Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Thoughts on Michael Moore

So, Moore's film, Flabbythighs 451 lbs. is going to open and the debate is on. I've seen some folks try to compare him to Leni Reifenstahl as a film-maker -- great fims in the service of evil -- but I think a more apropos comparison would be to Ed Wood: earnest incompetence elevated by a cult of worshippers.

Let's looks at them. Both have a serious fashion fetish. Wood was well-known for his love of angorra sweaters and cross-dressing. Moore has a thing for ballcaps and dressing like he's still a working class slob. Problem is, Moore lives in Upper West Side New York, in a very expensive condo, and hobnobs with the folks in Cannes and Hollywood.

And then there's the Reifenstahl comparison. Triumph of the Will is masterful film-making. The film's most ardent critics, those who abhor the Hitlerism she gloried, admit that it is compelling and stirring cinema. You can't not watch. You get sucked into it and are repeatedly shocked when you realise you are finding yourself admiring the Nazis. Her conclusion may be revolting (Hitler is a god among men.), but her construction of the argument is flawless.

Moore? Not so much. His films are riddled with errors and sloppiness. Just like Wood's. His arguments are no more convincing than the pie plate UFOs Ed Wood hung from string before his camera. Wood's films bore the marks of his alcoholism; Moore's, the jitteriness of a caffeine and attention addict.

Bowling for Columbine and Farenheit 911 are like Triumph of the Will? No, they are more like Glen or Glenda and Plan Nine From Outer Space. An obscure failure in his own life, it was only with death and time that Wood gained his notoriety. Moore is celebrated today, but I think the next generation will regard him just as sadly and peculiarly as we do Wood today.

No comments: