Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wanna watch Michael Moore bitchslap Wolf Blitzer? Trust me, you do

I was going through my regular workday earlier this week and trying in vain to ignore what was on TV when Michael Moore came on and it became simply impossible to resist.

The afternoon airspace on CNN is usually a pretty peaceful place. There's an understanding, I guess: People get to come on and plug their movies, TV shows, etc., and in exchange they have to answer a series of truly sycophantic queries.

But when you have Michael Moore on, of course, the normal rules simply don't apply. I'm not sure how many times he's been on this week, but yesterday's installment was just a doozy. He was apparently set off by "Dr." Sanjay Gupta's (I'm sure he really is a doctor, but once you play one on TV I just can't take you too seriously) revealing that the average American spends only just over $6,000 a year on health care instead of the $7,000 Moore claims in his new movie, "Sicko." Way to go there with the hard-hitting reporting, Sanjay.

What I like about Michael Moore (and it certainly can't be that he always sticks to the facts) is that he's a lethal combo: A genuinely angry guy who also just loves to be in the spotlight. And this week, he took full advantage of that spotlight to say what we all already know: CNN and just about every other TV news outlet present a very skewed version of reality, especially when it comes to what's happening in Iraq.

Now, I don't much like getting into politics here, but I do like to see Wolf Blitzer turn several shades of red as he's called a liar over and over on live TV. I found the best of their long exchange on YouTube, and have posted it below for everyone to enjoy.

It shows exactly what's great and at the same time rotten about Michael Moore. He's a bomb-thrower who has more weapons in his arsenal than he has targets, so he occasionally misfires badly. I've enjoyed all his movies so far, but he really crossed the line badly in "Bowling for Columbine" when he went to Charlton Heston's house to torment the poor old guy. It was just painful to watch and thoroughly inappropriate.

But, at least as often, he makes the points that everyone else ignores, and for that I can only say thanks. I have yet to see "Sicko," but since it's hanging tough in the top 10, I'm still holding out hope it will come to my little corner of the world sometime in August. If you have seen it, please feel free to let me know if it's any good or not.

Pixar, say it ain't so

If it seems like I write about Pixar a lot here, well, I do, because I love animation and noone else out there simultaneously takes the chances and delivers quality pics at a rate like these guys.

"Ratatouille" is easily the best movie I've seen this summer, and the next two years should bring more really fun stuff. After that, however, the studio may be heading into dangerous territory: Sequel-land.

The next three years are set: for 2008, "Wall-E," Andrew Stanton's tale about a robot who's sent down to clean up our defiled planet and then goes on an interplanetary adventure; for 2009 it's "Up," about a geriatric superhero who, like me, surely likes to eat his dinner before 5 p.m.; and for 2010, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back for a surefire hit with "Toy Story 3." From there, however, it might just be going downhill fast.

According to another, even more pixar-obsessed blogger, 2011 will bring, God forbid, a "Cars 2."

Now, I've loved almost all the Pixar movies, but "Cars" was, while beautiful to look at, more than a little lame. It was boring for long stretches, and never as funny or magical as Pixar's best work.

So I can't say I'm looking forward to any kind of "Cars" sequel. "Toy Story 3"? To that I can say yes, but I'm hoping this other rumor just isn't true. But I'm more than a little afraid we'll find out in the next few days that it will be. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

Like you I have to say that I have always loved Pixar. But this news of Cars 2 worries me. Sequels seem to be a crap shoot. Sometimes something wonderful emerges--Toy Story 2 in Pixar's case, The Bride of Frankenstein in the Universal horror movie's case--but often the results are often less than wonderful. Perfect example--Ocean's 12. Given that while I enjoyed Cars, I thought it was one of the least of the Pixar pictures, I have to wonder why they'd want to do a sequel?

Of course, perhaps I am being a bit hypocritical, as I'm not so worried about Toy Story 3. But then I absolutely loved the first two movies.

Ashok said...

Hey I wrote review for "Sicko" last week. Here is the link

Reel Fanatic said...

That's not hypocritical at all, Mercurie ... I'm perfectly happy with Toy Story 3, too, but like you just cold to any Cars 2 .. My guess as to why they're doing a sequel? They must have made a ton of mad cash on all the car collectible toys and other spinoffs, and can't wait to cash in yet again

Thanks for the link, Ashok .. I'm gonna check it out as soon as I finish all this darn work I have to do!

Marina said...

That clip is outstanding. Moore doesn't let Wolf get a word in edgewise.

And I completely agree on the "Cars" sentiment. For me, it was the poorest of the Pixar films and in all honesty, I'd rather see a "Monsters Inc. 2" or "Finding Nemo 2" before a "Cars 2". I hope this is just a rumor.

Invisible Lizard said...

Check. Unless a critic I respect (and in this case it might have to be the big Eeb himself) says, "Drop what you're doing and go see CARS 2 because Pixar has completely made up for the lame first movie..." yeah, I'll be passing.

Beth said...

Oh, man, the Michael Moore Smackdown (as my friend Doreen referred to it) was some of the best television in the history of television.

"Sicko" is outstanding. I don't normally post links in comments, but my take on the film is here:

I went to an advance screening of it. The joint was packed.

Reel Fanatic said...

I look forward to reading your impressions when I get home, Beth ... From all I've heard so far, this is by far his most lucid and yet possibly funniest movie to date

lylee said...

Haven't seen Sicko, hope to soon...say what one likes about Michael Moore, there's never a dull moment with him - and he asks all the right questions, even if he cuts corners with his answers...I mean, it's not like his critics/opponents are doing any better in that department.

Now I have to say I seem to be the only Pixar lover who actually, genuinely liked "Cars." Sure, it's not top-drawer Pixar, but that's a high bar to clear. I think what "Cars" may have lacked in, well, narrative creativity, it made up for in sheer charm. And never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that cars could be made to look so anthropomorphic and yet so car-like at the same time.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely with you on the look of the cars, Lylee, and the charm held me for about 45 minutes ... at that point I guess I just needed more of a story, because it definitely lost me

lylee said...

Just found my review of "Cars" from last year. Still pretty much agree with what I said then, though I haven't seen the movie more than once...Not sure it merits a sequel, but I'm generally anti-sequel in the first place (except of course in cases where the story was originally conceived as a serial/trilogy/etc.)

Compared to the rest of the Pixar canon, I place "Cars" well below the "Toy Story" movies, "The Incredibles," and "Ratatouille," at about the same level as "Monsters, Inc." and "A Bug's Life," but definitely above "Finding Nemo," which is good but probably my least favorite Pixar movie. I know I'm in the minority there.

lylee said...

And I meant to post the
to my "Cars" review, but forgot.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think I'm actually close to you on Finding Nemo, Lylee .. I think it may have been that the hype for that one was so tremendous, but I just didn't care for it all that much ... My two favorite Pixar movies are the Birds, Ratatouille and The Incredibles, and I also just adore the two Toy Storys

renee said...

I loved Sicko - funny and heartbreaking and frightening all at the same time. I also posted a review after I saw it last weekend.

Miley said...

OMG!!!! I LUV "Cars"!!!!! Cars 2 would b THE BEST!!!! I really hope they make Cars 2!!!! I mean , how can u not like "cars"?