I’ll pay to watch it.
Michael Moore’s terrifying “Fahrenheit 11/9″: Trump is the symptom, not the disease, by Sophia A. McClennen
“Fahrenheit 11/9″ takes an unflinching look at how Donald Trump rose to power and what we can do about it
“Fahrenheit 11/9” draws on this rich legacy to offer viewers Moore’s most powerful movie yet. The film uses the story of the rise of Trump to document the failures, weaknesses and flaws in our democracy. For Moore, the story of Trump is not a story about a momentary breakdown in a system that allowed a dangerous, narcissist to come to power; it is a story about a system that has been careening towards this outcome for decades.
At the heart of the film is the message that abusive systems of power depend on a public that is complacent, compromising, passive and distracted. In order to draw out how we came to be a nation where so few people vote and even fewer feel like their voices matter, Moore takes aim across the political spectrum. One of the most powerful aspects of the film is the way that Moore pulls no punches as he outs the establishment left and faults them for their complicity with corporate capital. Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all come under fire as Moore reveals how they sold out the ideals of the Democratic Party to corporate backers.
Also at Salon, a follow-up. I’ve chosen one crucial excerpt.
Lessons from Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9″: Establishment Democrats sold out the voters, by Sophia A. McClennen
Moore’s film is as much about how the left and the media have failed us as it is about the dangers of Trump
… 4. The Democrats share a lot of blame for the rise of Trump.
Moore doesn’t just show Obama’s disturbing behavior in Flint; he also reminds viewers of how cozy he was with Wall Street. In a series of scenes that will likely disturb many viewers, he dives deep into the ways that establishment Democrats have sold out the party’s ideals and their voters. From Bill Clinton’s pro-corporate policies to his ramping up of prison populations, Moore shows how party leaders since the Bill Clinton era have alienated voters and moved the party to the right.
Moore brings up the issue of super delegates and their role in the 2016 presidential race, but he does so as only part of a larger exposé of the ways that party leaders have suppressed progressive candidates. Rather than focus only on Bernie Sanders, Moore makes it clear that what happened to Sanders has happened down ticket as well. To drive home the point, “Fahrenheit 11/9” includes a taped conversation where Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who’s been in office since 1981, telling progressive Colorado candidate Levi Tillemann to drop out of the race and cede the spot to the more centrist candidate. When Tilleman questions Hoyer’s interference, Hoyer responds smugly that he has repeatedly chosen who gets to run for the party.
Taken together these scenes help paint a clear picture for why #DemExit grew in steam over the 2016 election, potentially paving the way for the Trump win.
Again at Salon, box office context.
“Fahrenheit 11/9″ comes 14 years after “Fahrenheit 9/11″ smashed documentary records
… As always, Moore is his film’s marketing campaign; he’s gambling that he can recreate the appeal of “Bowling For Columbine” and “9/11″ after a decade of seeing his films face declining results. His biggest hits came in the early George W. Bush years, when he was positioned as part of the resistance. (His last two documentaries came while Obama was president.) His last film, “Where To Invade Next,” grossed just $3.8 million in February 2016 — but that was months before anyone took Donald Trump seriously.
This cycle works both ways. Moore’s right-wing doppelganger Dinesh D’Sousa made three anti-Obama and Clinton documentaries between 2012-2016: “Obama’s America,” “Hillary’s America,” and “America.” All grossed as well or better than Moore’s documentaries during the same period. But his most recent release, “Death of a Nation,” didn’t top $6 million despite a 1,000-theater opening.