And what do you suppose he was thinking when the planes hit the towers on 9/11? I wonder if he thought, "Man, if I play this up right, I can pay off the condo in Manhattan!" He may have added afterwards, "Unless, of course, real estate prices plummet. Damn it -- why does this have to happen to me!" Then he might have gone back to scarfing down donuts without bothering to open the box.
In case you haven't caught on, yes, I just came back from seeing Fahrenheit 9/11, and it actually managed to fall below what I thought were bedrock-level expectations. The style of "argument" I used above is omnipresent throughout the film -- in fact, it is the film. This has been billed as a "controversial" and "thought-provoking" film, so here are some of the thoughts it provoked from me:
- First, this film is nothing but an agonizingly long infomercial for the MoveOn.org agenda (i.e., "Bush bad!"). To call this a "documentary" is to equate Ron Popeil to Jacques Cousteau.
- As a propaganda tool, this movie is virtually useless. It will only appeal to people who were already convinced that Bushitlerliedhalliburtonbloodforoil. To everyone else, it will come off as exactly what it is -- a cheap, incoherent celluloid babble that hardly even merits the term "propaganda." It is slightly more suble than a KCNA press release, though much longer and far less punchy. The huge ticket sales are significant, of course, but no small number of people went to see the movie just to find out what the fuss was about. In the end, this will have as much meaning as the critical mass of Deaniacs did during the Democratic primaries.
- The rabid right-wing fools who tried to ban this movie did their cause a disservice. They would have done much better to buy tickets for all their friends -- rent out the theater! -- and then introduce the movie as what passes for left-wing anti-war argument these days. (Hey, I didn't say it'd be fair. Just effective.)
- It's been commented on by many others, but the scene with the mother who lost her son in the war simultaneously manages to be pointless, disgustingly manipulative, and completely disingenuous. I sympathize with the loss of this woman's son, but -- and this is just me -- I don't generally invite a muckraking bloat sack with a camera to film my grief for days on end. The whole thing felt as staged as, well... At best, this is grief porn at its lowest. At worst, it's an attempt to manipulate the viewer by Moore and a woman who clearly has an agenda. And even if the whole thing was 100% genuine -- imagine the reaction if the right abused a grieving 9/11 family this way to justify the invasion of Afghanistan or the detainment of illegal Arab immigrants. The gallons of cappucino that would come pouring from Stabucks cups crushed in outrage could probably fill Lake Superior.
- I really can't believe the ratings this film has got -- and the Palme D'Or?! The narration is incoherent and preachy, the music choices obvious, the anecdotes non-sequiturs. Moore leads the viewer directly to his conclusions with neither subtlety nor wit -- and then, in case you missed it, he spells out the conclusion for you. It's hardly a surprise for me that the American and international movie critics trend left -- but really, even if the politics fits, shouldn't the quality of the film count for something? I mean, how partisan can this film "criticism" get? Have our would-be cultural elites sunk so low that they can no longer even judge the merits of a work if there is a political slant? Why don't we just outsource all our movie reviews to Pyongyang, and save ourselves the trouble?
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