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Posts Tagged ‘michael moore’

I browsed my “recently watched” list in Netflix for something to give a little mini review on.

My dvd queue, my instant queue, and my recently watched list are a hodge podge of movies. If it sounds interesting, I’ll watch it. If it’s critically acclaimed, I’ll watch it. I tend to go towards artsy stuff and lighthearted stuff, because I really, really need to laugh and smile. Like, really.

So from my recently watched list I present to you a movie that stars unemployed people–Roger & Me. Roger & Me is a Michael Moore film from a long, long time ago–way back in 1989–that really, if you disregard the hairstyles, almost could be from 2009.

The documentary. I remember watching Disney nature movies in elementary school. What made them boring was the same monotonous narrator talking about a doe and its fawn in poor film quality (yes, I took note of this at an early age!). I always remember these movies being filmed in wooded areas or fields–native landscapes for me. Why couldn’t they film in the desert or ocean (Jacques Cousteau and the Calypso films would appear in around sixth grade)? I would giggle to myself at the word mate or urinate. haha.  Sex and pee are still hilarious today.

I saw a few Michael Moore movies in college, as well as some other documentaries. It seemed to me that the best documentaries had at least some of the following qualities:

1. Often they are about a boring (or at least unexpected) subject. I once saw a doc about mardi gras beads. Yes, beads! It was about Chinese manufacturing… it was unexpectedly interesting. There’s one about Helvetica… like the font. Or high scores on Pacman.

2. They are clever. Some may have even had some laugh out loud parts.
3. They make you think. They shouldn’t tell you what is good or bad, but should let you choose what is right and what is wrong.
4. They are personal. There is obviously some sort of reason why you want to make a film about a specific subject… and because of that, passion shoes.
5. They employ some interesting camera techniques, especially when they are low budget. Sometimes there is no audio and just a beautiful camera angle. I love when directors make movies to be the art they should be.

So anyway, onto Roger & Me… The title of the movie refers to Moore’s attempt to meet with Roger Smith, the CEO of General Motors. Way back in the 1980s, GM did some crazy shit. Major layoffs were occurring in numbers that could not even be fathomed in Flint, Michigan–home of Michael Moore. Unemployment, foreclosures and evictions skyrocketed… holy shit, wait a minute, this sounds familiar! So to recap–GM (who was, at one point, pretty generous to their employees) is making shitloads of money, yet decides to move plants to Mexico to probably “save money.” People in Michigan, therefore, lose their jobs. These people then lose their houses… and sometimes, even their sanity. Crime rate goes up. Murder rates go up. Rat population goes up. A tourism campaign is launched and fails.

The interesting thing about this movie–at least I think it’s interesting–is the whole element of cause and effect. Because X happened, Y happened. Because Y happened, Z is happening. So much of it parallels to today’s economic situation–sending work elsewhere cuts costs (and then increases profit), but it fucks up things on a community basis. I also liked the little snippets of “real people” being affected by GM; it makes the story personal. I’m not a big fan of financial junk, but it was easy to understand and got it’s point across. I could see why its elementary approach would not appeal to economists and such professionals.

As an on-topic digression, I really feel there needs to be more support for the unemployed, and I just don’t mean in an economic sense. I thankfully had supportive friends, including some that experienced unemployment. But I also wish, at the same time, that I would have had like, a jobless mentor. Being jobless really messes things up in your life. I realized why people go crazy, and I’m really surprised that the suicide rate (and crime rates) aren’t super high… or maybe they are and they just aren’t being reported.

Now that I’m off that pedestal, Roger & Me is a must see if you like documentaries or films that considered “groundbreaking.” I also recommend it to those interested in the economy and the unemployed. It was also nice to know that I wasn’t alone–sure, these people were jobless 25 years ago, but it made me feel a little less alone. Also, if you are a fan of Moore’s other films, you’ll probably like it.

Recommended viewing setting: On a weekday, in lieu of your daily job search, while wearing a spotted t-shirt from your former company’s summer picnic.

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