June 28th, 2004
|04:28 pm - Fahrenheit 9/11|
Over the weekend, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11.
Oh, this might just make me unpopular, and I've thought about the implications of posting this, but I don't think I should pull punches. That would make me more unpopular.
Anyone who refuses to see this movie is a dolt.
Anyone who can watch this movie and not be affected is jaded, closed-minded, and probably couldn't get a hard-on watching Marylin Monroe take off her clothes.
Anyone who believes this movie is 100% factual is an idiot.
Anyone who believes this movie is unbiased is a moron who should go back to smoking more pot.
That said, I really liked it. It was fun to watch. It was engaging. It was the longest political ad I have ever seen. It struck at the heart and often won out over the mind. It was well-timed and wonderfully critical. It was boring and had me checking my watch, and sometimes exciting and funny.
It was obvious. It took cheap shots. It plodded along over the same ground over and over again. It didn't make logical sense.
It was fresh and sharply critical, and made excellent arguments. It stood on its own merit, yet never left the crutches far behind. My eyes rolled as I conceded good, thoughtful points.
Can you tell that my entire experience was just a bit conflicted?
Anyway, here's the deal: Michael Moore makes a genuinely entertaining, fun, thoughtful look at the events of 9-11, but often the movie (I'm not sure I'm ready to call it a "documentary" yet) descends into simple attacks on people, not actually addressing the issues raised.
Some things I liked:
1) Making W. look stupid. Of course, that's not really anything to get excited over, as you could tell very simply that the stupidity was obviously something W. does on a regular basis. Still, it was good to see that.
2) Bringing up good points about where the money is, who suffers during war, and the effect that the war has had on all sorts of people.
3) It's emotional and strong. You really want to believe what he's saying.
4) They didn't show people jumping out of the WTC. I was afraid he'd do that.
5) Michael Moore was not often on screen. This is a huge blessing (no pun intended) to many of us.
What I didn't like:
1) Annoying doubletalk. We have too much security on airplanes, but we don't have enough. It's appalling that a woman would have to drink breast milk to make sure it's safe, but equally appaling that secrurity isn't tighter about lighters and matches. We shouldn't be in Afghanistan or Iraq, but we obviously don't have enough troops over there. Osama escaped because we didn't send enough troops to Afghanistan, and yet we shouldn't have been there, right? Then, of course, there are the Saudis, who really want us to go to war, because this apparently lines their pockets, but yet the Saudis complain to no end about us attacking Iraq. Why wasn't that mentioned?
2) Factual errors/stretches. "Iraq has never harmed or even threatened a US citizen?" (paraphrased) Wtf? Did I dream the assasination attempt on Bush Sr.? What about the funding of Palistinian suicide bombers, or the planes that were shot at in the no-fly zones over Iraq? Heck, is genocide of Kurds not enough of an excuse, we need them to threaten us?
". . . relaxing at Camp David. . .", the words spoken as a shot of W. and Tony Blair walk down a path. I know they're close, but I have a hard time believing that the two guys aren't talking about something state-related as they stroll.
The bin Ladens flying out on Sept. 13 is apparently strange and frightening for some reason that I fail to divine. The movie insinuates, through its language and the images presented, that they were the only people flying at that time. Not true. I remember (yes, I was around then) that there were flights that day. It doesn't seem irregular at all that high-profile Saudis would be flown out. It certianly doesn't seem sinister.
"Biggest attack on American soil" my ass. We owned Pearl Harbor. It is a military base, and thus it *is* American soil. I'm sorry, but we were slightly worse off after Pearl Harbor, what with an organized, highly dangerous enemy hanging out on our doorstep and us with a navy that couldn't sail out of a paper bag that day. Sept. 11 was nothing in comparison. I'm ashamed to think that schoolchildren will be writing essays on the similarities between the two attacks for years to come.
There's a scene in there where an Iraqi woman is crying about her children and cursing America for killing civilians. The microphone she's screaming into is Al-Jazeera's. This doesn't make it false, but I've seen enough schlock come from them that I'm unswayed by the statement.
I'm not even going to argue WMD's. It's not worth it.
3) Ignoring details for the sake of a good story. Ooh, look at our list of allies! Haiti, Granada, and a bunch of other tiny republics. Did I miss Britain, Australia, Japan, S. Korea, and Spain (before they changed their minds?)
4) Flogging a dead horse. Oh, my. An election was lost 4 years ago! This is news! Amazing! Why didn't anyone tell me before! I thought Gore was president! And, ohmygods! Fox News won the election for Bush! Geez. Get over it and move on. I can't roll my eyes enoough about 10 minutes of flogging that horse. Someone get the ASPCA.
5) Asking Congressmen to send their sons to war. Yes, I know the statement he wanted to make, but what would you do if someone said, "Hey, you should send your son to war just because you're in Congress!" Would you stand there dumbfounded? I sure would. And so, apparently, would the congressmen.
Honestly, go see it. It's good. I mean it. Just take it with a small Siberian salt mine.
Now, here's the thing that irks me most about the movie, though: No one who needs to see the movie is going to go see it. Try to find a Republican in the crowd. Try to find someone who's really unsure of what he/she is going to do with their vote.
Everyone in that theatre, I suspect, already knows what to do and who to vote for. Seriously.
That is the fatal flaw of the movie. It will fall on deaf ears.
Gods willing, though, someone will get out and vote because of it.
Current Mood: bitchy
Current Music: "Buttermilk Grove", -JB
|Date:||July 1st, 2004 11:03 pm (UTC)|| |
Saw it tonight
Some things I can speak on better having seen the film....
a) Moore never said or even implied that we shouldn't be in Afghanistan. He did say that Bush had to go to Afghanistan before Iraq, since the Taliban was known by all to support Al Qaeda.
b) He didn't say that the Saudis wanted us to go to war in Iraq. He talked about how close the Bushes and Saudis are, and how much money is involved in the relationship. He also talked about our installed government in Afghanistan helping out the oil companies.
a) He didn't say Iraq never threatened a US citizen. He said Iraq never harmed or threatened the US, and never killed an American. Neither threats against Bush I nor harm against other nations invalidate the truth this statement.
b) You're right that the movie seems to imply that nobody else was flying when the bin Ladens left, but then it goes on to make an explicit point about a good investigation wanting them to stick around for questioning. I think the explicit point ends up overshadowing the apparent false implication.
c) I don't think it matters whether it's Al Jazeera's microphone or Fox's microphone that the woman shouts into. It's one person's grief. I suppose it could be staged, but I don't see why it would be; I certainly believe the emotional authenticity when Fox News shows someone giving their opinion that disagrees with my own.
d) I was actually disappointed that Moore didn't bother making the case himself about the lack of WMDs and lack of connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq. He seems to assume that his audience is both familiar with and believes those authorities disputing the Bush administration's assertions. This alone risks preaching to the converted without winning over new people.
I think Moores point with the coalition segment was that a number of our allies in this adventure were pretty useless and inconsequential. Yeah, he ignored some more consequential ones, but if you believe the administration you'd think that all of the "coalition of the willing" was as important as Britain, or at least useful in the war effort.
4) Dead horse
Actually I hadn't realized that Fox was the first to call Florida for Bush. At the time Fox didn't have the reputation it has now. If the same thing happened today I think everyone (particularly Fox's competitors) would be more likely to question it, since everyone who's paying attention now knows Fox's bias.
5) Sending sons to war
It's not "send your son to war just because you're in Congress." It's "send your son to war because you sent other people's sons to war." I'd expect any reaction except being dumbfounded -- they should expect such questions if they voted for the war. If that question was truly a strange concept to them, they have no business making those decisons for the country. I have more respect for the ones who avoided Moore than for the dumbfounded one(s).
By the way, I loved the music, especially the Neil Young song ("Rockin' In The Free World") during the closing credits.