Tag Archives: “Sicko”

Michael Moore’s new film on socialism* opens across the nation tomorrow

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Michael Moore’s new film “Where to Invade Next,” which interestingly coincides with democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency, starts tomorrow. You can see if it’s playing near you by visiting the film’s website (click or tap here) and clicking or tapping on “screenings.”

In my fifth decade of life, not much excites me anymore, but I’m still excited by a new Michael Moore movie.

I saw Moore’s breakthrough film, “Bowling for Columbine,” here in Sacramento at one of our historical art houses when it came out — and Moore himself made an appearance inside of the movie theater and spoke for a while during the showing, which was a great treat.

(“Columbine” went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary for 2002. “Sicko” was nominated for Best Documentary for 2007, and Wikipedia notes that “Fahrenheit 9/11, at the time the highest-grossing documentary film in movie history, was ruled ineligible [for an Oscar nomination] because Moore had opted to have it played on television prior to the 2004 election.”)

While Bernie Sanders has stopped mentioning Denmark in his public appearances (Sanders does take feedback and he fairly rapidly adjusts accordingly), Moore’s newest film, “Where to Invade Next,” at least on its face seems to be an ad for Bernie, as in the film Moore apparently doesn’t travel to Denmark but does travel to Finland, Iceland and Norway (and to Germany, Italy, Portugal and France and other nations) and points out the areas in which these other nations do a much better job of taking care of their peoples than the United States does of taking care of its own.

The popularity of “Fahrenheit 9/11” didn’t prevent “President” George W. Bush from getting a second term, but in November 2004, Bush “won”** with a “mandate” of a whopping 50.7 percent of the popular vote.

(“Fahrenheit 9/11” helped to keep Bush’s margin of “victory” quite slim, I surmise — recall that in 2004 the “war on terror” was still fresh enough for the right wing to use fear tactics with the voters quite effectively and that the Repugnicans in 2004 also used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue and scare tactic — but despite its having been the top-grossing documentary of all time at that point, “Fahrenheit” wasn’t enough to boot an incumbent president, which is difficult to do.)

We’ll see how much of an effect “Where to Invade Next” has on the current presidential election cycle. I expect it to boost Bernie, whom Michael Moore has endorsed, of course.

I plan to see “Where to Invade Next” tomorrow, its opening day — at the same theater where I saw Michael Moore discuss “Bowling for Columbine” all of those years ago — and I plan to post a review of it no later than on Saturday or Sunday (probably Saturday).***

Yes, if I don’t like it, I’ll say so. Some of Moore’s films are better than his others. I rank his bigger films thusly, from my most favorite to less favorite: “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004), “Bowling for Columbine” (2002), “Capitalism: A Love Story” (2009), “Sicko” (2007) and “Roger & Me” (1989).

*We shouldn’t run away from the “s”-word. If the United State of America were so fucking free, then why do we commoners not have the freedom to discuss alternative socioeconomic models?

And if capitalism were so inherently and self-evidently great, and since it preaches competition, why can’t the capitalists handle any competition in the marketplace of ideas?

**I put “won” in quotation marks since you can’t win re-election if you never legitimately were elected in the first place (Al Gore won in November 2000 by more than a half-million votes, and Florida’s electoral votes were stolen blatantly) and because in 2004 there was plenty of electoral fishiness in the important swing state of Ohio, whose then-secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, was a Repugnican operative, much how swing state Florida’s former secretary of state, Katherine Harris, was a Repugnican operative in 2000 who delivered the state to Gee Dubya, with help from his then-governor brother Jeb! and the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, among others.

***Some time ago I used to post movie reviews regularly, but I’ve really dropped off from that, out of lack of time and out of my inability to see new movies as quickly as I’d like to sometimes. But I have to review a new Michael Moore movie…

 

 

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Filmmaker Michael Moore pounds another nail in the coffin of capitalism

Film review

FILE - In this March 27, 2009 file photo, filmmaker Michael ...

FILE - In this March 27, 2009 file photo, filmmaker Michael ...

Associated Press photos

Filmmaker Michael Moore attempts to speak to traders on Wall Street for his film “Capitalism: A Love Story” in March. At the end of “Capitalism,” Moore correctly concludes: “Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people, and that something is democracy.”

So will Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” usher in a socialist revolution within the United States of America?

Um, no, probably not, given the fact that Americans haven’t exactly been the most revolutionary bunch on the planet since about 1776, and since capitalism still has a fairly strong grip on the minds and hearts and gonads of the majority of the American sheeple, but “Capitalism” probably does represent yet another nail in the coffin of capitalism as it has been practiced in the United States of America during my lifetime.

I won’t regurgitate all of the contents of “Capitalism,” as you can get that regurgitation in a multitude of reviews and articles, but I will say that “Capitalism” both is in line with and is a departure from Moore’s previous films. (If you must read a straight film review, you might try Roger Ebert’s. He remains my favorite film critic.)

In “Capitalism” Moore’s eclectic style remains the same, but “Capitalism” differs from Moore’s previous work in that “Capitalism,” as its name suggests, tackles the rather abstract concept of capitalism, and while “Capitalism” is filled with real-life examples of the devastation that capitalism has wreaked upon working-class and poor Americans, “Capitalism” is Moore’s most abstract, least concrete film to date.

And lest you think that “Capitalism” is a huge push for socialism, socialism actually gets fairly little air time in “Capitalism,” which focuses more on the evils of capitalism than it does on the benefits of socialism (see Moore’s “Sicko” for that).

And at the end of “Capitalism,” what does Moore offer as an alternative to capitalism as it is practiced today? Not socialism, but democracy.

I concur that democracy would be a great antidote to the way that capitalism is practiced today — in the United States of America we have not a democracy but a plutocracy and a corporatocracy, because it’s the rich and their corporations that run the nation, not the people, and this plutocratic and corporatocratic mindset trickles down even into non-profit and governmental workplaces (oh, the stories that I could tell you as a California state worker!).

But how about I amend Moore’s recommendation of democracy and recommend some democratic socialism? Because even Moore seems to shy away at least somewhat from the “s” word.

While “Sicko” examines the socialist systems in other nations, unfortunately “Capitalism” offers no such comparisons, and it’s too bad, because it’s probably the socialist revolution in Latin America that offers the millions upon millions of downtrodden in the United States of America the most hope. (Yeah, there’s a reason that the American wingnuts want to keep the Latin American immigrants out: because they tend to collectively organize for their fair share of the pie.)

In “Capitalism” Moore examines to a fairly large degree the nexus between what passes for “Christianity” in the United States and capitalism as it is practiced in the U.S. today. Moore even shows clips of wingnuts declaring that capitalism is Christian.

Moore interviews several Christian leaders who state that capitalism — in which a greedy few profit from the masses — as decidedly not in line with what Jesus taught, and there’s a cute overdubbed clip in which Jesus Christ refuses to heal a sick man (because that would be socialized medicine!).

(However, where the Catholic Church is concerned — and it’s the Catholic Church that gets the most attention in “Capitalism,” because Moore was raised Catholic — I’m not sure how much Catholic leaders oppose capitalism because of capitalism’s inherent evils and how much it might be the case that the Catholic Church just doesn’t want to have to compete against the capitalists for the minds and hearts and gonads — and the pocketbooks — of the masses. An oppressor is still an oppressor, whether it’s the church or the capitalists.)

Moore could have gone a bit further in “Capitalism” in destroying the fallacy that all of those Joe the Plumbers (Joes the Plumber?) out there hold: the fallacy that they must protect capitalism as it is practiced in the U.S. today because one day they might actually make it to the pinnacle of the pyramid of wealth.

Um, no, they will not, but it is this lottery mentality of Glenn-Beck-lovin’ dipshits like Joe the Plumber that keeps the rich safe from mobs carrying pitchforks and torches. (I remember Joe the Plumber claiming that Barack Obama’s policies, as president, would prevent him from ever owning his own plumbing business, and then discovering that Joe the Plumber didn’t even have a plumber’s license. Gee, I suppose that that’s Barack Obama’s fault too!)

Moore could have also gone further in “Capitalism” in exploring the unholy nexus involving not only what passes for “Christianity” in the U.S. and capitalism as it is practiced in the U.S., but involving nationalism and “patriotism” as well.

The plutocrats and corporatocrats have been successful in brainwashing millions of Americans (with the help of the likes of Fox “News” and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Ann Cunter) into believing that capitalism = Christianity = patriotism = militarism, so that to oppose any of these (but especially to oppose capitalism) is to oppose the others.

Finally, you will note that I repeatedly have used the phrase “capitalism as it is practiced in the United States of America.” Like I can support the idealistic tenets of actual Christianity — that is, while I agree with Jesus Christ’s actual teachings and sayings, such as that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven — I can support the idealistic tenets of capitalism, such as that every individual should reap the fruits of his or her own hard work.

However, just as Christianity has been bastardized — with today’s “Christians” being just like the hypocritical Pharisees of his day whom Jesus repeatedly lambasted — capitalism has been bastardized as well. Today, the worker’s hard work does not benefit the worker, who can barely survive, but benefits only the rich and the super-rich plutocrats and corporatocrats, professional thieves who exploit the working classes and the poor more and more each passing day. 

Had capitalism not been taken over by crooks and thieves, had these greedy motherfuckers been able to moderate their greed just a little, capitalism might be strong in the United States of America today.

Instead, socialism is looking better to more and more Americans.

Capitalism — as it is practiced in the United States of America — is consuming itself.

Michael Moore, thankfully, is just helping that process along.

My grade: A-

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