Chuck Jaffee: More Moore – a love story |

Chuck Jaffee: More Moore – a love story

Michael Moore is a buffoon. He is a wart. One should not begin a film review this way unless one is trying to agitate, but I say it with respect and appreciation.

Say what you will, Moore is “a person who amuses others by tricks, jokes, odd gestures and postures” (buffoon). He is a “a small, often hard, abnormal elevation” (wart) on the body politic.

Moore is also, by far, the most successful documentary filmmaker ever. That said, the total box office of “Fahrenheit 9/11” ($120 million) pulled in something like what the biggest blockbusters do in their opening weekends. Moore’s “Sicko” pulled in only 20 percent of Fahrenheit’s take. The film that launched Moore, “Roger & Me,” grossed less than seven million. This still rises well above the average for documentaries.

As for his latest film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” people will see the film or not see it, because it is a Michael Moore film. Whether you like the man or not, Moore knows how to make a movie that entertains and manipulates and stirs up thought and emotion. He knows how to agitate.

Another thing Moore knows how to do is put himself in his films. He injects his blue collar, sucker punching, dorky self into his films because he knows, for instance, he embodies caring populism and roiling activism. Michael Moore knows he has established a brand from which he will be slow to stray.

About the facts paraded in “Capitalism,” his most questionable manipulations yield relatively weak slaps from his critics, unless you count his rather overbroad thematic coverage this time. Critics routinely deride Moore’s treatment of the facts. It’s fair to say that Moore exposes and harps on some cold hearted, exploitative, and greedy corporate practices … without anyone poised to sue him out of commission.

One should not end a film review without having actually reviewed the film. In “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Moore does well what Moore does.

Chuck Jaffee of Nevada City likes to plug people. Find his other articles and columns for The Union at

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