Capitalism: A Love Story

In what's turning out to be a loosely connected trilogy of recent posts, I watched Michael Moore's latest film Capitalism: A Love Story tonight and found it picked up on more than a few common threads that have invaded my viewing and thoughts lately. The cycle goes a little like this.... Avatar struck me as the apex of a trend toward marketing usurping the cinematic art form. Up in the Air's strange social politics went mostly unquestioned (and unchallenged) by an adoring media and tonight, Capitalism: A Love Story questions the limited public backlash that Corporate America has faced in the aftermath of what was clearly an epic-scaled confidence game played at the highest levels.

The common theme shared by these vastly different films might be just how placated and powerless most have become (or at least feel they've become). Underlying Moore's doc/op-ed/commentary is a slightly-bewildered activist who can't quite figure how they got away with it. Moore's films share similar structures and Capitalism follows in the mold of his previous efforts, but there seemed to be a slight exasperation with his audience this time around. Even when he highlights several successful working-class sit downs and various post-bailout protests, the crowds seem thin and Moore's frustrations with the lack of public hue and cry bleeds through. Why aren't you in the streets? ..seems to be an ongoing theme in his latest work. We're too busy watching Avatar might be the answer.

In an effort it avoid getting too down on the issue, Michael Moore's call to arms is a sincere and positive one. His antics may be old-hat now, but his heart remains in the right place. Sitting down to watch it nearly a year after it was shot (it ends with great promise for change as Obama won the 2008 election), one can't help but feel immense disappointment a year-plus into the new administration. Nothing's changed. The foxes are still in charge of the hen house and the brief glimmer of hope that America could chart a different course fades with each passing month. Perhaps it was unrealisitc to assume otherwise.

And it's no fault of Moore's – he's done more than his share of the heavy lifting. Like him or hate him, the clown-prince of modern social activism is squarely in the corner of a beleaguered middle-America, but nobody, including middle-Americans, seems to give a shit. It's Oscar night, after all.

Hurt Locker wins...YES!

Terrifying..... http://admiringavery.blogspot.com/2010/03/spring-fever.html

Oh, and thanks to everyone who endured the Running of the Yuppies today on Roncey. Nice work.



Britarded said...

oh dear, I'm sure I just got flagged by the fbi (again) for clicking on that link.

Britarded said...

I actually thought Sicko was his best film, it seemed he'd taken a step away from the dramatic sensationalism of some scenes in the previous two and it stated a clear and strong case. I enjoyed Capitalism but felt it was stating the obvious a lot of the time. There was about 45 minutes of the film that could have been substituted for a kind of info heavy establishing montage, leaving room to dig deeper later on.
As you say, there are no changes made and it ends as a bit of a frustrating downer. With the recession and everything bottoming out, maybe we'd have learned more and have more to tell in another 5 years.

Moore's films are very watchable and still relevant and the only education on these subjects a lot of people will get.

Chandles said...

I couldn't finish Capitalism. I just can't make myself sit through another Michael Moore film. I don’t need to be told the things that Moore is trying to tell. No one who actually watches a Michael Moore movie needs to be told these things. The very fact that they have sat down to watch his movie means that they probably already know what he is about to tell them. Anyone that does watch these two movies either already knows more than the film shares, or they know enough and have still chosen not to do anything about it, a fat man being a confrontational dick to people isn't going to change their opinions. It may be the most accessible education on these issues that people could get, but it’s of no use if the people who need to watch these things never do.

La Sporgenza said...

Hard to argue any of those comments Kendall - you're spot on about preaching to the converted, but saying nothing doesn't advance the cause either.

Britarded said...

The Yes Men Save The World was a more effective and more entertaining film with the same sentiment. Check it out! Maybe Mike has lost his touch.