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capitalismLeave it to Michael Moore to figure out  a way to lend a helping hand, albeit one he admits really “ain’t much when what you really need is a job or a place to live”, by getting movie theaters in some of the nation’s hardest hit cities to offer a free screening of “Capitalism” tonight.  Here’s the email Michael sent out this morning, with lists of free screenings AND benefit screenings included.  Can’t wait to see the movie soon! Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m in DIRE need of some happiness, so Will Ferrell to the rescue; well, Will in “Elf”. Have to say when I first saw Elf in the theater I was a bit disappointed, but that darn movie has totally grown on me. I’m not really sure why I didn’t dig it from the get-go, but quite often when something is so hyped up like that it’s bound to be a bit of a letdown. The clip I’m including below from Elf is when Buddy Elf discovers New York–hilarious! I’ve added other Elf clips in the VodPod to the left, and here is a nearly 8 minute video of Buddy Elf heading off to find his father in New York.

Another favorite holiday flick of mine, albeit more for Thanksgiving, is “Home for the Holidays“, with an OUTSTANDING cast (Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr., Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft, Claire Danes, and more!) and tons of humor I think we can all relate to–at least in MY fairly dysfunctional family. 😉

In a short bit I’ll be off to see Big Head Todd and the Monsters at one of my new favorite venues, Anthology in San Diego, since the most awesome of radio stations (not that I listen that much anymore) KPRI is having a private listener gig there with BHTM. I saw Ozomatli there in August at another KPRI event and it was great, so I’m really looking forward to tonight being the same.

Another “happy moment” came today when my Chargers slugged it out with the Titans and pulled out a win in overtime. Quite a down-and-dirty win, but a win is a win, baby!

So despite life being on the incredibly sucky side for me the past few weeks, I guess there’s ALWAYS something to be grateful for, yes? 🙂 Enjoy the videos below and in the VodPod, and have a great week!

Buddy discovers New York

“Home for the Holidays” trailer

“It’s Alright”-Big Head Todd and the Monsters
(My fave BHTM song. :))

“Boom Boom”-Big Head Todd and the Monsters
(Sooooo hope they play this shake-your-ass song tonight!)

evening.jpgOne 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.

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mm-in-front-of-sicko-poster.jpgSiCKO 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

    Friends,

    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!

    Yours,
    Michael Moore
    mmflint@aol.com

  • An Awesome First Night for “Sicko” Saturday, June 30th, 2007

    Friends,

    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!

    Yours,
    Michael Moore
    mmflint@aol.com

  • “Sicko’s” Successful Weekend Puts My Movie in 200 More Cities Beginning Today! Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

    Friends,

    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.

    Yours,

    Michael Moore
    mmflint@aol.com
    www.michaelmoore.com

Chenango Valley Pet Foods previously recalled products containing melamine-tainted rice protein, but now they have added foods to their recall which do NOT contain rice protein due to the possibility of cross-contamination during the manufacturing process. This is the first time I’ve seen ferret food included in any of the recalls.

Recall — Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.

Chenango Valley Pet Foods Expands Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Certain Pet Foods

Contact:
Dennis J. Bobita
(610) 821-0608

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — May 17, 2007 — Chenango Valley Pet Foods previously recalled dry pet foods manufactured with a shipment of rice protein concentrate supplied by Wilbur-Ellis that possibly contained melamine contamination. Chenango Valley Pet Foods is now expanding the recall action to include those pet foods that do not contain rice protein concentrate but were manufactured during periods when rice protein concentrate formulas were processed. The recall of these products is precautionary due to the possibility of cross-contamination.

The following dry pet foods are involved in this recall action:

  • DOCTORS FOSTER & SMITH LAMB & BROWN RICE FORMULA ADULT DOG FOOD, NET WT. 6 LBS. (UPC 25141 28244), 15 LBS. (25141 30074), and 30 LBS. (UPC 25141 06043); Date Codes: Best By Feb 09 09 and Best By Feb 26 09;
  • SHOP RITE REDI-MIXT DOG FOOD FOR DOGS, NET WT. 25 LB. (UPC 41190 00555), Date Code: Code C7107;
  • LICK YOUR CHOPS KITTEN & CAT FOOD, NET WEIGHT 4 LBS. (UPC 32976 25915), and 18 LBS. (UPC 32976 25925); Date Code: Best Used By April 29 08;
  • SHEP chunk style dog food, NET WT. 20 LBS. (UPC 41498 14142); Date Code: Best By March 14 08;
  • 8 in 1 Ferret ULTRA-BLEND ADVANCED NUTRITION DIET, NET WT. 20 LBS, UPC 26851 00413, Code: C7072;
  • Bulk Lamb & Brown Rice Formula Dog Food, Date Code: Feb 09, 08, sold to one consignee SmartPak.
  • Health Diet Cat Food Chicken & Rice Dinner NET WT. 1.81 kg/4 LB (UPC 78198 01594), 4 kg/8.8 LB (UPC 78198 01599), and 8 kg/17.6 LB (UPC 78198 01585); Code C7072;
  • EVOLVE KITTEN FORMULA, NET WT. 3 LBS. (UPC 73657 00250) and 7 LBS. (UPC 73657 00251); Date Code: Best Used By Sept 13 08. Evolve has recovered 99.5% of the product from its distributors and is working with dealers to recover the remaining inventory.

No illnesses or injuries related to these products have been reported to date.

Pet owners who have purchased the pet foods listed above should immediately discontinue using the products and return them to the place of purchase for full refund. Pet owners should consult with a veterinarian if they have any health concerns with their pet. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-610-821-0608.

####

Not sure how many of you have heard of a FANTASTIC, MUST READ book called “The Freedom Writers Diary .. How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them”, but you may have seen a trailer for the movie, “Freedom Writers” based on the book and out in theaters now. The movie stars Hilary Swank, and for you Grey’s Anatomy fans, Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey. I don’t know how closely the movie will follow the book, but I am hoping it stays true to it.

So let me back up and explain just why this book strikes such a chord with me. The first reason is a no-brainer: it’s about my passion, teaching! And not just about teaching, but about REACHING your students. One would think that all teachers do that, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. The main thing drilled into us during the credential courses I’ve been taking is that you MUST meet your students where they are. In other words, not every student is going to come to you with the same amount of knowledge, the same socioeconomic situation, the same family make up, and so on. And in this day and age ALL of that comes into play with how you will best serve your students with teaching strategies to help them not only achieve the stated-adopted standards (and hopefully EXCEED THEM!), but more importantly for helping them grow as social beings. Erin Gruwell saw the diverse and special needs of her students, was creative with her strategies, and more than succeeded in her endeavors. I am truly in awe of this woman.

The second reason I have a special place in my heart for this book, this project, this teacher, and these students, is that I had the good fortune to meet Erin and a couple of her students from the book. I was attending the California K-16 Partnerships & Student Success conference at California State University, Long Beach, in June 2002, and Erin Gruwell was the closing Keynote Speaker. I had heard bits and pieces of her story, but hadn’t seen the coverage of it on many national television shows. Boy, was I caught up on everything that night! You could have heard a pin drop when Erin was speaking, and at various points you also heard more than a few folks sniffling and saw lots of dabbing away of tears, especially when they showed parts of the Prime Time Live segment done on the Freedom Writers. What was especially touching was when some of the students were in the audience and she had them stand…talk about getting a HUGE round of applause!

After the closing speech there was a reception in CSULB’s exquisite Japanese Gardens. What an incredible location for getting to meet some incredible people, including Erin and several of her students. Getting to chat with these students and seeing the incredible strides they had made gave me goosebumps. One of the best surprises of the evening was talking with the mothers of some of the students, and boy did the moms have some great stories to tell me of their chaperoning duties on trips with the students! Of course the most inspiring being their trip to Europe where they visited Anne Frank’s home, and also the concentration camps in Germany and Poland. You really need to read the book to fully understand how incredible this was. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read the book. I’m sure your local library has a copy of it if you don’t want to spend the money, although you can get it on Amazon.com for less than $12. I would just love for you to have the joy of the book in your heart like I have, especially before seeing the movie adaptation since the movie may or may not be a good thing.


The entire experience that night, from hearing Erin speak, to getting to meet her and having her sign my book (along with one of her students :)), from meeting other future educators and feeling energized about teaching, to hearing the mothers’ perspectives of the effect the Freedom Writers have had on one another, and to ultimately being reminded that all of this is precisely why I’ve chosen the path of an educator: to change lives. It was all truly one of the most incredible and memorable experiences of my life. Hmmm, think it’s time to take the book out and give it another read. And Erin, I’ll make sure to pass the baton as you have. 🙂

Sniffin’ out the info

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