Saw the new Michael Moore movie today. Curious to see how it actually does.
At this point, "responding" to Mr. Moore's movies is obviously pointless: These aren't a guy making his case in a debate, they're polemics - and there's nothing wrong with that. Sure, as always one can point to obvious places where he's playing fast and loose with the facts, or mischaracterizes his opponents, or goes to dubious lengths to hit emotional buttons (at one point he runs some Katrina footage and mock-ponders why "it's never Bernie Madoff waving on the roof," which I imagine even the most 'liberal' fan may respond to with "uhh... because he didn't live below sea-level?") or opts for dramatic effect over facts; but to complain about that is to mistakenly conflate the word's "Documentary" with "News Reporting." These are the facts: That Michael Moore believes that Capitalism is a no-longer-functional economic model (though he stops short of an outright endorsement of "that other 'ism,") that "Capitalism: A Love Story" is a film in which he uses staged comedy bits, archival footage, news and interviews edited together in order to express this belief; and that it's quite successful in that aim.
The attention-grabbing title ("OMG! A movie against capitalism!?") is actually a pretty good encapsulation of the whole enterprise: it LOOKS a lot more controversial than it really is. While Moore states onscreen "Capitalism is evil" (as part of an ironic fake-out where he somberly calls for it to be replaced by... DEMOCRACY!) and for good measure has a bunch of Catholic priests agreeing with him, the film itself is less concerned with debating economic philosophy than it is with fanning the flames of outrage over the subprime meltdown and the bailouts. In a Q&A that followed the showing, he compared the 21st Century debate over capitalism and socialism as the rehashing of "a 16th Century economic system and a 19th Century one." Of course, "Predatory Banking Practices in The Early 21st Century: A Love Story" isn't as snappy a title.
Interestingly, it's kind of strange to see a Michael Moore movie that winds up being essentially upbeat: As of the film-proper, Moore is still obviously high on the election of Obama - which the film frames as the ultimate result of a literal citizen's revolt which Moore sums up as "Holy SHIT!" - and leaves off with the impression that things are looking up. As such, is less of a "call to arms" and more of a "pep rally," so I wonder if that'll make it more or less popular.
Of special note to history buffs will, of course, be the fact that Moore and his researchers actually managed to uncover the famous Franklin Delano Roosevelt "Second Bill of Rights" speech film footage, which had been presumed lost and is featured in the film in it's entirety.