Damning George Bush Jr. was something at which Michael Moore excelled. When he spewed it all out on film, you got Fahrenheit 9/11. Bowling for Columbine may have given Republicans fits, but this film put them firmly into stroke country.
Moore’s film is all about taking the Bush administration and the media to task for a presidency and war (and a war on terror) that Moore felt was false and dangerous. Disney tried to stop the film. It got out. Some reporters claimed there were distortions of truth. Moore cited his sources. Republicans claimed it was biased. The rest of the world answered with, “Duh.” Moore used the words and actions of the media, politicians and U.S. soldiers to get his point across, and in doing so created what was at the time (and still may be) the highest grossing documentary ever created.
If there is a problem that plagues this film, it is a problem suffered by most documentaries of any worth – they preach to the converted. Republicans weren’t going to this movie and coming out changed people. They weren’t going to this movie, period. At the 2004 Cannes Film Festival it received a 20 minute standing ovation. That didn’t come from conservatives … at least not American conservatives. (Conservatives overseas are not of the pro-American ilk.) It also didn’t come from people whose eyes were opened by it. It came from people who already believed what Moore had on screen and who were happy he was able to present it the way he did. I am one of them, though I wasn’t at Cannes.
Moore’s film have caused him to suffer from the usual attacks, whether it was the class-baiting look at his net worth, the juvenile digs on his weight, or the more justified questions on his use of facts. Some even used the fact that it was pirated in Cuba against him, as if he had some control over that. It was, as expected, a feeding frenzy on Moore.
I can’t think of any other documentary in history that has won so much acclaim and enraged so many at the same time. If that alone was its claim to fame, it wouldn’t be making my list. The fact that it did that and is actually a great film is what put it here. His latest documentaries may not be making the same impression upon me, but this one is gold.
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