16″ x 20″ Signed Sept. 17, 1996 at Borders, World Trade Center, New York, NY
Michael Moore is one of the few documentary filmmakers who is a “star” in his own right. Originally an essayist for such counterculture publications as Mother Jones, Moore carried over his establishment-bashing irreverence to films. His first feature-length documentary, 1989’s Roger and Me, is at base a melancholy study of the devastating effect that the loss of the General Motors factory had on the citizens of Flint, MI. But where others might wallow in pathos or overwhelm the audience with fluent tract, Moore chooses to emphasize the ironic humor in the situation; the film’s throughline is Moore’s cheerful but vain efforts to commiserate with GM chairman Roger Smith.
In a notorious MPAA decision, Roger and Me received an “R” rating due to graphic scenes of one Flint entrepreneur skinning rabbits and selling their meat (this episode led to a follow up documentary, 1992’s Pets or Meat: Return to Flint). Moore’s special brand of iconoclasm also pervaded his 1994 TV series TV Nation, a satirical spin on television reality shows wherein the humor grew from “the Truth” rather than any of Moore’s insouciant exaggerations. Thus far, Michael Moore’s desire to make a non-documentary has yielded only the disappointing political satire Canadian Bacon which lay on the shelf for nearly two years before its release in 1995.