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December 20, 2004


Did you think "Fahrenheit 9/11" was bad, or just mediocre-and-overhyped? I'm in the latter category.

I really didn't get what the big deal was -- it wasn't effective in its damning of Bush, the US and the War, and I don't understand why Bush-haters would embrace it or Bush-lovers would see it as such a threat. Then again, people got bent out of shape when the Dixie Chicks simply said that Bush didn't represent all Texans.

P.S. If I were to head to the NYC area between X-mas and New Years, would you be interested in a brief visit, or are you too busy with fatherhood? We can play Felick.

I thought Fahrenheit 9/11 was bad. Really bad, in fact (though it was certainly overhyped as well). Not because it was anti-Bush, but because it made its case with such dubious logic, used "facts" with such dishonesty, and employed traditional filmmaking techniques - juxtasposition, montage, voiceover - to mislead rather than enlighten. My breaking point was the footage of Iraqi children flying kites right before we see the bombs drop. Just deceptive beyond belief. Plus, I was repulsed by the fact that it was enamored with conspiracy theories rather than attacking the president on the things he's botched (of which there are many).

As for why it was a big deal - Well, Moore is a master publicist, and given the country's deep cultural-political divisions, it became a "you're either 100% with Bush or 100% against him" kind of atmosphere. Unfortunately, I fell into neither category.

As for NYC, yes, we'll be around, and yes, we'd love to see you. Shoot me an email to discuss further.

What about his other films?

I thought "Roger and Me" was endearing in a "Dancing Outlaw" kind of way and that "Bowling for Columbine" was provocative, if heavy-handed at times.

I thought Roger and Me was ok, though its criticism of GM was laced with an anti-capitalism streak that rubbed me the wrong way. I agree that Bowling for Columbine was provacative, but I couldn't stand his arrogance (i.e. his constant, dominating role throughout) or the horribly one-sided American History cartoon, thought the film was wishy-washy when it came to providing some steadfast opinions on the cause of our gun-loving habits, and thought the Charlton Heston interview was, in light of the actor's Alzheimer's, pretty low-down.

Mainly, I just think that Moore's films are primarily about Moore - they're self-serving ego-trips first, "documentaries" second. And since he has little use for facts when they get in the way of his agenda, my primary reaction to his films is disgust.

That said, he's brilliant at marketing himself and pushing people's buttons, and these days, that seems to pass for great filmmaking.

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