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The Tally Ho

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

This morning has been okay. I listened to Studio360, which was pretty good. But last night I saw the new Michael Moore film, Fahrenheit 9/11. I expected a Michael Moore experience, and that is what I got. Perhaps the biggest thing going against Moore is how much controversial publicity he has received. From Disney refusing to distribute the film, to winning the Palme D’Or at Cannes, to conservatives trying to reduce the number of theatres it is shown in… he has become a larger than life figure and allowed seemingly everyone to have an opinion of his movie and of Mr. Moore. No question this is great for selling tickets, but what if the film falls short of the hype?

Fahrenheit 9/11 does fall short in a few respects. While I was not expecting a mass circulated Frontline documentary with Moore’s humor, I did expect more from the film. I say this because there is not a lack of information about the Bush family and their ties to the military industrial complex, intelligence sector, and foreign investment. First example is obviously Kevin Phillip’s great book, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush. When discussing Halliburton I do not think adding two or three additional minutes to show pictures and reports of the rotting food being served to our troops, the general unsanitary conditions, how troops did not get served every meal, the price gouging, etc. would make the movie too long. They did interview a solider that questioned the logic of paying soldiers $2,000-$3,000 a month while Halliburton truck drivers were making $10,000 a week. Another great article that discusses BushCo priorities and lack of competent planning was Atlantic’s National Correspondent James Fallows feature article in the January/February 2004 issue titled Blind Into Baghdad.

I appreciate what Moore did accomplish. I also appreciate how Moore, just like in Bowling for Columbine, discussed fear and paranoia, poverty and class, and attached a human angle to the war. What I am trying to say here is that you almost get the feeling that this movie bit off more than it can chew. Part of this may be a rush to get it to theatres. Part of it could be that this is Michael Moore’s style. And let us not forget that much of this is because the Bush Administration has done so many questionable things that no two hour film can possibly capture the gravity of the situation at home and in Iraq. I left the theatre somewhat disappointed, mostly because I probably got caught up in the hype (and the Billionaires for Bush were a riot). But as I thought about it this morning I think it did its job. For many, Moore’s film could be a starting point for those who are newly questioning Bush’s war without having to sit through a film filled with analysis that only a career academic would appreciate. For others it could be purely entertainment.

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