The Electric Commentary

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Big Opening Weekend For Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore's "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11 will open tomorrow on 868 movie screens nationwide. It is being touted as the biggest opening for a documentary ever. A documentary is a film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event. If you are going to broaden the definition of "documentary" to include Fahrenheit 9/11 the number of theaters that showed this "documentary" was still greater than 868.


  • Don't forget about "The Real Cancun."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:48 AM  

  • People are so ignorant! Farenheit 9/11 will pale in comparison to the opening of this documentary, released just this year even . . . have we really forgotten the 8th highest grossing movie of all time??!?

    There is NO WAY F9/11 will touch the opening record in sales for a documentary; the ACLU, PETA,, and every other leftist organization in the world couldn't match the buying power of suburban churches (in California alone) that other films in the genre had behind them.

    Personally, I'll be sending $8 to the John Kerry campaign, and take some time out to stump for Barack Obama this weekend instead of wasting either on Michael Moore. Consider doing the same.

    By Blogger Peter, at 1:36 PM  

  • Playing a little fast and loose with the definition of documentary there, aren't you Peter? OK, so Michael Moore started it, but, I think the funny part was that "Jackass" really was a documentary to a large extent. The Passion is just a movie. Besides, you're forgetting that documentary about the dinosaurs in the amusement park. Why hasn't the government done something about that?

    And don't waste your time stumping for Obama. Since Jack Ryan (How dare you, sir!) got all kinky Obama is a shoe in.

    And did you get my blogger invite?

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 2:00 PM  

  • Besides, doesn't Soros fund Let's not play poor here.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:28 PM  

  • The "people are so ignorant" comment was an attempt to set up a (in retrospect) pretty weak joke about people taking the Bible as actual truth. So yes, I'm streching what might fit in the 'documentary' genre, but for satiracal purposes only...

    And I most definately WILL be coming down to offer Barack a hand this weekend; the more excitement and inertia he gets (and the worse it looks for Ryan in the poles), the worse the republican turnout will be in Illinois, a battleground state.

    By Blogger Peter, at 3:55 PM  

  • Ah, but you forget, if you put Ryan too far in the dumps they will replace him. Now they may not replace him with anyone good, but is it worth taking the chance? As I recall, a few of the Republican candidates down here appealed to me more than Ryan (Note: Oberweiss was NOT one of them). I'd try and keep Jack afloat a bit.
    Also, this is not a battleground state. It's a LOCK for Kerry. With a moderate republican this might become a battleground state, but until then it's a democratic stronghold.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 4:05 PM  

  • Danny,

    Just because you didn't agree with the Dick Clark portion of Bowling for Columbine doesn't mean that you should say Moore's movies aren't factually accurate. Just because a filmaker edits a film to prove his point, doesn't mean the material he finally uses didn't happen. Yes, context can skew, and can make material not factually accurate even if it is real footage. But I don't believe Moore wants you to take every initial reaction (like Bush's in the class room on 9/11) as an indictment of his foriegn policy. If you can't handle watching it, even in the context of a highly opinionated film, then it says something about that footage.

    I believe that most documentary film makers that make films about anything controversial have a point in mind before they shoot. Even 'winged migration' wants you to become a conservationist. But it didn't show pictures of the birds shitting on cars, right?

    I watched BFC two nights ago after discussing the movie with you. I was critical. I still disagree with almost everything you say about the film. I blame Dick Clark even though he supports Kerry. Charlton Heston deserved what he got. And even though Fahrenheit 9/11 could hurt Kerry, which scares me shitless, Moore's movie will help this country move in a better direction because it will be more full of truth than most anything we see or read.

    Oh yeah, let's remember niether of us have seen it yet.

    By Blogger Brad Richards, at 2:45 PM  

  • All that I said, at least on this post, is that a news article that claimed F9/11 is being realeased in more theaters than any previous "documentary" is not accurate because Jackass was released in more theaters. I was just playing on the idea that a documentary is supposed to be a real event or events filmed by an observer. I realize that editing is part of documentary film-making. I just think when staged events become acceptable in the genre, Jackass becomes part of teh genre. I'll comment further when I see it.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 3:00 PM  

  • Then let's talk about BFC. Here are some things that were staged off the top of my head.

    He edited the plaque on a statue.
    He made it look like you could get a gun at a bank. You can't. You have to pick it up in a gun store.
    He creates the impression that the NRA goes to locations based on whether or not they suffer tragic shootings. In reality, all of the NRA events portrayed in the movie were scheduled weeks, even monhts in advance, and in one instance actually postponed a convention out of respect to the deceased.
    Put the blame on Dick Clark for a small child's death when her mom dropped her off at a crack house.
    Edited the order of questions presented to Charlton Heston for dramatic effect.
    Implied that the Lockheed Martin plant in Colorado manufactured weapons. That particular plant does not.

    These I know from mainstream sources and film critics. For more, see:


    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:01 PM  

  • Also, check this out:

    From Andrew Sullivan

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:18 PM  

  • I posted this since we were getting finicky about the definition of "documentary" prior to seeing Fahrenheit.

    Shenon, Philip. "Michael Moore is Ready for His Close-Up." The New York Times. 20 June 2004: Late Edition - Final , Section 2 , Page 1 , Column 5

    "After a year spent covering the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, I was recently allowed to attend a Hollywood screening. Based on that single viewing, and after separating out what is clearly presented as Mr. Moore's opinion from what is stated as fact, it seems safe to say that central assertions of fact in "Fahrenheit 9/11" are SUPPORTED BY THE PUBLIC RECORD (indeed, many of them will be familiar to those who have closely followed Mr. Bush's political career)."

    By Blogger RyanSimatic, at 12:44 AM  

  • I admit that it is entirely possible that F911 is a true documentary, and that the facts are, shall we say, more "true" than in BFC. That is why I've only really talked about BFC and referred to F911 only in other people's words. I will see it eventually, when I no longer have to pay 10 bucks, so until then I'm going on heresay. There is one thing that I know to be shall we say "disingenuous"

    He makes a bid deal over the Bushies shipping the Bin Laden family out after 9/11. This was, at best, a strange action. It deserves criticsm. But Moore asks the question of why they were let out and who ordered it after showing the Bush/BIn Laden ties, and leaves it to the viewer to assume that Bush ordered the evacuation. Later, on an unrealted item, Moore gets the opinion of Richard Clarke, former Bush couterterrorism czar, and author of the Anti-bush book "Against All Enemies." He never mentions the Bush/Bin Laden connection with Clarke. However, as it turns out, it was not bush but CLARKE who gave the order to get the Bin Ladens out of the country, not Bush. This was admitted by Clarke. Moore had to know this, and chose tho ignore it.

    But until I have more info, that's my only factual criticsm of F911

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 8:53 AM  

  • I don't believe that Clarke gave the "order" to get the bin Ladens out of the country, but rather "approved" their departure after conferring with the FBI. Here is a quote from Clarke's 9/11 commission testimony:

    “I believe after the FBI came back and said it was all right with them, we ran it through the decision process for all these decisions that we were making in those hours, which was the interagency Crisis Management Group on the video conference,” Clarke testified. “I was making or coordinating a lot of the decisions on 9-11 in the days immediately after. And I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal [for the flights] to me, but I don’t know. The two — since you press me, the two possibilities that are most likely are either the Department of State or the White House chief of staff’s office.”

    I am not trying to suggest a great conspiracy, but I don't think it was disingenuous of Moore to include said questions because a definitive answer to "who ordered the flights" seems hard to come by.

    By Blogger RyanSimatic, at 12:46 PM  

  • None of this changes the fact that a film in which actual events, such as Steve-O sticking a hotwheels car up his ass and going to get x-rays, observed and commented on by an observer, such as Johnny Knoxville, IS a documentary. And it opened in more theaters than F9/11 which was my entire point on this post.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 12:56 PM  

  • The difference between "ordered" and "approved" is significant. But it is less significant when you are the Counterterrorsim Czar. It is less significant yet when you are the Counterterrorsim Czar immediately following the biggest terrorist attack in US history. It seems odd to me that he did not recall who proposed the idea in the first place. Either he:
    1. Approved this without paying much attention to it, and that's why he can't remember, in which case he is guilty of being lazy, or
    2. He approved it willingly. If this is the case, he as as responsible as the person who proposed it, as he was in a position of leadership.

    But Dan is ultimately correct with regard to the topic of the post. Jackass is as much a documentary as at least BFC.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:05 PM  

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