Sunday, November 21, 2010

805. Roger & Me (1989)

Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed By: Michael Moore
Written By: Michael Moore
Main Cast: Michael Moore, Roger Smith


After watching "Fahrenheit 9/11" earlier this week, I figured I'd might as well wrap up the Michael Moore films contained in the "1001" book and watch "Roger & Me" tonight, as I make my way a little bit closer to 201 films watched.

The 'Roger' in question is Roger Smith, CEO of General Motors. The film is set in Flint, Michigan and chronicles the hardships of the town following the closing of several auto plants, the towns primary source of employment for over 30,000 Flint citizens. The plants were closed, despite record profits being recorded by General Motors and plants were reopened in Mexico, where labor costs were cheaper. Michael Moore's main objective in "Roger & Me" is to get into contact with Roger Smith and ask him to accompany him back to Flint, Michigan, so that he can see some of the damage he has caused. Over the course of the documentary, Moore tries over and over to get some sit down time with Roger, but over and over he fails. When not trying to track down Smith, Moore interviews several citizens of Flint, including Sheriff Fred Ross, who has the unenviable task of evicting many Flint natives from their homes, due to inability to pay the rent. Moore continues to interview people from Flint, further driving home the realization of the hardships that befell the city and interviews some celebrities who grew up in Flint, like Bob Eubanks. Moore also interviews Miss Michigan, who when asked what she would like to say to the people of Flint, uses the time to remind the to keep their fingers crossed as she chased the Miss America crown.

I'm gonna' TRY to keep this review short & sweet as well, because I know there are a great number of Moore detractors out there and I wouldn't want to turn any of them off. To me, this film is incredibly sad. There is one portion of the film that shows Sheriff Fred Ross evicting a family on Christmas Eve. Another scene shows an evicted family set to be put out on the street, with several small children. I can't imagine what life in Flint must have been like during this terrible time, because even if you weren't directly affected by the layoffs, the film makes note of the rising crime rate in the city and that must have been hell too. I guess if I were someone who believes what Moore says (I won't say whether I am or I am not), then I would probably be comparing Roger Smith to a part of the human anatomy that is primarily used for sitting.

Now, of course, you can make the argument that these Flint residents should've managed their money a little better and prepared for a rainy day and then maybe when the GM plants closed down they would've been a little bit more prepared and not have had to resort to beating rabbits over the head for sustenance. But doesn't a proper company give a little something to it's laid off employees, especially when they're recording record profits? Doesn't a proper company offer retraining programs? Doesn't a proper company give back to the employees who slaved for years and years, working on the assembly lines? I don't know, I'm just asking.

I guess, in the end, this movie really just makes me appreciate the fact that I have a stable job. So I better wrap up this review, because I'm due in at 8am.

RATING: 10/10 Probably right up there with "Bowling for Columbine" as far as best Moore movie I've seen. And hey, why isn't "BFC" in the book? My TOP 20 making job just got harder.


November 21, 2010 12:11am


  1. You are (probably wisely), a bit cagy with revealing your politics arn't you? So again, thanks for a measured, thoughtful review.
    Michael Morre seems to one of those artists 'without honour in his own country' Europe adores him. I've been to theatrical showings where his films have been applauded. We find it hard to believe just how despised he is by large sections of his fellow countrymen. (But then we are also surprised by such things as Bush being elected. (I think I should rapidly move on!))
    At times I find his 'tricks' little counter productive, he has a tendancy to give his critics material to get back at him, but he has some vitaly important points to make.
    I carn't remember who did it, but did anyone see 'Detroit, requium for a city', which covered simular ground, but with less gimmicks.

  2. Glad to know that Europeans love Moore too.


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...