Friday, June 25, 2004
Rained all day, stormed and messed up our plans to get outside so we decide to hit the movie. You know..."The" movie.
Wow! I took the family to see Farhenheit 9-11 last night. Waiting to get in, I looked at the faces of the people coming out, trying, as I usually do, to figure out what effect the movie had on them. I'm not sure what I expected but probably something like a "rah rah go team" mood. That's not what showed on the faces of the most diverse group of folks I have ever seen at one place in Tennessee. Some were talking and laughing loudly and some were drying tears. Some were just crying.
We had ordered our tickets on line and had one extra for the 5:10 pm show, thinking that one might be the easiest to get in on opening day. Standing in line we realized we were lucky. Everyone was talking with everyone else. The guy in front of us was in line to get tickets for the next day's show since they were sold out for all shows on Friday. When my wife told him she had gotten tickets over the Internet, he put this Duh look on his face and stepped out of line. A young woman was in front of us holding cash in her hand and I asked if she had her ticket. She said no but she really, really wanted to see this movie but was afraid she wouldn't get to. I sold her our extra ticket but she had to go through with us like a family member since we had a block of tickets printed out that wouldn't separate. We looked just like a nice family as the guy took our tickets except that Thomas's older sister was black.
I looked at a Middle Eastern looking group of women going in. They were smiling and friendly with traditional printed cloth covering their heads. Not one single man had on a suit or a red tie. There were lots of blue shirts in the crowd. That was the secret badge of the Moveon.org members.
The only seats we could get together were down front, dead center, three rows back. The previews were way too loud and I had curious, not entirely comfortable, emotions as I sat with my 15 year old son, through a trailer for a movie about a guy making ends meet by impregnating lesbians. Rated PG 13, the movie was, but the preview was "approved for all audiences". Good grief!
I expected much of the movie. I pay attention to what happens in my world. I knew all about the Saudi Bin Laden connections to the Bush family. I was not prepared for the emotional impact of connecting the dots with nothing more than news footage. I now think back at the Fox news talking heads trying to counter the effectiveness of Michael Moore's film by questioning his "facts". They're going to have a hard time with that because much of what he does is just show news file tape of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and the others contradicting themselves. What do you do when you call your own self a liar? How do you spin that?
There were things I didn't want to see. I cried several times and I hate very few things more than crying in movies. But every tear was ripped apart by laughter. I laughed hard and loud, time after time, except when I was crying. Moore let me off the hook at the end. The last emotional gut wrench was mitigated by the last guffaw. It was a clip of a speech George W. Bush gave in Tennessee. He did it to himself with no help from Michael Moore.
Then it was over. Two hours flew by. I am usually ahead of a film. I am rarely surprised and get impatient for them to be over. When one does surprise me after sending my insides reeling on a roller coaster ride, I am grateful. For Moore to have surprised me with things I already knew is nothing short of amazing. The juxtaposition of facts and events leads us to the inescapable conclusion. Unlike a Presidential campaign ad there is no fiction or wishful thinking presented in 9-11 to make the case. It is a documentary put together with not much more than news clips, network file footage, and interviews. This is the most entertained you will have ever been while being forced to think.
But be warned...It took nearly an hour and two glasses of wine for my insides to settle down enough for supper. I do not recommend that you go see Farhenheit 9-11... I order you to go... and take a Republican! Offer to pay their way.
As we all walked out of the movie, I tried to wipe my eyes casually and then look around. Everyone I looked at was either laughing or crying or trying not to. I saw the women with the covered heads and they were openly weeping. I understand.
America...What have we done?
Can we fix it? We have to!