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One movie I am surprised I’m finding myself saying to skip (or at least wait for it to come out on DVD), is Evening. With such a stellar cast (Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Natasha Richardson) one would expect much more–but don’t! What an ABSOLUTE disappointment this movie was. There was definitely fantastic potential on so many fronts, but the movie sorely missed the mark with such things as overacting, forced drama, incredibly bad dialogue on far too many occasions, characters I was never made to care for, and camera shots that had no rhyme or reason. I think if I tried really, really, really hard, I “might” be able to string together 10 decent minutes of the nearly 120 minute film.
I won’t spend time explaining the crux of the movie to you (it’s just not humane treatment to be that bored twice in less than 24 hours!), so if you want the studio’s low-down on the flick click here. I will say that the scene between the Meryl Streep (older Lila) and Vanessa Redgrave (older Ann) characters was one of the better, as was the acting on the part of Hugh Dancy (Buddy) when he finally unburdens his heart with the younger Ann, played by a way-too-thin Claire Danes. Mind you, there was some incredibly ridiculous, superfluous dialogue during that encounter, but the acting by Dancy during that scene (and unfortunately that scene only) was one of few times I felt any emotion during the film. And trust me, certain times of the month I can cry at the drop of a hat (Yes, more info than you ever wanted to know, but hey. ;)), however this movie couldn’t even come close to tapping into that enormous reserve of female hormone-induced emotions…tsk-tsk…not even the hint of a watery eye.
One utterly ridiculous scene during the movie actually sums up the entire experience perfectly for me. The scene had the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave traipsing through her house in her delusional state, chasing down a butterfly (sorry, but I was actually embarrassed for Ms Redgrave!), and all I could think of was the Lunesta commercial where the butterfly lands on your face, thereby somehow, miraculously aiding you with your sleeping issues. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that you can skip the drugs and just head out to see Evening–you’ll be lulled into a nice, restful sleep within minutes.
SiCKO finally opens in my neighborhood today, so I plan on hitting a showing. (And yes, escaping triple-digit temperatures during this miserable heat wave by spending some time in an air-conditioned theater DOES help sway my decision! ;)) According to Michael’s most recent email, it’s CRUCIAL to give SiCKO your support in the theaters this week, so with the additional 200 cities added I’m sure there is a screen with SiCKO on it near you–please do YOUR best to attend! Click here to find a location near you.
Here’s a link to previous Michael Moore/SiCKO entries, and below are the most recent emails from Mr. Moore:
- Today is the Day for “Sicko” June 29, 2007
This is it! Two years in the making! The day that our new film, “Sicko,” arrives in theaters all across North America! Click here to see where the nearest one is to you.
After you go, let me know what you think. Oh, and send us a photo or a video from your cell phone to show us what it looked like at your theater. We’d love to post a photo from each of the 440 movie theaters showing “Sicko.”
To read more about the movie, you can go to www.michaelmoore.com.
Here’s what this morning’s review in the L.A. Times said: “It’s likely his most important, most impressive, and most provocative film.” Okay, what do they know? I prefer to trust the assessment of E! Television Online: ” ‘Sicko’ – the best movie ever? Maybe.” Maybe? MAYBE?! When will they ever give me a break?
It’s been a weirdly funny week. First Larry King bumped me for Paris Hilton. Then today, when CNBC invited me to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for an interview, the stock exchange said I was barred from the building. On top of that, Tony Blair is gone, Cheney says he’s no longer answerable to anyone’s elected government, and I simply don’t want an iPhone. Just another week in America.
Hope you enjoy the movie!
- An Awesome First Night for “Sicko” Saturday, June 30th, 2007
Thank you so much to the hundreds of thousands of you who went to see my movie last night and this afternoon. The studio tells me that we are on track to have the second largest opening weekend for a documentary in the history of the movies! (“Fahrenheit 9/11” was first.) Many theaters have been selling out. The Bush administration’s investigation of this movie is certainly not keeping people away. Thanks for all the pictures you sent me of people packing in to see “Sicko!”
The movie is making impact big and small. I thought you would enjoy this story about a family that Aetna was forcing to pay a $65,000 hospital bill that the insurance company was supposed to cover! Check it out.
The critics, too, have been more than kind. Can I show you what a few of them said?
“It’s as uplifting and heart-rending a thing as you will see at the movies all year. And it speaks of Moore’s enduring faith — his angry, nettled, exasperated belief that ‘despite all our differences, we sink or swim together.’ ” — Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
“The weight of evidence Moore marshals for taking the profit motive out of medicine is overwhelming. In a summer of dumb, shameless drivel, Moore delivers a movie of robust mind and heart. You’ll laugh till it hurts.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“‘Sicko’ is a beyond brilliant, nonpartisan expose’ on American politics that should be mandatory for every student in America. Some rich person — like maybe Angelina Jolie — should sponsor a program where DVDs are sent to families or free screenings are held at local churches.” — Caroline Kepnes, E!
For more of this, click here.
There’s a moment in “Sicko” when the former British MP, Tony Benn, says, “If we have the money to kill people (with war), we’ve got the money to help people.” That line always gets the loudest applause in the theater. It is estimated that, before Bush’s War is over, we will have spent two trillion dollars on it. Let me say this: I NEVER want to hear again from ANY politician that we “don’t have the money” to fix our schools, to take care of the poor, to provide health care for every American. Clearly, the money IS there when we want to illegally invade another country and then prolong a disastrous occupation. From now on, we have to demand that our tax dollars be there for the things we need, not the things that make us one of the most detested countries on earth.
If you haven’t seen “Sicko,” go see it tonight. I want this film to have as much impact as it can. How well it does in terms of attendance this first weekend will determine how many other towns get to see it. It’s all about the “first weekend box office” with the studios these days. If it does well in the 400 theaters it’s in, they will put it in more theaters next weekend. And trust me, the White House and their friends in the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries know this, too. It’s no surprise to me that an original master of “Sicko” was stolen and widely distributed on the internet before the film’s release. I’m one of the few people in the movie business who doesn’t believe in prosecuting teenagers who want to share music or films (although I make my movies to be seen on a big screen and that’s how I hope people see them!). I called up Mr. Bush’s FBI last week. I wanted to know if they had asked themselves the first question any cop would ask about this particularly unique theft:
“Who has a vested interest in destroying the first weekend of Michael Moore’s new film by stealing his movie’s master copy and placing it on the internet?”
Needless to say, they showed little interest in investigating who’s behind this. That’s ok. I realize what’s at stake for them and I accept that this is a battle with serious consequences. The drug and insurance companies have dumped over a half billion dollars in the pockets of Congress and the White House in the last 10 years. This movie may end up being their worst nightmare.
But here’s the good news: There’s more of us than there are of them. So, it’s up to the rest of you to help me help this movie have a great opening weekend. If over a half million people come out to see it by tomorrow night, the studio will take that to mean it should be in more cities and more theaters. Let’s make that happen. And I promise you, if you go, you’ll see a movie unlike any other you’ve seen this year. Last night, the industry polled the people coming out of “Sicko.” 93% said they would “strongly recommend ‘Sicko'” to their friends and family. The pollster said he’d never seen a number that high (the norm for most movies is about 45%). It was a heartening piece of news.
Thanks again and see ya tonight at the movies!
- “Sicko’s” Successful Weekend Puts My Movie in 200 More Cities Beginning Today! Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
The results are in from the weekend — and they are amazing! “Sicko” more than doubled what industry insiders had predicted it would do for the weekend and, as I predicted, it did indeed have the second largest opening weekend in film history for a documentary (after F911). It also had the second highest per screen average for the weekend (after the Pixar animated film, “Ratatouille”). All this in spite of the fact, as Variety wrote, it’s not been a very good year for documentaries at the box office. According to Variety, there have been 29 docs released in theaters in 2007, and they have grossed less than two million combined. What does it say about the state of affairs for non-fiction films if, in just three days, one film more than doubles what all 29 of them did together? I’ve decided I want to do something about this. I see so many great documentaries and it’s a shame that most of you don’t get to see them. Later this year, I will announce a new project that will help other filmmakers get the distribution they deserve.
Of course, if you live in Lincoln, NE; Bangor, ME; Reno, NV; New Haven, CT; Columbia, SC; or Oklahoma City, you didn’t get to see “Sicko” this weekend either. But thanks to the massive turnout in the 440 theaters who had it, the studio has decided to expand “Sicko,” TODAY (Tuesday, July 3) to 200 more theaters! And this Friday, they will add another 100 cities. Those of you who went to see it in the last few days have made it possible for others around the country to see my movie. Thank you.
So this will become the make-it-or-break-it week for “Sicko.” Will you help me? Here’s something you can do right now. Go to your address book icon on your computer and send a brief note to all your friends and associates about why they should see “Sicko.” Then organize a group of your friends to go see “Sicko” some night this week. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. After all, what’s the worst that could happen — a pardon or a commutation from the President of the United States?
On Sunday, Canada celebrated the 45th anniversary of its free, universal health care system — with its built-in bonus of living longer than we do. Why do they have this and not us? We’ve already taken their Stanley Cup from them for good. Let’s demand we get to live as long as they do, too! What good is a dumb ol’ Cup if we aren’t around long enough to use it?
The letters you are sending me are powerful and profound. Thank you for sharing with me thousands of more stories about the criminal way our system operates. One woman wrote to say her dentist just gave her this choice: have all her teeth pulled, or pay him $30,000 to fix and rebuild them. She told me she’s made the choice to give up her teeth — a choice she was forced to make only because she lives from paycheck to paycheck in middle class America. This is a crime.
Go to your address book on your computer now and send out that e-mail to everyone you know and tell them to find their way to the theater this week. This film stands the chance of igniting a movement. Let’s not let this moment pass.
The following Action Alert was obtained from the FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) website (after first hearing about it from a Health Care For All/OneCare Now.org bulletin) via their use of a Creative Commons license. I’m including below a couple of additional video links relating to the news report mentioned, but if you’d like to read the transcript or see the video of the CBS News report in question first, click here. And if you are so inclined after viewing and reading, please take part in FAIR‘s Action Alert.
CBS’s ‘Sicko’ Spin
Americans Don’t Want Single-Payer Health—Except They Do
On the June 22 broadcast of CBS Evening News, reporter Jeff Greenfield’s critique of Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko relied on a single premise: that the U.S. public and its political leaders do not embrace Moore’s preferred solution (a single-payer system, where medical care is provided by private doctors and hospitals but paid for by the government). But that argument is at odds with the available evidence.
While noting that Moore’s film “features affecting stories of personal suffering at the hands of indifferent corporations,” Greenfield argued that even though presidential candidates “have all talked a lot about changing the health care system…no one, Democrat or Republican, has come close to advocating the kind of government-run national health system Michael Moore proposes.” This is incorrect; Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio), a presidential contender, supports the very same approach, as do dozens of congressmembers who have co-sponsored H.R. 676, a bill that would provide single-payer coverage in the United States. Ironically, Kucinich appears on the screen next to Moore as Greenfield made this false claim.
Greenfield elaborated on this storyline, claiming that the U.S. does not have universal health coverage because “Americans are just different.” He went on to quote Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health System Change: “We’re much less willing to have government make decisions for people than is the case in Canada and Europe. It’s a cultural difference.”
That assessment is contradicted by recent polling. In a recent CNN poll (5/4-5/6/07), 64 percent of respondents supported the idea that “government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes.” And a recent CBS/New York Times poll (2/23-27/07) found 64 percent support for the idea that the federal government should “guarantee health insurance for all,” and 60 percent supported paying higher taxes to provide such coverage. Additionally, 50 percent believed “fundamental changes” to the healthcare system were necessary, and another 40 percent thought the country needed to “completely rebuild” the system.
If Greenfield meant to say that political elites are slow to act on public opinion, he’s surely correct (and this would apply to many other political issues as well). The same is true of elite media outlets, which have dismissed and maligned single-payer healthcare for years. Imagine what the polls would like if there were a serious discussion of the issue, instead of dismissals from the likes of Jeff Greenfield.
ACTION: Tell CBS Evening News to correct Jeff Greenfield’s assertions about public opinion and single-payer health coverage. You could also point out that Dennis Kucinich—a proponent of such a system—is in fact a presidential candidate.
CBS Evening News
Also send your comments to CBS Public Eye: