Sunday, June 27

'Bout Damned Time

We're finally seeing Fahrenheit 911 this afternoon. Don't tell me how it ends.

Update: Saw it. Almost didn't. The gate to our multi-dwelling garage got stuck - a situation which was a carbon copy of last year when we tried to go see Bad Santa which we missed (we had already bought tix online as we did today). This time, I was NOT going to be denied. I raced back into my place, grabbed an adjustable wrench and a stepladder, and proceeded to dismantle the demon spawn that was the burned-out garage gate motor. With the help of three other strapping guys who lifted the gate, I managed to manually wind the motor and leave the gate stuck open. We got there halfway through the previews.

F911 is without question Michael Moore's best work - clear, well-edited, funny and disturbing. What I had heard from most folks turned out to be true - if you already know all the crap that's been going on behind the news you've been seeing, there are no big secrets up there. The awe-ignition happens when you're actually seeing it unfold on a two-story-tall screen instead of a little pixelated image in your RealPlayer.

Bush's bewilderment during that excrutiating seven minutes after being told we're under attack is mesmerizing - and although many of us have seen it a zillion times on the web, the close-ups of his facial expressions (or lack of same) became an epiphany. The Bush-Saudi ties are undeniable if not a hair wonky...but I don't see how Moore could possibly simplify it more. The bloated cronyism of this White House and just about every shady character in modern history is well-documented by Moore in the first part of F911. Part Two of the film is essentially the heartache of the Iraq travesty. I challenge anyone to see the Lila Lipscomb story arc and not feel choking outrage.

You've seen tons of reviews to which I really can't add very much - but if you haven't seen it, get into a showing ASAP while the crowds are big. The true experience is akin to having to see a new Pixar film with a theater full of kids. You need to immerse yourself in the audience as well as the film itself. The laughter, the gasps, the applause and the intense hypnotic silence are all part of the show.

Having nabbed seats at the last minute following our garage egress debacle, we were near the back, so I can tell you I only saw ten people leave their seats to use the restrooms (they all came rushing back within a minute). No one - NO one wanted to leave. In contrast to a lot of reports of audible and constant crowd reaction, our audience was more subdued than I had expected. But any doubts I may have had about how F911 affected them were dissolved when the closing credits hit the screen and the theater erupted in the loudest cheer I ever heard for a movie.

If we were closer to the exits, I would have loved to listen in on the parting comments. What I did hear was probably exactly what Moore was trying to elicit. Most notably was the older couple we walked behind, who said, "It's as if we've been wearing blindfolds for the last three years."


Go. Take a Republican. Treat 'em. But do it as soon as you can while the crowds are strong. It's a stirring, wild, and cathartic experience.

Saw it? Nail your thoughts here: