Michael Moore is bigger than Jesus. I mean that literally: given that people were smaller 2,000 years ago, he is bigger than the Holy Family and all twelve apostles put together.
But that’s not important right now. Some people think “Fahrenheit 9/11” is going to be more popular than “The Passion of the Christ.” That seems doubtful, even though the per theater average is about the same as “The Passion” on its opening weekend. Says the respected movie stat site Box Office Mojo:
Though Fahrenheit’s $25,115 per theater average is extraordinary, it’s not unprecedented. It ranks as the seventh highest all time for a wide release (adjusting for ticket price inflation knocks it down to no. 28) and the third best this year behind The Passion of the Christ’s $27,554 and Shrek 2’s $25,951. However, they were super-saturation releases playing at 3,043 and 4,163 theaters respectively — the lower the theater count, the easier it is to have a high average as the release isn’t diluted by less populous locations with lower ticket prices.
The author isn’t an apologist for “The Passion”; he dumped on it when it opened, dragging out the tired “faith as the enemy of reason” canard. (By the way, did you know “The Passion” is still playing in 158 theatres four months after its release?)
It seems doubtful that “Fahrenheit 9/11” will top $600 million worldwide, which it would need to do to beat “The Passion.” I’m sure it will be a hit, though, as the market for Bush-haters is looking bullish these days. (Whether that market is expanding is an open question.) Yet one of our readers, “jeff”, is concerned that we are being insufficiently open-minded. To avoid misquoting him, his full comment is below (onomatopoeia in the original).
It’s sad to me that people censor themselves – e.g., Michael Moore’s film.
The America I know is one where people actually consider other points of view. Unlike some comments on this thread, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11… Do I agree with everything in it? Will it change my vote? Of course not. But, at least I can have a cogent discussion on the movie because I saw it.
Why are people so afraid of ideas that contradict their own? If your position is strong, films like Fahrenheit 9/11 will only add to it, not detract. Furthermore, when someone [who is ignorant] talks to you about the film, you can actually explain your [stronger] point of view.
The America of today seems to be: make your decision about whether to view/read/hear something based on second-hand information you read on some blog or heard on Fox News. Talk about being duped.
Jeff — I refuse to use lowercase for his name, like e.e. “buster” cummings — is, I gather, something of a First Amendment fetishist. That’s okay, because some of my best friends are professional First Amendment fetishists (a.k.a. “journalists”).
To clarify my own position, I will not be seeing the movie in question. Not in the theater, not on DVD, not on cable, not on network TV. Not in my house, not with a mouse, not in the dark, not with a lark…you get the idea. Yet I have absolutely no problem saying that in my considered, intellectual opinion, it sucks and I hate it.
To Jeff, this means I am “afraid of ideas that contradict [my] own.” Untrue. If that were true, I would pay no attention to politics and would never listen to others’ religious opinions.
The primary reason I won’t see this movie is because I’m married with three little kids, and it’s a lot of trouble for my wife and me to see a movie. It’s also very expensive. An evening with a nice dinner, movie tickets for two, and a babysitter costs about $100 in this part of the country. For that price, when I see a movie in the theater I had better pass out from laughter or become a better person. I doubt either one will happen with “Fahrenheit.” There are other reasons, enumerated forthwith.
Seeing the movie absolutely will not make me like it. That isn’t true for a fictional movie. When I was away last year, I saw many movies I would not have seen unless I had nothing better to do. I thought I would have despised a teen comedy like “10 Things I Hate About You,” but I found it hilarious and emotionally compelling. There were also movies I might have seen because I am married to a woman, such as “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” which were unwatchable and managed to temporarily lower my I.Q.
No such epiphany is possible for “Fahrenheit.” My objection to the movie is not aesthetic, it is intellectual. It’s not as if my sources are saying it has ugly cinematography and unbelievable characters. This is a documentary, which means it comes from a point of view and presents facts accordingly. I consider the point of view to be that of a lazy, paranoid pseudo-intellectual. There are many purported “facts” which are either misleading or false. For example, I’ve read that Moore thinks the Saudis run Bush’s foreign policy. Seeing that slander on the silver screen isn’t going to make it any less false.
I’ve heard it all before. Nothing he says is going to surprise me. I’m familiar with the “point of view” because I’ve seen it on the Loony Left Web sites, from which all of his “facts” seem to originate.
Self-censorship is a good thing. Nobody has unlimited time on Earth. We must use it as best we can. All points of view are not equally valid or worthy of our attention. That means we have to filter out experiences that are unlikely to be of any benefit.
Paying to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” would give money to someone beneath contempt. Jeff, you might not know this, but Michael Moore thinks more American soldiers and Marines should die in Iraq. You cool with that? If you think that’s an exaggeration or distortion, let’s let him speak for himself:
I’m sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe — just maybe — God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.
You can read that quotation in context here.
I understand there is a smarmy part of “Fahrenheit” where he emphasizes that the poor and minorities are the only ones desperate (or dumb) enough to enlist in Bush’s military. Thus he thinks it’s unfortunate that anyone should join the armed forces, but if they do, then they deserve to be human sacrifices for our national sins.
When I read that, I thought I would beat his flabby ass if I ever saw him in person — but what would be the point of that? It hardly seems like a Christian response (a whipping seems more appropriate), and it lacks style. Then I envisioned the perfect attack: spray him with Silly String. It isn’t violent, and it would drive that pompous mountebank insane. It has a historical precedent: our Founding Fathers used Silly String to ridicule their British oppressors.
So I already know enough about “Fahrenheit” to devise an appropriate way to converse with Michael Moore about his “ideas.” And I’ve done it without wasting an evening and a hundred bucks. That works on so many levels.
Postscript: Anti-Americans in other countries should just give up, because Moore demonstrates our cultural superiority. We’re so great, we can even do anti-Americanism better than foreigners! Everybody start chanting now:
U! S! A!
U! S! A!
U! S! A!