November 23, 2004

Details from Roger & Me

Here's the story:
General Motors planned to close eleven old factories in the U.S. and open eleven new ones in Mexico where they would pay their employees $0.07 an hour. As the lay-offs began, Michael Moore set out to convince Roger Smith, GM's chairman, to spend a day with him in Flint, MI, a town whose main job source was GM, and meet the people who were losing their jobs. As Mike did this, his camera was rolling, filming his first documentary, Roger & Me.

Flint, Michigan was not only Michael Moore's birthplace, but General Motors' as well, and they were closing their old factories, putting 30,000 people out of work. Since the primary employer in Flint was GM, the downsizing hit Flint hard. Many of its residents were evicted, many of them moved, and it's crime rate became the highest in the nation. In Roger & Me, Mike listen's to the people of Flint (and others) speak about the situation.

One of the most shocking interviews was with Tom Kay, the corporate fat cat who Mike spoke with. He said (this is a loose quote), "If you're proposing, which, obviously you are, that the corporation owes the worker premium to the grade security, I don't think that can be accomplished in the free enterprise system." He also speaks to a woman who was making a living by raising and selling rabbits and training doberman pinchers, along with receiving a small monthly social security check. In this one graphic scene, you watch her kill and skin one of her rabbits as she gives her view of why Flint had become the way it had.

At the end of the film, Mike finally gets to invite Roger Smith to come to Flint. Smith says, "I've been to Flint, I feel sorry for those people, I don't know anything about it...I cannot come to Flint, I'm sorry."

Roger & Me is a must-see film for everyone. Rent it today. If don't rent movies, or "don't want to give Michael Moore any money", find someone who owns it and borrow it. Do the same with Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.

If you would really like to be able to reasonably criticize Mike's work, you MUST SEE IT first.

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