So, what did I do over the long weekend? Well, for starters, I “built” myself a new garage. It’s certainly not your typical garage, but it’s fun getting in and out and it didn’t take long to build at all. Very easy to do: get in your car, hit the gas. I took a picture:
Hmmmmm….what else? Oh, we went and saw Fahrenheit 9-11. Where do I start? It’s already been examined and written about far more eloquently than I can promise, but the short of it is this – it’s a compelling, fascinating viewpoint on the Bush presidency. Oh yeah, as long as you expect the slant when you walk into the theatre, it’s a hell of an entertaining and at times laughable ride. I’m pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to politics. I keep tabs and read news, but not as in depth as some other people I know. That said, there were a few moments in the film where it was obvious Moore wasn’t including things he probably should have, specifically the part of the film where he’s trying to point out that the coalition of countries fighting with the U.S. in Iraq is a mish-mash joke of small, militarily ineffective countries in the coalition. He’s clearly having fun with it and it’s undoubtedly an amusing moment – but he leaves out England and Spain, making it seem like it’s the U.S. and a bunch of hacks. He didn’t need to omit that – it wouldn’t have made the point or the film any less compelling and anyone who’s paying a smidge of attention knows that England and Spain were fighting alongside.
For me, the most ironic and incredibly sad part of the film is Al Gore presiding over the Senate gathering just after the 2000 election where he repeatedly is turning away and shutting out African-American residents of Florida, who are begging and pleading with the Senate to hear them regarding how their votes were not counted. It really makes one realize just how helpless American citizens can be in regards to government – black, white, whomever. Welcome, my friend, to the machine. Of course, Gore must have just been beside himself with frustration, maybe even rage if Gore is even capable of that kind of emotion. Gore was there doing that because he had to be. As VP, it was his job. It’s such a final, sad kick in the face after what must have been a gut-wrenching few weeks for the guy who actually won the presidency.
There were too many other parts of the movie to mention here, really. It is a must see. Not because it’s factually perfect or anything – see here for a very interesting viewpoint from “the other side,” but because we see footage in Iraq – real footage – that American TV networks will never have the guts to show again (or did they ever?) because they’re more or less on the take, too. The movie itself was well worth the time, clearly slanted but the overall point is this and I think many will agree or made the realization long before I did: American citizens are largely powerless to what goes on and many of us are prone to believe weak media spin. I left the theatre thoroughly entertained and rather sad at the same time.
The surprise movie of the weekend, though, was American Splendor. An authorized biography of sorts, this film documents the life of Harvey Pekar, a mostly miserable file clerk from Cleveland whose comic book depicted his own (and probably many others) “real life.” Pekar is played by the very underrated Paul Giamatti, who does a kick-ass job in his role – the facial expressions, the speech and the mannerisms are a damn fine piece of acting and to me, worthy of award. What made this movie so good was that Pekar appeared as himself in parts of the film, mostly in the form of small intermissions, saying things like, “I’m not sure this guy (Giamatti) really looks like me, but whatever.” There’s also animation here and there, but not enough where it gets overwhelming. The film – content and production – was just so interesting and well-made.
Song now playing: Bruce Springsteen – “Prove It All Night”