Litkicks Message Board Archive

a Karmic take on Fahrenheit

Posted to Poetry and Politics

I just saw Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”.
if this isn’t on your Must See List, it sure should be.
won Best Picture at Cannes as you probably know, and if Bowling won the Best Oscar, how is this Not going to? and the sooner you see it, the more conversations, jokes and op-eds you’ll be in on, plus you’ll be uploaded into the collective consciousness.
and it’s playin’ pretty close by several times a day . . . and it’s a fun experience to go and people-watch and eavesdrop. during the film I heard a lot of gasps and “oh my god’s” when certain statements were made or facts were put together. apparently a lot of people are not that aware of a lot of this stuff.

I went with my mom. she loved it. 11th showing in the Oakville/Burlington area. Every seat had sold out for every screening until the one we attended, and at dinnertime on a Sunday there were maybe 15 empty seats in a 350 seat theater.

I know I wear my emotions on my sleeve more than most, but during the opening 10 minutes where Moore takes us back to the Florida elections from the point where the networks first called the state for Gore . . . . . . then began reversing themselves, I got really choked up and would have started crying if I didn’t try to fight it cuz I was in a public place.

I don’t think 9/11 would have happened if the Clinton-Gore team had continued in office – all the testimony from all the terrorism experts makes it pretty clear they were onto something and were totally neutered and misdirected once the vulcan republicans took over. and how everything in Florida from the purged voter lists to katherine harris to the Scalia Court decision makes me so sick . . . it’s like watching a slow-motion film of convicted murderers plotting and then carrying out a crime that was going to ultimately kill so many thousands of people and tear apart your home.

I remember election night 2000. I was on the phone with my mom, who had just gone deaf, and we had to use a middle-person operator who typed out my words that mom could read on a device in her room. the election night coverage was on, we were talking, it was still pretty early, and then they called Florida for Gore, and knowing what a battleground it was and that whoever won Florida would probably win the White House, I blurted out, “Oh-my-God, Gore won Florida!”

and the operator just gasped! she was obviously a democrat and her typing picked up and we carried on a little conversation on the side. but it was this great moment. then of course . . .

and so Moore starts off the film, “Was it all a dream?”

and as this whole modern electoral piracy was replayed, and you see all these people who rigged and stole democracy from america, their faces, them laughing, and then knowing what they did when they got into the white house . . . I just kind-of couldn’t take it.

then, later in the film, he interviews a military family about their son who was sent to Iraq and was killed. as a sensitive person, I always put myself in the place of the people I see on the screen, and to sort of feel and ‘be’ this mother as she first talks proudly of his accomplishments in his life, then as she gets closer in the timeline to when he died she slowly begins to break down, then can’t really get thru facing his last letter home and finally the phone call that came and asked if she was the mother of Private Soandso, and I just started crying, tears were rolling down my cheeks, and I couldn’t hardly see the screen or not make sounds.

then again when a woman’s interviewed about her husband dying on 9/11 and she’s in the halls in washington just pleading for an answer, and then all the headlines about Bush opposing a commission to look into it, and stonewalling at every step, and refusing to hand over information or talk to anyone or try to get to the bottom of what happened, just like any guilty person with something to hide.

at least those three times I was either crying or having to fight to hold back tears. it certainly was not pleasant.

but I also laughed out loud about 10 times. and it made me so glad that my mom was still here, and that no person I love has been ripped from the earth, actually killed by the government. The survivors are so helpless, so powerless. And meanwhile this war machine marches on, and george bush laughs his maniacal laugh, and cheney just keeps lying and strong-arming everyone in sight, and that Dracula Wolfowitz . . . you just can’t believe this is real life.

so, that’s my review.

it was very disturbing. but there Is something we can do in November to fix it, and need to take the lesson from this and work for change.

watching Bush sitting there as the minutes tick by with a child’s book in his hand looking off into space after the SECOND plane hit . . . and that he doesn’t know enough to leap into action . . . maybe in part because he’s not really the President -- like the Governor General we have in Canada, a figurehead who doesn’t really need to be anywhere to make any decisions, just signs whatever’s put in front of him.

there’s not much new if you’ve been following this story over the years. but it’s a great overview for someone who’s been paying only cursory attention.

2 new things I learned:
that many members of the House tried to introduce a bill to investigate the recount etc. but not a single senator would join them to make it go forward. I guess they wanted to get the country past the election and not have an investigation go on forever. but still, it sure is scary-weird that every single senator was opposed to looking into it.

and this other disturbing revelation – that Moore had a pre-Presidency copy of bush’s army records, but when the White House released them after his service was called into question recently, they had blacked out a name that was not blacked out a few years ago. so they didn’t think it was important to cover up this guy Then, but they do now. the guy? James Bath, army buddy with Dubya, they skipped class together, and this guy has maintained a close relationship with bushes while also being the money manger for . . . the bin laden family. THIS is the guy they’re trying to cover up? hmm. it at least LOOKS suspicious.

and it makes you think about bush stonewalling the hearings. and refusing to turn over documents, or even reveal who attended meetings. and about the doctor in England who spilled the beans about ‘sexed up’ intelligence then committed suicide. and the uranium misinformation from Niger being disproved but bush going to the State of the Union with it anyway. then exposing a CIA agent’s identity just to get back at the Nigerian ambassador who spoke up about what bush did. and how every book that comes out from inside the intelligence community exposes the administration as being vacuous and misdirected. and ya just gotta think there’s a pretty overwhelming case here.

it will certainly re-solidify voters opposed to Bush. but also, listening to comments of people after the show, a lot of young people were going, “Wow, I didn’t know all that! pretty bad, eh?” and a lot of older people were walking out just ashen, honestly ghostly, petrified into silence – that this wasn’t ‘a movie.’

so it’s good that it’s out there – cuz a lot of people don’t read the newspaper or even watch the news, but they Do go to movies and will see it just cuz it’s in the mix at the cinemaplix.

two questions: will it catch on and stay in the theaters for several months, and maybe even sort-of grow like My Big Fat Greek Wedding did?
or will it mostly be gone from screens in a month, this being the summer money season in a cut-throat bottom-line business.

it opened in just enough theaters to be the top grossing film its first weekend. now it’s rolling into more cities that didn’t have access to it, which may keep its numbers up.

the music is great, I haven’t read or heard that mentioned in any of the reviews or articles. some guy named Jeff Gibbs does the soundtrack and it’s really subtle and poignant and thrilling acoustic guitar and grand piano. plus, you’re gonna love some of the songs they license, especially what kicks in as soon as the last line of the film is spoken. ;-)
sorta like - cool new videos to some great songs.

there’s funny use of some classic TV shows (that I won’t spoil by mentioning) and other pop culture Americana that makes for a real zippy fun ride to a fast snappy beat that sweeps you along, and I only felt one lull about an hour-and-a-half in when he spends too much time on suits and Haliburton, but other than that, it’s pretty much a bullet-train ride. interestingly, moore doesn’t even appear on screen until about 30 minutes in, and is only physically in about 4 short scenes.

besides all the heavy stuff (ehem), the film is funny, too. probably laughed 10 times. so that’s 10 laughs, 3 cries. more of a laugher than a crier. but if tears count as 3 points, it’s pretty much a tie with a high score.

oh – the “Fahrenheit 9/11” title – I didn’t know what it meant – thought it would be revealed in the movie – nope. looked it up, it’s a reference to science fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s story, and then movie of the same name, “Fahrenheit 451” which is supposedly the temperature that paper bursts into flame. It’s about an oppressive society that burns books. then one of the taglines for this movie is: “The temperature that freedom burns” or something. recent news reports have Bradbury pissed and dissing Moore.
{why can’t we all just get along?}

overall it’s a really well-made visual – audio op-ed that will be included in not only history of film books, but history of the world books as well. for documentary film, Moore’s opened up millions of dollars in financing to all levels of doc filmmakers all over the world. and he’s opened up audiences to documentaries, and given them a ‘cool’ association for the young – instead of thinking all documentaries are about migrating antelope. and he seems to have almost started -- or is certainly spear-heading -- this exploding genre of op-ed films.

ya might want to check it out.