Daily Archives: October 5, 2018

The Screed We Need [FAHRENHEIT 9/11]

From the Chicago Reader (June 24, 2004). — J.R.

Fahrenheit 9/11

*** (A must-see)

Directed and written by Michael Moore.

It’s bracing to see the documentary coming into its own these days, generating some of the excitement and interest that accompanied foreign (mainly European) pictures back in the 60s, when there were far more independent theaters to show them. But the New Wave and its many tributaries were perceived by critics and audiences largely as a revolution in style; the new explosion of interest in documentaries has more to do with content. Think of the broad range of subjects covered in the past few years by ABC Africa, Bowling for Columbine, Oporto of My Childhood, Joy of Madness, Stevie, The Same River Twice, Capturing the Friedmans, and My Architect: A Son’s Journey. This year alone has brought such diverse explorations as El Movimiento, The Fog of War, Les modeles de “Pickpocket, Super Size Me, Ford Transit, Control Room, and Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel.

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, the most explosive of the lot, has enjoyed the biggest buzz of any film released this year, especially after winning the top prize at the Cannes film festival in May (from a jury that was more American than French).… Read more »

Nihilism for the Masses [ROGER & ME]

From the Chicago Reader (February 2, 1990). — J.R.

RogerMe

ROGER & ME

*** (A must-see)

Directed and written by Michael Moore.

roger-and-me eviction

There’s no question that you should see Roger & Me if you haven’t already. Michael Moore’s comic documentary about the devastation of Flint, Michigan, resulting from General Motors’ massive plant closings and job layoffs is the most entertaining American documentary to come along in years. Better yet, Roger & Me is radical in its angry critique of the Reagan era — its legacy of corporate greed and its cheerful heartlessness — in a way that makes contemporary Hollywood movies seem cowardly and conformist.

The story of how Michael Moore, a journalist from Flint with no prior filmmaking experience, financed his first feature is an American success story with an inspirational value all its own. Moore sold his house and furnishings, organized local bingo games, invested his settlement from a wrongful-discharge lawsuit against Mother Jones (where he briefly served as editor), and collected hundreds of small investments from Michigan residents to raise his $160,000 budget. After the film became a popular hit and prizewinner at several film festivals last fall, it was picked up by Warners for $3 million and is already well on its way to becoming an independent sleeper.… Read more »

Real Sex in Movies

Written for the magazine Forum and published there in 1984. If I still have the published version, which would pinpoint the particular month and issue, I can’t locate it (although based on a tip from Barry Scott Moore, I think it may have been the February issue). For better and for worse, this is probably the most popular item on this site. – J.R.

The white morning sunlight, intensely brilliant, radiates through the open window as he sits propped up with pillows. She, also naked, sits quietly in his lap, her legs folded neatly under her, facing and kissing him with little pecks through her loose and undulating tangle of hair, both of them intermittently moaning with contentment. The two of them are fucking — or so it seems. The movie is An Officer and a Gentleman. They’re in a motel bedroom. He’s an air force officer trainee named Zack Mayo, played by Richard Gere. She is Paula, his girlfriend who works at the local paper mill, played by Debra Winger. As Pauline Kael aptly describes her, she sports “the world’s most expressive upper lip (it’s almost prehensile),” which “tells you that she’s hungrily sensual.” (A couple of years back, gleefully astride a wild, mechanical bucking bronco in Urban Cowboy, her sensual greed was no less apparent.)

Gere buries his face in Winger’s breasts, and between short gasps of pleasure they make banal conversation about whether or not one of them should go fetch a towel — a project that is abandoned as soon as it becomes clear that neither one can bear to break away from the other.… Read more »