of them above the laws you and I have to follow or be jailed? This one minute of the film is worth the price of the ticket. It conclusively proves the corruption, fraud, and taxpayer theft going on right before our eyes by our congressional representatives. 2. Delete a few f**ks, and this would be a "G" rated movie. Why would Michael Moore accept a very undeserved "R" rating? 3. Every fact stated in the movie can be proved. So why do his critics say he lies just to make money? Every moviegoer has been affected by the facts so brilliantly portrayed. Yet they prefer keeping their heads in the sand while their grandchildren are saddled with so much phony debt. 4. Michael didn't include it, but Goldman Sachs' tax rate last year was One Per Cent of their profits. Try paying a one per cent tax rate on your earnings and see what happens. 5. See this movie and tell your friends.
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