Michael Moore is a liberal filmmaker, writer and satirist. He became internationally known after the release of his first film, Roger & Me. The film is a narrative of his attempts to interview the CEO of General Motors, Roger Smith. The interview was never obtained. The film contains a parallel narrative on the effects of General Motors' "downsizing" on his hometown of Flint Michigan. It premiered to wildly positive acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival (largest in the world) in September of 1989.
His book Stupid White Men has criticized other American management habits, characterizing them similarly to the Pointy-Haired Boss character of Scott Adams. His first bad management target, General Motors, was thought to be near corporate bankruptcy as of 2005. John Kenneth Galbraith had also written that American managers had far too much power, and had effectively usurped the power of the owners, in many cases also employees.
Despite his focus on exposing the ignorance of American elites, not all of Moore's efforts are mean spirited. His TV Nation effort to drop off housewarming gifts for Bill Gates were repeatedly foiled, by police and security guards wearing ominous "Microsoft" black polo shirts, at Gates' home and office both. However, the Microsoft Chairman's amiable father Bill Gates Sr. found in his modest home in a track suit, gleefully accepted, and happily waved to Moore's crew as he made use of the Weed-Whacker that Moore gave him.
In a more serious effort, Moore held a funeral for someone whose transplant was not covered by Humana because the company said he had little chance to live. The funeral was a full ceremony - on Humana Corporation's own lawn.
That film was notably produced in Halifax, by Salter Street Films. Moore indicated that he could not have made the film in the United States. Interestingly, Salter Street disbanded soon after despite its very popular TV productions (of a similar style to Moore's) including This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a show that includes frequent segments mocking American ignorance of Canada, and on which notably rogue MP Carolyn Parrish stomped on a George W. Bush doll. Conspiracy theorists suggested someone "got to" Salter Street. Nonetheless it finished its final production with Moore.
His 2004 film, Fahrenheit 9/11 won the coveted Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It had more or less cemented his fame. The explores conflict of interest in the Bush administration and how its alliances led to disaster.
Moore asserts that many predicted effects of invading Iraq were willfully ignored by the Bush administration and openly campaigned against him and for John Kerry in 2004. During September and October 2004, Moore spoke at universities and colleges in swing states during his "Slacker Uprising Tour". The tour gave away ramen and underwear to people who promised to vote. This provoked public denunciations from the Michigan Republican Party and attempts to convince the government that Moore should be arrested for buying votes, but district attorneys refused to get involved with what would surely have become a circus trial. The tour was a popular success. Large numbers of young adults registered to vote, and by a strong percentage voted for John Kerry (Kerry 54%, Bush 44%). Nonetheless, the generally increased turnout in the election ensured that the percentage of youth voting was little different than in 2000, albeit at a higher numerical level. John Kerry eventually won the state of Michigan by 3%.
Moore gained controversy during this period for his reference to the Iraqi insurgents as that country's equivalent of the American revolutionary 'Minutemen'.
Quite possibly the most controversial stop during the tour was Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah. A fight for his right to speak ensued in massive public debates and a media blitz. Death threats, bribes and lawsuits ensued. The event was chronicled in the documentary film This Divided State.
- Capitalism: A Love Story, 2009
- Captain Mike Across America (aka Slacker Uprising), 2007
- Sicko, 2007
- Fahrenheit 9/11, 2004
- Bowling for Columbine, 2002
- And Justice for All, 1998
- The Big One, 1997
- Canadian Bacon, 1995
- Roger & Me, 1989
Will They Ever Trust Us Again?
The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader
Dude, Where's My Country?
Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American