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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Other Michael Moore Documentary, 12 Aug 2004
By 
Mr. Od Smith "d2kvirus" (Coulsdon, Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big One [DVD] (DVD)
Between getting plaudits for Roger & Me, and getting death threats for Bowling For Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore made this documentary of his book tour for Downsize This. It was shown once on the BBC many years ago, between seasons of TV Nation, and vanished into the ether. But thank heavens for trumped-up controversy and George W. Bush, because now it's free to everyone to get hold of.
First things first, this is no Fahrenheit 9/11, in more ways than one. The most obvious being there's no real issue to focus upon for the duration, other than Mike touring the US to promote the book (which you will probably need to have read for some of it to make sense). There may be issues that come to light along the way (more on that later), but not once is everything pinned on the Commander In Chief - this is Moore's regular territory, Corporate America. Also, the film isn't as slick as his later docs, and has the lo-fi look of Roger & Me, as well as the seat of the pants approach to actually making the thing. Oh, and it features more of Moore's trademark stunts and humour.
However, at first appearances, it still doesn't seem to hang together, possibly due to lack of material. After all, there are regular interludes of Moore giving talks/stand up, echoing later series The Awful Truth, and a lot of this is reciting material from Downsize This. However, it's still damn funny - Steve Forbes provides a genuine belly laugh or two (even if he doesn't blink ONCE!), as does the idea of General Motors selling crack to increase profits. However, when Moore steps away from the book tour, then the issues are brought into stark focus - and follow one disturbing pattern. A company makes record profits, so to make more, lay off staff, close factories, and relocate to Mexico (or wherever), so the new staff will earn less than $1 per hour. The first case of this, when Moore meets with a manager of one of these plants, he's fobbed off with an appalling excuse - the company would've moved earlier if the staff were better, and may not have moved if they were useless.
At other points, we even see a dark side to bookstores - be it having a secret Union meeting with staff at Borders, or being told in another store that Barnes & Noble doesn't stock his book (they do), the guitarist from Cheap Trick isn't in town (he is), and he isn't selling enough books when talking to people at signing sessions (he broke into the NY Times Bestseller List when in that very town). It makes you worry about the mindset stores have - but it could be worse. Watch this film, and you'll never want to fly TWA ever again. Don't ask...
Despite early reservations about material, there is a whole montage late on of other things they could have put in, but just show short clips for maximum mirth, especially attempting to have votes for Bob Dorner struck off due to voters being insane. But this leads the big pay off, where Moore gets to meet, in fact is invites to meet, the Nike CEO - a huge leap from his previous film, where he spent 90 minutes trying to meet Roger Smith. And this segment will make you want to burn the pair of Nikes you're wearing, as he says they don't employ 12 year olds in Indonesia (but 14 year olds is OK), and that Americans don't like making shoes.
So maybe there are a couple of weak parts to the film - Moore again indulges his Flint fascination, and the anti-Moore brigade will make something of him flying Business Class, while the rest of the crew are stuck in Economy (and I've read - or tried to read - Michael Moore Is A Big, Fat Stupid White Man, and this is the level it aims for), and it just isn't as strong or committed as any of his other films. But as a stand-alone Moore film, it does have the punch it should have, delivered with the right force at the right moments, and the humour works well when it is needed, and doesn't intrude at the wrong times in the wrong places. Essentially, it's a feature length episode of TV Nation/The Awful Truth, as opposed to a feature documentary in the mold of Bowling For Columbine/Fahrenheit 9/11. If you get over that fact, you'll find a lot to enjoy, learn, or get infuriated about. And that's just for the Moore supporters, by the way...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Documentary maker ever, 31 Mar 2013
By 
Mrs. V. E. Venn (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big One [DVD] (DVD)
All I will day is if you like the truth in Documentaries choose Michael Moore.he has to be without doubt the only Doc maker that has you sitting transfixed so not to miss a second.and makes his films so easy to understand you will remember them for years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 July 2014
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This review is from: The Big One [DVD] (DVD)
received in good order, a very interesting political dvd
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The Big One [DVD] by Michael Moore (DVD - 2004)
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