FAHRENHEIT 9/11: YOU MIGHT WANT TO CANCEL THAT REQUEST FOR AN APOLOGY, MR. BRADBURY...
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Scholars are at a crossroads in history right now and are weighing their answer to a difficult question: Is George W. Bush the worst U.S. president in the last 100 years, or the last 200 years? I tend to believe the latter, although the precise figure is more like 228. Mr. Bush is just lucky the general view is that we've got to bear him for four more months. This Congress will never start impeachment proceedings. But the real question now is: is Fahrenheit 9/11 a shoe-in for a Best Picture Oscar? As long as it's taking place after the election like so many other things, I'd like to think so, although the Oscars are pretty conservative and they're probably not ready yet to nominate a film that has no major stars or special effects, but which does feature digital footage with MPEG-2 encoding.
But no matter. The film is doing impressively at the Box Office. Everyone's talking about it. The average film is generally a reflection of the political times it was bourne into, but never has the reflection been so real or so brilliant! A friend of mine whose opinion I trust speculated that Dubya himself saw the film, but I doubt it. I mean, I would be curious about a film made about myself, of course, but this is Dubya we're talking about! A man famous for his lack of intellectual curiosity, a man who doesn't read the papers and perhaps the only president in history, save Grant, who has spent most of his tenure in office looking like he'd rather be back at home in Crawford, Texas, catching up on some serious drinking. (Point Pleasant, Ohio, in Grant's case) He doesn't need to see it, he's spent his whole life trying to avoid thinking about it!
Meanwhile, for the rest of us, there's the sticky matter of those pesky civil rights, but don't worry, because the Bush Administration has a plan for that. We hear from a guy who was approached by the FBI because he said something at the local gym that the Feds didn't like. Then there's a group called Peace Fresno who was infiltrated by a local undercover cop, which they found about later in a strange twist. If you haven't seen the movie, it'll be a surprise.
While we see that Congress in 2000 was guilty of going along with the Supreme Court's decision of the election, Moore is apparently a little guilty himself. He hired freelance photojournalists to go to Iraq and get footage. Some of the footage was of soldiers torturing Iraqis. Moore said on Letterman that he chose to hold back the footage because he didn't want support for the troops to suddenly stop. Then again, it's easy to say we'd do something different. Also, I can see why it gets the 'R' rating, for the violent war footage. It gets pretty brutal. If the MPAA is pro-Bush I don't want to know about it.
But no matter how far Michael Moore gets in the world he always brings it back home to Flint, Michigan. Full circle, if you will. Small world after all, as it turns out. While not on the same level as the earth-shattering coincidence of the Flint shooting in Bowling for Columbine, in this case it's a very patriotic mother, Lila Lipscomb, who has sent her kid to Iraq. She receives a letter from her son days before he's killed in combat. In a scene of bloodless outrage, Lila goes to Washington D.C. and as she's speaking to an anti-war protestor, some pro-war "protestor" comes up to interrupt the moment. "Hey! Blame al-Qaeda!" she quips as Lila walks away. Poor Lila!
We end with a quote from Orwell, taken directly from 1984 and including references to Eurasia and Eastasia, but not Oceania: "...The war was meant to be continuous..." Essentially, Terrorism is the new Communism, at least that's what the Republicans are striving for, and frankly are doing a rather half-assed job about that, even. But this is not the Cold War anymore. We are no longer 'conditioned to respond to all the threats in the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets,' and this time, the FBI and the CIA better start having a bake sale, too, along with the Army who's trying to find a new way to pay for flak jackets. Fortunately there are enough of us who remember the prosperity of the Clinton Administration. Back then terrorism wasn't the all-invasive color coded threat that it is today, and there was a man of the people in the White House actually trying to do something about Osama Bin Laden, as opposed to the corporate puppet now who thinks Osama's really not that big of a deal anymore, if he ever was. However, I wonder if the Bin Laden family will ever really tolerate Dubya's flip-flopping on the subject of Osama. Would you?
(two months before the election) It's hard to talk about Fahrenheit 9/11 and not acknowledge the cultural firestorm it's touched off. Many big talking-head Conservatives apparently haven't seen the movie, yet they say that the film is hurting Dubya's image. If Dubya's image can't withstand the impact of one movie, let alone the tens of anti-Bush books being published these last couple years, the man is in the wrong line of work. He should just go back to being a Texas dufus. One of my favorite jokes... although, in this political climate it's less a joke and more of a shield, is a simple question: the Republicans control the White House, the House and Senate, and have more like-minded judges on more benches than.. New York City has bums sleeping under the proverbial newspaper blanket on.. their benches.. and they're STILL angry? What is it going to take to make them happy? And you know, it doesn't really help, Mr. Bill Gates and Mr. Warren Buffett when you guys go around shooting off your big mouths about how the Bush Tax Cuts go too far. Why make it that much harder on all those middle-rich types trying so desperately to distinguish themselves?
There's still been spirited discussion about the infamous 18 1/2 minute gap.. I mean, the seven minute Bush sit-down in that school. Some would probably say that Bush showed great bravery by continuing to sit in that chair, even though he clearly looked more than a little freaked out. Some have actually pointed out that he did the right thing by sitting because he had 15 cameras on him at that moment. Hear that, terrorists? Forget the bombs, just pick up 15 cameras and you've got our whole country by the balls! I should end strong on that line, but here's another point: see, if Bill Clinton or another Democrat sat there for 5 to 7 minutes after learning the country was just attacked, the Republicans would have their head on a stake and flog it in the proverbial courtyard til the cows came home. See? The Democrats are soft on defense. Hugh Hewitt would scour said Democrat's genetic code and pinpoint the Democrat Cowardice gene for the scientific record. Some Republican talking heads have said that the President did the right thing because part of his job is to "project calm". I've never heard of that, and I don't think it's in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or written in any law passed since concerning the President and his job (yet), and the drug companies would be up in arms over someone who projects calm cutting into the ever expanding anti-depressant market, but I think the people would generally be forgiving if they saw their President not react calmly in that crucial moment, showing emotion, concern or even curiosity, which is what one would normally expect in that kind of situation. (Whew! Long sentence) Besides, Bush was anything but calm as he sat there. He must've been thinking, "Man, what I wouldn't give for a couple lines of coke right now."
Mr. Moore is debating whether or not to show the movie on PBS right before the election. If he does, he won't be eligible for an Oscar. I think deep down he knows what to do, and Mr. Moore, if by some freak coincidence you ever read this, trust me. Do it. Don't you already have everything you'll ever need?
This just in: Michael Moore is going to go for the Best Picture Oscar. This way, he can still show it on PBS right before the election. Not that it matters, but I can't think of any other film this year that would be more deserving of the Best Picture Oscar. Why not? There's no Lord of the Rings this year. Harry Potter? For some reason, Oscar really hates Harry. Go figure.
-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan
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