Dennis Miller used to be funny; then 9/11 happened and made him crazy. Now I was working in Manhattan on 9/11; it affected me as much as anybody who didn’t lose loved ones there. I got heartburn every time I thought about it for years. But let’s face it, when Dennis Miller decided he was a conservative pundit instead of an equal opportunity political comic, the humor drained out of his butt like he ate 6 bags of Olestra potato chips. There are funny conservatives- I’m pretty sure Norm MacDonald is conservative, and I find him funny as hell.
David Zucker, who helped bring us classics such as Airplane!, The Naked Gun, Top Secret! and Kentucky Fried Movie, has suddenly decided that not only is Michael Moore relevant, but is deserving of an entire movie parodying him. The last few movies he produced were the Scary Movie sequels, so it’s obvious he’s lost any comedic talent he once had as the famous Zucker-Abrams-Zucker team. Or maybe like the Order of the Triad, he only has power when the ZAZ work in tandem. I’ll let you be the judge, when you view this trailer to his new movie, An American Carol that debuted on “The O’Reilly Factor,” since Bill O’Reilly actually stars in the movie as someone who gets to slap Michael Moore.
Michael Moore is a polarizing director. I was a huge fan of Roger & Me, and his TV show “TV Nation.” I even went to Philly to see Crackers the Corporate Crime Chicken. I also liked his movie The Big One, and went to the premiere in Minneapolis, met him again, got his autograph. Then Columbine happened and he went sort of crazy. He always brings up that he learned to shoot in a youth rifle club of the NRA, but he got unhinged after a kid in Flint Michigan brought an illegal gun from his uncle’s drug-dealing roommate’s dresser to school and shot a young girl that he’d previously stabbed with a pencil. The NRA was somehow to blame for this.
We got into an email argument over it; this was back when you could email him. Sadly my old email program ate them and I can’t share them here. His argument was “it’s gone too far,” and attacking a senile Charlton Heston was the answer. I never forgave him for that, and think his documentaries have suffered since he’s gotten so strident. Even in Roger & Me he was accused of setting things up to look one way when reality disagreed, and most documentaries have a slant. Some of the greatest, like Harlan County U.S.A. and The Thin Blue Line have definite agendas. The father of the documentary who gave us Nanook of the North infamously staged most of the scenes. But those films didn’t take a complex, polarizing issue like gun control and try to stack the deck and convince people to your side of the argument with bad facts.
That being said, I loved Sicko, where he seemed to get back to his prankster style of filmmaking, when he tried to bring a bunch of American citizens who’d been failed by our ridiculously expensive and coldly bureaucratic health care system to Guantanamo Bay, where enemy combatants were getting better treatment. Then again, one of my favorite recent comedies is Team America: World Police by the “South Park” guys, which makes fun of Moore and American foreign policy.
An American Carol looks like it’s 5 years too late to be funny. There was a time when we might have believed that critics of the Iraq War actually hate America. $500 billion later, when we’re still pumping cash into Iraq when they have a $90 billion surplus in their budget and our economy is taking a plunge, folks are starting to question why we threw 4000+ American lives and 30,000 American limbs to put the party who blew up our Marine barracks in Beirut into power. Yes, they’re our friends now, apparently. At least compared to the other parties trying to run Iraq. And this is from paleoconservative Paul Mulshine, not Michael Moore or some “America hater.” The fact is the bad guys were in Afghanistan, we still haven’t caught bin Laden, and we’re losing Afghanistan because of lack of troops. And Russia is flexing its muscles because it knows we’re spread thin. and… nevermind, everything’s fine. Go see Scary Movie 8.
So who’s going to see a movie where a country singer, Bill O’Reilly and a poor facsimile of General Patton show Michael Moore what makes America great? I didn’t see one remotely funny thing in the trailer, sadly. It’s old news, and was done better with pooping puppets by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. You know what makes America great? That Michael Moore can make his movies without being beaten down like a journalist who aims his camera at a “Free Tibet!” sign at the Olympics in China. That we can make fun of Michael Moore and call him out when he skews his facts. That really funny movies like Airplane! were made here, and yes, that even crap like An American Carol can be made here. It would be greater if useful idiots like Zucker didn’t think that anyone who disagreed with his politics “hates America.” Though I can imagine having to deal with the insipid Hollywood political activists is pretty infuriating.