Moore, Michael: Director Profile

Michael Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American author and Academy Award-winning director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, two of the highest-grossing documentaries of all time.[1]

In 2005 Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people. Moore is a liberal who has criticized globalization, large corporations, gun violence, the Iraq War, U.S. President George W. Bush and the American health care system in his written and cinematic works.


Moore was born in Flint, Michigan to Frank and Veronica Moore, an automotive assembly-line worker and a secretary respectively.[4] He grew up in the city of Davison, becoming a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association upon winning an NRA tournament as a youth.[5] At that time, the neighboring city of Flint was home to many General Motors factories, where his parents and grandfather worked. His uncle was one of the founders of the United Automobile Workers labor union and participated in the Flint Sit-Down Strike. Moore has described his parents as “Irish Catholic democrats, basic liberal good people.”[6] His mother died in 2002 but his entire family still resides in Davison.[citation needed]

Moore was brought up Roman Catholic and attended St. John's Elementary School for primary school, as well as a Diocesan seminary at age 14.[7][8] He then attended Davison High School, where he was active in both drama and debate,[9] graduating in 1972. That same year, he ran for and won a seat on the Davison school board on a platform based on firing the high school's principal and vice principal. By the end of his term both had resigned.[citation needed]

After dropping out of the University of Michigan-Flint (where he wrote for the student newspaper The Michigan Times) and working for a day at the General Motors plant,[10] at 22 he founded the alternative weekly magazine The Flint Voice, which soon changed its name to The Michigan Voice as it expanded to cover the entire state, which Moore later regretted. In 1986, when Moore became the editor of Mother Jones, a liberal political magazine, he moved to California and The Michigan Voice was shut down. Moore stayed at the magazine for only a short while, before working for Ralph Nader.[citation needed]

Moore was a high-profile guest at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, prominently seated in a box with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife. Moore also attended the 2004 Republican National Convention, (for a daily column chronicling his impressions of the convention in USA Today), where he was criticized in a speech by Republican Senator John McCain as “a disingenuous film-maker”. Moore waved and then laughed as Republican attendees jeered at him.[citation needed]

During September and October 2004, Moore spoke at universities and colleges in swing states during his “Slacker Uprising Tour”. The tour gave away ramen and underwear to young people who promised to vote. This provoked public denunciations from the Michigan Republican Party and attempts to convince the government that Moore should be arrested for buying votes, but since Moore did not tell the 'slackers' involved for whom to vote, just to vote, district attorneys refused to get involved. The “Underwear” tour was a popular success. Quite possibly the most controversial stop during the tour was Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah. A fight for his right to speak ensued and resulted in massive public debates and a media blitz. Death threats, bribes and lawsuits followed. The event was chronicled in the documentary film This Divided State.[11]

Moore founded theTraverse City Film Festival, which is also the location of the State Theater, a classic venue that Moore (as of 2006) has been attempting to purchase.[citation needed] The festival attracts some 70,000 attendees each year. By contrast, the Flint Film Festival, which has snubbed Moore and has selected anti-Moore films for its lineup, has enjoyed much more modest success, attracting about 1,500 attendees.[citation needed]

He has also dabbled in acting, following a 2000 supporting role in Lucky Numbers as the cousin of Lisa Kudrow's character, who agrees to be part of the scheme concocted by John Travolta's character.[citation needed]

Since 1990, Moore has been married to producer Kathleen Glynn, with whom he has a stepdaughter named Natalie. They live in New York City and spend quite a bit of time in Traverse City. Moore is also a practicing Catholic.[12][13]

It has been suggested that The Big One (film) be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)
It has been suggested that Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)

Films and awards

Moore's most recent film, Sicko, released in 2007.Roger & Me
Moore first became famous for his controversial 1989 film, Roger & Me, a documentary about what happened to Flint, Michigan after General Motors closed its factories and opened new ones in Mexico, where the workers were paid much less. Since then Moore has been known as a critic of the neoliberal view of globalization. “Roger” is Roger B. Smith, former CEO and president of General Motors.
Canadian Bacon
In 1995, Moore released a satirical film, Canadian Bacon, which features a fictional US president (played by Alan Alda) engineering a fake war with Canada in order to boost his popularity. It is noted for containing a number of Canadian and American stereotypes, and for being Moore's only non-“documentary” film. The film is also the last featuring Canadian-born actor John Candy, and also features a number of cameos by other Canadian actors. In the film, several potential enemies for America's next great campaign are discussed by the president and his cabinet. (The scene was strongly influenced by the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove.) The President comments that declaring war on Canada was as ridiculous as declaring war on international terrorism. His military adviser, played by Rip Torn, quickly rebuffs this idea, saying that no one would care about “…a bunch of guys driving around blowing up rent-a-cars”.
The Big One
In 1997, Moore directed The Big One, which documents the tour publicizing his book Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American, in which he criticizes mass layoffs despite record corporate profits. Among others, he targets Nike for outsourcing shoe production to Indonesia.
Bowling for Columbine
Moore's 2002 film, Bowling for Columbine, probes the culture of guns and violence in the United States, taking as a starting point the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Bowling for Columbine won the Anniversary Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and France's Cesar Award as the Best Foreign Film. In the United States, it won the 2002 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. It also enjoyed great commercial and critical success for a film of its type and became, at the time, the highest-grossing mainstream-released documentary (a record later held by Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11). It was praised by some for illuminating a subject slighted by the mainstream media, but it was attacked by others who claim it is inaccurate and misleading in its presentations and suggested interpretations of events.
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 examines America in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, particularly the record of the Bush administration and alleged links between the families of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Fahrenheit was awarded the Palme d'Or, the top honor at the Cannes Film Festival; it was the first documentary film to win the prize since 1956. Moore later announced that Fahrenheit 9/11 would not be in consideration for the 2005 Academy Award for Documentary Feature, but instead for the Academy Award for Best Picture. He stated he wanted the movie to be seen by a few million more people, preferably on television, by election day. Since November 2 was less than nine months after the film's release, it would be disqualified for the Documentary Oscar. Moore also said he wanted to be supportive of his “teammates in non-fiction film.” However, Fahrenheit received no Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The title of the film alludes to the classic book Fahrenheit 451 about a future totalitarian state in which books are banned; according to the book, paper begins to burn at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. The pre-release subtitle of the film confirms the allusion: “The temperature at which freedom burns.” At the box office, Fahrenheit 9/11 remains the highest-grossing documentary of all time, taking in close to US$200 million worldwide, including United States box office revenue of US$120 million.
Moore directed this film about the American health care system, focusing particularly on the managed-care and pharmaceutical industries. At least four major pharmaceutical companiesPfizer, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKlineordered their employees not to grant any interviews to Moore.[14][15][16] According to Moore on a letter at his website, “roads that often surprise us and lead us to new ideas — and challenge us to reconsider the ones we began with have caused some minor delays.” The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 19 May 2007, at which he detailed in “'Sicko' is Socko in Cannes!” an almost 15 minute standing ovation, and was released in the U.S. and Canada on 29 June 2007.[17] The film has already been subject of some controversy when it became known that Moore went to Cuba with chronically ill September 11th rescue workers to shoot parts of the film. The United States is looking into whether this violates the trade embargo. The film is currently ranked the third highest grossing documentary of all time. [citation needed]

Future releases
Fahrenheit 9/11 (pre-production)[18]
On November 11, 2004 Moore told the Hollywood trade publication Daily Variety that he is also planning a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11.[19] It is known that this film is shelved and Moore is releasing Sicko and Captain Mike Across America.
Captain Mike Across America (post-production)[20]
Michael Moore takes a look at the politics of college students in what he calls “Bush Administration America” with this film shot during Moore's 60-city college campus tour in the months leading up to the 2004 election.[21][22]

Television shows
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Between 1994 and 1995, he directed and hosted the BBC television series TV Nation, which followed the format of news magazine shows but covered topics they avoid. The series aired on BBC2 in the UK. The series was also aired in the US on NBC in 1994 for 9 episodes and again for 8 episodes on FOX in 1995.

His other major series was The Awful Truth, which satirized actions by big corporations and politicians. It aired on Channel 4 in the UK, and the Bravo network in the US, in 1999 and 2000.

Another 1999 series, Michael Moore Live, was aired in the UK only on Channel 4, though it was broadcast from New York. This show had a similar format to The Awful Truth, but also incorporated phone-ins and a live stunt each week. The show was performed around midday local time, which due to the time difference made it a late-night show in the UK.

In 1999 Moore won the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in Arts and Entertainment, for being the executive producer and host of The Awful Truth, where he was also described as “muckraker, author and documentary filmmaker”.

Music videos
Moore has directed several music videos, including two for Rage Against the Machine for songs from “The Battle of Los Angeles”: “Sleep Now in the Fire” and “Testify”. He was threatened with arrest during the shooting of “Sleep Now in the Fire”, which was filmed on Wall Street; the city of New York had denied the band permission to play there, although the band and Moore had secured a federal permit to perform.[23]

He also directed the music videos for System of a Down's “Boom!” and “All the Way to Reno (You're Gonna Be a Star)” by R.E.M.. [citation needed]

Appearances in other documentaries
Moore appeared as an off-camera interviewer in Blood in the Face, a 1991 documentary about white supremacy groups. The film centers around a neo-Nazi gathering in Michigan.[24]
Moore appeared in The Yes Men, a 2003 documentary about two men who pose as the World Trade Organization. He appears during a segment concerning working conditions in Mexico and Latin America.
Moore was interviewed for the 2004 documentary, The Corporation. One of his highlighted quotes was: “The problem is the profit motive: for corporations, there's no such thing as 'enough'”.[25]
Moore appeared briefly in Alex Jones's 2005 film Martial Law 9/11: Rise of the Police State. Jones prompts Moore for an answer as to why he did not mention any of the real issues about the September 11 attacks in his film Fahrenheit 9/11. Specifically, why Moore did not mention why NORAD stood down. Moore's reply was simply, “Because it would be Un-American.”
Moore featured prominently in the 2005 documentary This Divided State, which followed the heated level of controversy surrounding his 2004 visit to the most conservative city in the United States two weeks before the most arguably divisive election the nation has ever seen.
Moore appeared in the 2006 documentary I'm Going to Tell You a Secret, which chronicles Madonna during her 2004 Re-Invention World Tour. Moore attended her show in New York City at Madison Square Garden.

Writings and political views

Moore speaks in support of universal health care with the United States House of Representatives House Judiciary Committee members Dennis Kucinich and John ConyersThough Moore rejects the label “political activist,”[26] he has been active in promoting his political views. According to John Flesher of the Associated Press, Moore is known for his “fiery left-wing populism.”[27]

Moore has authored three best-selling books:

Downsize This! (1996), about politics and corporate crime in the United States,
Stupid White Men (2001), ostensibly a critique of American domestic and foreign policy but, by Moore's own admission, “a book of political humor,”[28] and
Dude, Where's My Country (2003), an examination of the Bush family's relationships with Saudi royalty, the Bin Laden family, and the energy industry, and a call-to-action for liberals in the 2004 election.
Despite having supported Ralph Nader in 2000, Moore urged Nader not to run in the 2004 election so as not to split the left vote. (Moore joined Bill Maher on the latter's television show in kneeling before Nader to plead with him to stay out of the race.) In June 2004, Moore claimed he is not a member of the Democratic party (although he registered as a Democrat in 1992.[29]) Although Moore endorsed General Wesley Clark for the Democratic nomination on January 14, Clark withdrew from the primary race on February 11. Moore drew attention when charging publicly that Bush was AWOL during his service in the National Guard (see George W. Bush military service controversy). Also, during an October 27 stop in Portland, OR, Moore called the private phone number of radio host Lars Larson, given to him by a member of the audience.[citation needed]

With the 2004 election over, Moore continues to collect information on the war in Iraq and the Bush administration in addition to his film projects. In 2006, Moore has also been involved in an email campaign regarding the 2006 United States midterm elections to draft up support for the Democrats.[citation needed]

In June 2007, on ABC's Nightline, Moore claimed that in Cuba “there is not religious persecution, there is artistic freedom” and that Cubans are able to “freely speak their minds.” The show's host, Terry Moran, replied, “Human rights groups like Amnesty International say Cuba continues to repress nearly all forms of dissent”.[30]

Published work

Moore, Michael (1996). Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0060977337.
Moore, Michael; Glynn, Kathleen (1998). Adventures In A TV Nation. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0060988096.
Moore, Michael (2002). Stupid White Men …and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!. New York: Regan Books. ISBN 0060392452.
Moore, Michael (2003). Dude, Where's My Country. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0446532231.
Moore, Michael (2004). Will They Ever Trust Us Again. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743271521.
Moore, Michael (2004). The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743272927.

Roger & Me (1989)
Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint (1992) (TV)
Canadian Bacon (1995)
The Big One (1997)
And Justice for All (1998) (TV)
Lucky Numbers (2000)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) “Palme d'Or” in Cannes
Sicko (June 29, 2007)

TV Nation (1994)
The Awful Truth (1999)
Michael Moore Live (1999)

See also
Michael Moore controversies

^ All Movie Guide (2007). Michael Moore filmography. All Movie Guide. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
^ Michael Moore (2006-11-14). A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives. Michael Retrieved on 2007-07-21.
^ Joel Stein. “Michael Moore: The Angry Filmmaker”, Time, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
^ Michael Moore Biography (1954-). Film Reference. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
^ Brottman, Mikita (May 2002). Guns & Moses An Interview with Filmmaker & Satirist Michael Moore. Headpress. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
^ Ron Sheldon. “Exclusive Interview with Michael Moore of TV Nation”, People's Weekly World, 23 Sep 1995. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
^ Richard Knight, Jr.. “To Your Health: A Talk with Sickos Michael Moore”, Windy City Media Group, 2007-06-27. Retrieved on 2007-06-27.
^ Stupid White Men, Page 95
^ Gary Strauss (June 20, 2004). The truth about Michael Moore. USA Today. Retrieved on 2006-07-09.
^ Ron Sheldon (September 23, 1995). Exclusive Interview with Michael Moore of TV Nation. People's Weekly World.
^ This Divided State official website. Accessed 9 July 2006.
^ Rahner, Mark. “”Sicko,” new Michael Moore film, takes on the health-care system”, The Seattle Times, 2007-06-26. Retrieved on 2007-06-30.
^ Elliott, David. “Moral outrage, humor make up Michael Moore's one-two punch”, SignOnSanDiego, 2007-06-29. Retrieved on 2007-06-30.
^ The Philadelphia Inquirer: Inqlings | Michael Moore takes on Glaxo. Michael Klein, 30 September 2005. Archive accessed 9 July 2006.
^ Common Dreams News Center: Drug Firms are on the Defense as Filmmaker Michael Moore Plans to Dissect Their Industry. Original Article – Elaine Dutka, L.A. Times, December 22, 2004. Archive accessed August 09, 2006
^ Chicago Tribune: Michael Moore turns camera onto health care industry. Bruce Japsen, 3 October 2004. Archive accessed 9 July 2006.
^ An Update from Michael Moore (and an invitation to his film festival). Michael Moore, 7 July 2006. URL accessed 9 July 2006.
^ Fahrenheit 9/11 at the Internet Movie Database
^ Variety: Get ready for more Moore. Army Archerd, 10 November 2004. URL accessed 9 July 2006.
^ Captain Mike at the Internet Movie Database
^ Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved on 2007-09-07.
^ Green Left Weekly: Rage against Wall Street. Michael Moore, via, date unspecified. URL accessed 9 July 2006.
^ Blood in the Face at the Internet Movie Database
Moore details his involvement in the audio commentary on the Roger and Me DVD.
^ Who's Who. The Corporation Film.
^ 'I am the balance', says Moore. Minneapolis Star Tribune. South Florida Sun-Sentinel (4 July 2007). Retrieved on 2007-07-06. Moore rejects the label “political activist”; as a citizen of a democracy, Moore insists, such a description is redundant.
^ Flesher, John (16 June 2007). Hollywood meets Bellaire as Moore gives sneak peek of “Sicko”. Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-07-06. But the filmmaker, known for his fiery left-wing populism and polemical films such as “Fahrenheit 9/11” and Oscar-winning “Bowling for Columbine,” told the audience “Sicko” would appeal across the political spectrum.
^ Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal: Unmoored from Reality. John Fund's Political Diary, 21 March 2003. URL accessed 29 August 2006.
^ Nightline interview at You Tube

External links