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260 of 314 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do not judge by the title
I think that for a first attempt at film making, Michael Wilson does a creditable job. Documentaries are not expected to display cinematic art to the degree of other genres. Documentaries are to film what informational books are to writing: it is the validity of the content that is of primary importance.

Wilson uses Moore's own story line from "Roger and Me",...
Published on December 11, 2004 by K. Dunlap

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Right target - Bad aim
Michael Wilson's MICHAEL MOORE HATES AMERICA has a terrible title and a terrible theme for an exposé of Michael Moore. Except in one instance which I'll get to later.

Michael Moore makes documentaries that edit and rearrange people talking to make them appear to be saying something entirely different then what they actually said. He setups situations...
Published on December 15, 2007 by J. A. Eyon


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260 of 314 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do not judge by the title, December 11, 2004
By 
K. Dunlap (Afton, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
I think that for a first attempt at film making, Michael Wilson does a creditable job. Documentaries are not expected to display cinematic art to the degree of other genres. Documentaries are to film what informational books are to writing: it is the validity of the content that is of primary importance.

Wilson uses Moore's own story line from "Roger and Me", vainly following the title character around the country in search of an interview, and does it quite well. The movie is quite interesting and sometimes funny (especially his interview of Penn Jillette).

Now, let's tackle the provocative title, "Michael Moore Hates America." I believe Michael Wilson used it in order to get his movie noticed. It is clear that he is uncomfortable with it: This is shown when, at the end of his interview with the extremely ethical documentarian, Albert Maysles, he sheepishly reveals the title, apparently expecting to be rebuked. To his surprise Maysles simply responds, "Maybe he does."

The film is really about ethics in the making of documentary films. Scenes from Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" and to a lesser extent "Roger and Me" (both of which I have seen) supply the basis he and others such as Penn Jillette, Albert Maysles, and David Horowitz (as well as people whom Moore chose to interview in making "Bowling for Columbine") use as a basis for their comments pro and con.

Some reviewers have stated that all movies shade the truth or worse. That may be literally true; however, it is clearly unethical to manipulate scenes in a documentary in such a way as to create "facts" or connections (particularly to create the appearance of cause and effect or guilt by association) that are false or misleading. There is general agreement that Moore was repeatedly guilty of that in "Bowling for Columbine" and "Roger and Me". I have not seen "Fahrenheit 9/11", but most movie reviewers, even those who appear to agree with Moore's cause, seem to agree that he does the same in that movie.

Telling lies in historical movies is not new, and I would say it creates no major ethical problem when it simply fills in material that is unknown or is of no major importance. Of all the movies I have seen, Oliver Stone's movie, "JFK", is almost certainly the prime example of unethical movie-making because it is untrue in every important statement it makes. Although it is not a documentary, millions of people believe it portrays the JFK assassination accurately, which could not be further from the truth. A major point of Wilson's movie is that it is so easy to allow one's self to bend the truth for expediency's sake that he found it very difficult to avoid doing so in making his movie. This, however, is not an excuse that applies to the films of Stone and Moore.

The problem I have with Michael Moore is that his movies have gotten so much attention and praise that he has set the ethical bar for documentaries far lower than it has been in the past. This will mean that documentaries will no longer serve as credible sources of information. Since that is the primary reason documentaries exist at all, it is a serious problem.

More and more people are reluctantly coming to realize that newspapers and TV news have lost most of their credibility, so it shouldn't be too surprising that the trend would spread to other sources of information. Still, it sure is a pain in the [...] to be forced to expend time doing major research on every significant issue in order to have a reasonably accurate view of the world.
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214 of 259 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the title fool you, December 13, 2004
By 
That guy (Maple Grove, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
Let me start this by saying I *AM* a fan of Michael Moore.

That being said, I do find some of his filmmaking techniques sloppy. That is the price you pay for trying to pack big issues into a two hour movie.

Is using the title "Michael Moore Hates America" any more inflamatory than titling a book "Dude, Where's My Country?" The fact of the matter is that this is the way that this form of entertainment appeals to its core audience, from either political spectrum.

What we have here is a delightful, if somewhat provocative film by a first time filmmaker. Is it good? Ebert and Roeper gave it two thumbs up. I'd say I have to agree with their assesment.

This is an important film for anyone who wants to be informed of both sides of the issues in Mr Moore's more recent films. Knowing both sides of a discussion is the only way a person can make intellectual decisions.

See this film.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Earnest, & Fair, December 6, 2004
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
With a title like this, it isn't a surprise that some won't see it because of what they think it's about. I am no fan of Moore, but believe him to be one of the most important film makers of this generation. That said, his tactics and his path to a point of view are frequently underhanded, misleading and at times, dishonest.

Michael Moore Hates America is certainly not as well crafted or entertaining as a Michael Moore film is, but then perhaps that is exactly why I liked it. I saw it in LA, and was prepared to hate it. Being a moderate, often liberal thinker, I thought it was going to be a political hack job, like so many other anti-Moore films of late have been. I was happy to discover that, while imperfect and flawed, it is honest and earnest in it's attempt to make a simple point (see the film for yourself) It's not an easy task, in fact, director Michael Wilson makes the point of showing us how easy it is to slip and cave in to the impulse to manipulate others in order to make a point, a vulnerable thing to do in such a public fashion. We're left to consider if it's alright for the "ends to justifies the means" and should Moore, or other, be forgiven for misleading and lying, all for the sake of making a point. An important point to consider in light of the recent elections.

This movie is far from perfect. Penn Jillette shines, but I perhaps Wilson gives him too much time. I think the film is funny, but not as funny as it needs to be in order to win a larger word of mouth. Most of all, the flaw in this film is it's title. In these heated political times, a title like this, no matter how ironic it is, well nearly guarantee that a lot of smart, though left-leaning people will never see it, and a lot of smart right wingers will leave disappointed that Wilson didn't go for blood.

Ebert gave this film Two Thumbs Up and he's an ardent supporter of left-wing causes and Moore. The National Rifle Association is featured in the film, and they think it's worthy. With such diverse bed fellows, it should tell you that it's a work that both Red and Blues should see.

My recommendation is that you see it and judge for yourself. It is a gem, and it will spark conversation and debate (as it did with the friends I saw it with). Great first effort.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprise, January 4, 2005
By 
Kathryn (Minneapolis) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
I was surprised-pleasantly surprised. While not a professionally shot film, don't let that distract you from the content. In my opinion, it makes it all the more appealing-we have enough "bells and whistles" with the others out there. Great message and not as right wing as the Dubya lovers would probably have liked. I perceive that the initial promotion by the right wing was the hope to have this film help effect the election by turning the table on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 and his attack on Bush and the war in Iraq. So Kerry lost the election, and Moore is making another film. This film had no effect on either other than to bring a fresh look at documentary filmmaking in general. Michael Moore is an easy person to focus on given his huge success as a documentary filmmaker and the subjects he has chosen for his films; corporate greed, government corruption and media hysteria. I have admired Michael Moore for getting a message out there and raising awareness, but I don't need another skewed or manipulated message. Films that are made like this allow me to remain optimistically cynical. While not as flashy as most documentaries on the big or small screen, this film brings us a fresh and much needed perspective on documentary filmmaking and has some fun moments. The interview with documentary icon Albert Maysles is great. I would recommend the film to those right or left of the line of politics. If you have not seen a Michael Moore film, please do before you see this film to get the proper perspective.
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82 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Love Michael Moore Hates America, November 29, 2004
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
I first saw this film at Smmash Fest in Excelsior Minnesota where it won best new film documentary! The last review of this film was by the legendary critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper who gave it "Two Thumbs Up"

This is a great movie documentary that will leave you thinking and talking about it long after the credits have rolled and if you believe that you know what this film is all about... All I can say is be prepared for a real surprise!

This film is a funny and refreshing feel good movie that takes us across America and its message is more about who we are than what it says directly about Michael Moore. Mike Wilson delivers a full cast including Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame, Albert Maysles the Legendary Independent Documentary Director and Representative Mark Kennedy of Minnesota along with several others. So if you are a political animal or not, Republican, Democrat, or Independent purchase this film because you might just find yourself cheering and applauding or maybe even rising to give it a standing ovation. We are purchasing the DVD so our family and friends can enjoy this film and view it's upbeat and valuable message.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenge of Truth in a Documentary, January 10, 2005
By 
Honshin (Waco, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
I originally saw this film at a festival and I found it to be quite surprising. In spite of its title, it is not an attack on Michael Moore. While it uses a Roger and Me type of device to tie the elements together, the film focuses on the challenge of maintaining truth and avoiding manipulating images and facts to make a point. The film certainly highlights many of the distortions in Moore's movies, but that is not the primary emphasis. Wilson examines his own desire to get certain images and the tempations to be less than honest in achieving that aim. To his credit, he always corrects these errors before moving on. The section with Penn Gillette is well worth the price of admission. He examines the nature of Bull$%#@ in different forms of media and discusses the difficulty in portraying facts with distorting them. If you are able to set aside your political bias and fawning worship of Moore, I think that you will find this film to be an entertaining look at the documentary genre and Moore in particular. Along the way, you will also get a healthy dose of the optimism that makes America the great country that it is.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Think before you write., March 7, 2005
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
I'd like to counter something that was posted in another review, that is demonstratably false.

"This was not a film made by amateurs for non-partisan entertainment truth seekers like they want you to believe. In fact according to the cofounder of the Dallas film festival, Jim Hubbard explained, it was being "bankrolled primarily by some 'big-time conservative donors.'"

It wasn't made by amateurs? Please, sir, tell me what films Michael Wilson has worked on before.

As for the 'big-time conservative donors' backing thing, you obviously do not know the history of the making of this film. It started a year and a half ago as Michael Wilson and his website, asking for donations to help finance the film. He was literally relying on donations from web visitors to buy the film he needed. Several times in the next few months he would write about how dangerously low he was running and at one point even wrote about canning the project.

A couple months before the election (June of '04 I believe) a conservative businessman stepped into finance the project to have it completed.

This was not some big idea where a big, rich conservative thought 'hey, let's make a movie about Michael Moore' and then just made it at such. Michael Wilson was working his butt off on this project for half a year before this donor stepped in. Hell, I even donated a few bucks (through Amazon.com, nontheless) to Michael Wilson. This is not 'Fahrenhype 9-11' or 'Celcius 41.11' which were made by think-tanks and whatnot, so don't write as if it is.
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44 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moore Tactics Exposed, December 7, 2004
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
Our family went to this movie in Minnesota. The Mann Theaters did a limited release viewing at six or seven locations for several weeks. At the showing that we attended the movie was well received with applause and laughter several times by the audience including my family and I.

One of the important messages presented in this film I believe is that when somebody states something as fact we need to use our critical thinking skills to investigate and not just rely on the purported face value of the statement. As Americans we need to have the courage to scrutinize the evidence regardless of weather or not we agree with Michael Moore or anyone else for that matter. The next message presented here is that if you are in a position of influence the duty to deliver a complete and honest appraisal is paramount. The other major theme running throughout this film is to admit when you are wrong.

Mike Wilson shows several examples of how Michael Moore has combined movie footage and taken quotes out of context thereby creating major deceptions for his viewing audience (AKA The Big Lie). I also believe that Michael Moore is not serving well the causes that he professes to believe in. Moore's use of Anti American rhetoric in his films and public statements has created a toxic poison that has been utilized by Osama bin Laden and other terrorist. Thankfully, some voices from the political left and right are starting to realize the ramifications and are demanding accountability from Michael Moore. BTW: You should see this film and give it a rating yourself.

Thank You,

The Wire Man

Not my real name.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where is Michael Moore..?, November 8, 2005
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
Why did he act like an idiot in the interviews by pretending this movie doesn't exist..? Michael Wilson tries extremely hard to get a sit down interview, but to no avail. I used to like Michael Moore, but after listening to Alex Jones, I see now that he is a for-profit hack. This movie also has a good feeling vibe throughout. You can learn more from this movie than all of Moore's "documentaries" combined. AND I'M A LIBERAL!

I've read Moore's books. He doesn't present any solutions, he only manipulates half truths and snivals about them. Michael Moore, shut the hell up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid, honest critique - worth the price of admission, September 4, 2011
This review is from: Michael Moore Hates America (DVD)
Obviously films like this polarise opinion, so let me preface this review with the following.

There are no sacred cows.

(Well, unless you're a Hindu in India, and even then, only the actual cows are sacred.)

No person's statements are immune from critique, no person's opinions automatically infallible. Doesn't matter if you're the Prime Minister, the President, the Pope... or Michael Moore. It is human nature to question, to say "really?", to ask for more information, to want the full story. Humankind tends to get itself in a terrible mess when lies are accepted as truth, so in a time where knowledge is increasingly controlled and distributed by fewer channels, each with an ulterior motive, it is even more important to question everything.

Since 'Roger & Me' and especially after 'Bowling For Columbine', Michael Moore has generated a considerable amount of negative criticism. Much of it of course is from the other side of the political sphere who purely reject his utopian socialist outlook on all things - and that's fine. The beauty of the USA is that freedom of speech is absolute (unlike my own country, despite my national anthem telling me I'm "young and free") so people are as free to say those things as Moore is to say what he says and put it into a film.

Alongside this simple chorus of disagreement though, many others have taken a closer look at Moore's claims and facts and found anomalies and distortions of truth in his works. Over time, Moore has developed a reputation - at least in some circles - for regularly distorting and misrepresenting interviewees and other important facts through clever editing. Some of this other 'techniques', particularly impromptu interviews, staged footage and making his interviewees come across like idiots, has drawn ire too.

As such, the notion of Michael Moore not necessarily being a modern day Jesus for the under-trodden working class stiffs isn't a new concept, even back in 2004 when 'Michael Moore Hates America' was released. Michael Wilson's film is actually one of many anti-Moore films that have been released in the past 8 or so years.

So is it any good?

Let's start with the title, seeing as it is what most people get their knickers in a knot over. Does Michael Moore hate America? That's open to opinion, of course, and hate is a strong word, but perhaps it would have made a more appropriate title? Indeed, Michael Wilson would probably agree. Even the mere addition of a question mark - 'Michael Moore Hates America?' - might have taken some of the heat off him, turning a rather absolute and controversial statement into a question still worthy of controversy, but as it is a question many have asked, also worthy of further investigation. Yes, 'Michael Moore Hates America' as a title guarantees the first time filmmaker enough notoriety to give his otherwise tiny production some press, and yes, Wilson is well entitled to believe that Moore does indeed hate the American that he himself loves. It is curious though - and refreshingly fascinating - to see the influence of the title itself takes on Wilson and his skeleton crew as the film progresses.

At its heart, the film is about Moore's alleged misrepresentation of fact. Wilson revisits key subjects in Moore's earlier films - namely the Bank 'giving out free guns', the NRA and Peter Damon (the Iraq veteran who lost both his arms of whom footage of his recovery was shown in Fahrenheit 9/11 without his permission) - to tell their side of the story. It is revealed that viewers of 'Bowling For Columbine' got a false impression of the said Bank's process for the free gun offer - which are delivered to a licenced firearms dealer, and not given out over the counter at the bank itself. Moore both requested an exception for himself as well as deliberately misrepresented his intentions regarding the film to the Bank staff. Interviews with NRA representatives show how Moore combined multiple speeches by then-president Charlton Heston on different dates to portray him as seemingly callous and unmoved by the events in Columbine and Bueller. Damon rejects Moore's portrayal of US soldiers in Iraq, stating that he at no time felt 'left behind' regarding his treatment nor was Moore's opinion indicative of many of the troops. Despite his disability, Damon is proud of his work in Iraq, his involvement with the military and the positive effect it has had on his life.

Wilson also checks out some other 'Moore facts', discovering that plenty of people in Canada lock their doors, and that the city of Flint (not actually Moore's real home town) isn't quite the desolate wasteland of despair that Moore makes out as a punchline to basically every one of his films. A believer in America as the 'land of opportunity' and wary of Moore's representation of The American Dream as unobtainium for the average person, Wilson interviews Flints residents with their own businesses, discussing their drive and determination to be successful and make a living in their community.

The other theme throughout the film is of course Wilson's 'Roger & Me'-style attempts to get an interview with Moore himself. His ultimately unsuccessful attempt, at least in my opinion, highlights a certain hypocrisy in Moore character, if only his unwillingness to defend his films squarely and face-to-face. Moore has become the 'Roger', so to speak; the rich white guy who avoids criticism of his own actions.

Wilson is a first time film maker and what 'Michael Moore Hates America' lacks in big budget pizzazz and professional cinematography, it makes up for in its simple, honest and earnest presentation. Clocking in at a modest 90 mins of runtime, it also manages to avoid much of the somewhat vague 'informational tangents' typical of Moore's own films, keeping things on track and on topic. It is also a rather 'self-aware' production; not only does Wilson question his use of title, but his small team berate him for using similar techniques to Moore, such as not being upfront about the film and, in particular, not mentioning the title of the project. Though I'm sure it wasn't intended, the film itself acts as something of an exploration into the documentary form itself, as Wilson and Co. grabble with the process of making an honest documentary about a dishonest documentarian, with the suggestion that indeed all documentaries are in way a distortion of reality.

So does Michael Moore Hate America? I guess it depends on your definition of hate, and your definition of America. Certainly Moore has demonstrated considerable disdain for many aspects of American culture and politics he deems bad or wrong ie. in his opinion. Does that America exist beyond his own mind? Do the majority of Americans agree with him, as he claims? Well, not being an American myself, it's not for me to answer.... but I get the feeling plenty of people would disagree. Does Michael Moore misrepresent and distort the truth? Well, yeah... there's plenty of evidence to support that his 'documentaries' use a healthy amount of creative licence.... no doubts there.

But, does the end justify the means? Here perhaps is the crux of the discussion and a point Michael Wilson - wisely - leaves up to his audience to decide for themselves. For me, I don't think it does.... not because of ideology or morality, but simply this - why make a statement that isn't watertight? If the opinion or idea you preach can't withstand reasonable scrutiny, you've done a disservice to the message you wish to spread. Perhaps that's Michael Moore's greatest flaw? Not the hounding of interviewees, the misrepresentation of facts, the sneaky editing and the oversimplification of complicated issues... but simply the rather average job he does putting his case forward to the masses. It is rather ironic that the success of his films has relied on the one thing he and fellow liberals and socialists bemoan most of middle America - that of apathy, ignorance and believing everything the TV tells you without question.

Regardless of whether you consider Moore an angel or a demon, 'Michael Moore Hates America' is a film worth watching.
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Michael Moore Hates America
Michael Moore Hates America by Michael Wilson (DVD - 2007)
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