Archive for the ‘michael moore’ Category

My pick for film of the year so far: Sicko
July 16, 2007

My colleague Mec006 has been making some movie lists and he made one for movies to see July 4th weekend. One that he left off, which I think needs special mention is Sicko.

I imagine many people are turned off by the movie because:
1) It’s a documentary and while we don’t want to say it out loud, documentaries can tend to be boring. It’s not that we don’t like learning about things that interest us, but movies are usually our outlet for escape. If we want to learn we can read books, and if we want to know more about the world and be better citizens, we can watch the news or read the paper.

2) Michael Moore seems like a guy who’s easy to hate. There are tons of pundits out there who just swamp the airwaves today with their brash and unfiltered opinions and it’s easy to group Moore into that bunch. We’re a society that doesn’t really approve of people shoving their opinions down our throats and the guys at the office who voice their political views often give us a headache.

So let me start out by saying that I don’t really prefer documentaries. Even though I pretty much always prefer movie adaptations to their book counterparts, if I want to learn something, I’d rather read it in a book than watch it on screen, especially if I have to pay the price of a movie ticket for it. But Michael Moore is an incredibly gifted filmmaker in this format and he can turn facts and figures into the kind of escapist entertainment that is reserved for fiction. He is adept at using the same conventions of movies to make us laugh with and cry for characters as we would in a Stephen Spielberg film. Only, they have the added authenticity of being real characters. In other words: without the political nature of the content and whether it appeals to me, this is quite possibly the most entertaining film I’ve seen this year.

As for his political views: I believe Michael Moore is highly attuned to the kind of society we live in and the limits it places on him. Michael Moore knows that we’re a highly polarized society here in the U.S. with each of our political parties believing in their own spin on the same set of facts. He knows that in our 24-hour news, pundit-heavy, blogging-laced society, everyone who dares to voice any political view is subject to enough scrutiny to make them regret it.

On his side, Michael Moore knows that while you’re in that theater, he’s got you hooked and he knows how to instill his films with emotion that will move you backed with intellectual arguments and facts that while arguably manipulated to fit into an argument, are never wrong. His research, at the very least, is foolproof. Michael Moore is fully aware that the minute you walk out of that theater, you can go on the Internet and if you’re curious (which you probably will be) read from his cynics and detractors who will probably have a counterargument to every argument he makes in his film and maybe you won’t think so much of his point of view anymore, but while you’re walking out of that theater, you will have been moved, and more than that, you will have become a better citizen by thinking critically about something. I even connected to some other citizens and had an impromptu conversation with two other women who talked about how they definitely wanted to do something like write their congressman and urged me to do the same. I can’t think of many other movies that entertain and have the potential to change the world as much.