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Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

April 29, 2010

7/10 Filthy Rich White Guys

Not the best thing Moore’s ever done, but it’ll still get that blood boiling.

Capitalism: A Love Story is about Michael Moore doing his best to break down how capitalism operates in the US using specific examples of how we’re getting effed in the a, why it’s probably not the Swiss watch of a system that the wealthiest of the wealthy make it out to be and how it allowed (and continues to allow) for some outrageously immoral and greedy bastards to reap the benefits of landing our economy right smack in the shitter.

Fun times!

Writing reviews about Michael Moore movies are always an interesting process for me. Well, just talking about Michael Moore seems to be an interesting process for pretty much everyone, similar to meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time and immediately asking them why they voted for McCain. The thing is, I like the guy, I think he’s made some damn good documentaries on some really important issues that border on required viewing (mainly Columbine, Roger & Me and The Big One), but I’m also kinda suspect about his journalistic…strategies.

I’ll save specific examples for specific movies, but even though Moore seems to be a voice of reason in politically driven documentaries nowadays, there are times where I gotta wonder if he’s coming off more as the far-left version of FOX News. Alright, maybe that’s pushing it, but Capitalism: A Love Story isn’t the first time I’ve watched one of his movies and felt a bit emotionally manipulated. Maybe it’s the overly-sympathetic tone of his narration when introducing a victimized family or his occasional tendency to stray from the subtle, but that kind of reporting rubs me the wrong way.

But by the same token, these are real victims we’re seeing and even though Moore might not always go about making his point in the best way possible, the point is made and the point is effective. Some of the points he brings up were things that I already knew, like how the top 1% of wealthy Americans make more money than the lower 90% combined, but hearing it again while seeing hard-working or out-of-work folks get evicted from their homes because they’re being royally screwed by people with power is nevertheless an eye-opener. There are also a handful of other examples like this that I wasn’t aware of, like how some of the biggest companies in America have been making a habit of taking life insurance policies out on their employees so that they get all the money when the said person dies instead of the victim’s family, and that stuff sticks with you because that stuff ain’t right.

But for all these moments that make you shake your head and want to punch out the first suit on Wall Street, I’m still not really sure what the hell capitalism is. The main problem with Capitalism is that it’s just unfocused and for all Moore’s efforts to explain this corrupt economic system to a simpleton like myself (my words, not his), my definition of it more or less boils down to “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer”. Could be that I just wasn’t paying close enough attention or what, but it’s still somewhat discouraging to sit down and watch a movie about capitalism yet still not feel like you actually understand capitalism by the end.

Then again, my being out of the loop on this might happen to be a testament to just how effective capitalism is as a system when it comes to hoodwinking the masses, but like I said, it sucks to feel stupid.

While Capitalism: A Love Story is a wake-up call in many regards and has enough moments of appalling realism to drive its message home early on, it unfortunately stands as one of Moore’s more forgettable efforts. Those interesting tidbits of corruption stuck around with me when all was said and done, but the final product didn’t have me utterly fuming like I had hoped it would, nor did it have me laughing all that much, and by the next morning I almost forgot I even saw this.

Nonetheless, our economy sucks and it’s nice to know the names and faces of some of the bigwig, selfish mother effers who got us here, but I don’t think it’s gonna be converting anyone who think Moore’s an asshole.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2010 12:31 am

    Haven’t seen the movie, don’t plan on it, but I did read your review.

    What does Moore suggest? America move to communism? What a royal mess that would be.

    It seems like Michael Moore always wants to point out problems in everything but he doesn’t really offer up solutions to those problems. I’m not saying he’s alone in that – there are plenty of people, liberal and conservative, democrat or republican, independent or undefined, who just complain about holes in the system without making an effort to plug them.

    But my assumptions are based on what I hear, not from what I’ve seen of his movies.

    • April 29, 2010 7:35 am

      Yeah, that tends to be an issue with Moore’s movies. His suggestion more or less boils down to fighting back township rebellion-style and not allowing ourselves to get shit on by upper America. Like you said, might not be the most effective solution, but at the same time, it’s nice to see someone out there calling these folks out for being such royal fuck-ups.

  2. Ryan permalink
    April 29, 2010 8:55 am

    Watch IOUSA. Much more informative and educational documentary about our current problems

    • April 29, 2010 9:00 am

      Never heard of it but will do. Thanks for the heads up, homey.

    • May 2, 2010 11:40 am

      I concur with Ryan. It’s about the national debt and much less partisan than any of Moore’s movie.

  3. April 29, 2010 12:04 pm

    I watched it only recently myself and I enjoyed it. Like you said, Moore always does topics which are inteserting and he always is on the side of the argument I agree with – but his presentation is so twisted and, well, deceitful, you get more frustrated at him then you do at the topic. Farenheight 9/11 – Bush IS an asshole, you don’t need to twist his words and make him look like an ass, thats a given. Even with Capitalism, I agree – but why go with a fU**in bag to the banks – we know their evil and – more importantly – we know they won’t fill Moores bags up. In fact, THAT would be a good end. Moore finding out Heston actually had deep-seated problems regarding guns and the NRA, but felt forced into it by his wife … or, the banks actually give him his money. All, something-billion of it.

    • April 29, 2010 12:09 pm

      Haha, that would have been a much better ending. Yeah, I’ll go into the Heston thing when I finally get around to reviewing Columbine one of these days since that segment was the one real issue I had with that movie, but I agree with you. That thing with the money bag really didn’t serve much of a purpose at all. The strange thing is that that strategy actually worked in Columbine when he got Walmart to stop selling ammo by marching up to their HQ with the shooting victims.

  4. April 29, 2010 12:54 pm

    He should have named it Corporatism: A Love Story, corporatism is what he was railing against, not capitalism.

  5. April 29, 2010 2:35 pm

    I really want to see this but I know it’s gonna make me angry!

  6. April 30, 2010 2:41 pm

    “Well, just talking about Michael Moore seems to be an interesting process for pretty much everyone, similar to meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time and immediately asking them why they voted for McCain.”

    Haha… great fun. As great as Michael Moore is as a documentarian with is great ability to, like you said get that blood boiling, he is a terrible filmmaker. I wish Michael Moore would remain more a journalist and hire a better team to come aboard and make his films because they always remind me of shoddy MTV specials. His narration is also a killer for me.

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