Roger & Me Movie Review

Michael Moore used to be a nobody. You know, before he had an Oscar. Before he had a TV show. Before he got all big-headed as a cause celebre among the far far left.

Roger & Me is the movie that made Moore a sensation. It's a simple experiential documentary about the schlubby Moore as he attempts to get Roger Smith, the CEO of General Motors, to come with him to Flint, Michigan in order to see the social devastation caused by the mass layoffs there of Smith's company. It's tragic, tragic, tragic. From the countless evictions Moore rides along on to one sad moment wherein pet bunnies are revealed to be equally good on the dinner table, Smith's ride is nothing but horror when his camera is pointed on the town of Flint.

Understandably, when aimed at GM, it's nothing but stonewalling, as Smith can't be found or refuses to be interviewed. Moore's hope for a buddy-buddy trip to Flint is a pipe dream, and he obviously knows this, but the lessons he teaches -- or rather, the gospel he preaches -- about the importance of socialism and the welfare system.

The problem of course is that Moore's ire is a little misdirected. He faults GM for closing down factories when his real target is the government, which doesn't properly support those affected. In Moore's world, corporations don't answer to shareholders and needn't show profits. Social responsibility is paramount to the mandates of capitalism. In fact, Moore would have a lot better case against Nike in his later film The Big One, which (although they had been largely explored in the mainstream media) the shoe manufacturer's seedy business practices. GM was simply reacting to the fact the foreign auto manufacturers were eating its lunch, and it just couldn't support the business. (Moore's only real point that has merit is the highfalutin lifestyle led by the GM executives, especially Smith, at a time when everyone in the surrounding communities was dirt poor.)

Regardless of Moore's conceitedness and simple-mindedness, he still makes a good movie, and without inventing so many facts as he did with Bowling for Columbine. And Moore seems to have learned something from the experience of making that film and being booed off the stage at the Oscar ceremony: His new commentary track on the new DVD adds more depth to Roger, and provides more vitriol about how society perpetuates the welfare state and why the government is worthless in the matter. But as for Roger, he still gets away, scot free.

Cast & Crew

Director :

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Comments

Roger & Me Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: R, 1989

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