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***Official FAHRENHEIT 9/11 Review Thread - READ GUIDELINES BEFORE POSTING!***


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 21 2004 - 01:37 AM

This thread is now designated the Official Review Thread for "FAHRENHEIT 9/11". All HTF member film reviews of "FAHRENHEIT 911" should be posted here.

Please post all other comments and discussion items to the Official Discussion Thread.

This thread and the Discussion thread are an experiment. We are interested in learning whether a film with such an overt political agenda can be discussed at all on the HTF, given our forum rules and posting guidelines. We will evaluate the experiment often and may terminate it at any time. The best chance for having the experiment continue is for all members to observe the following:

[c]Guidelines for Posting[/c][list=1][*]To post in this thread, you must have seen the film. If it appears from your post that you haven't seen the film, the post will be deleted.
[*]This thread is for discussing the film and its contents. The subject matter is contentious enough without branching out into collateral topics. This is not the thread for airing one's general views on Michael Moore or his prior works, nor should it be used to discourse about such topics as the upcoming November election, the worldviews of so-called "liberals" or "conservatives", or the controversy between Disney and Miramax over the film's release. Posts that do not focus on the film itself will be deleted.
[*]While we understand that the film is intended to elicit strong reactions, reasonable and mature people should be able to discuss the film -- and even disagree about it -- while still conducting themselves within the HTF rules. So use your best judgment, and think before you hit the "submit" button. If you find yourself becoming angry or agitated while composing a post, it's a good sign that the post shouldn't be submitted. Disagreement is fine; exercises in sarcasm and outrage are not, regardless of their target.
[*]The moderation of this thread will be more active than usual. We would very much like to be able to provide a platform for discussion of this film. To that end, we will not hesitate to delete posts that the HTF staff determines, in its sole discretion, to be excessively argumentative, contentious or provocative.
[*]Severe or repeated violations of these guidelines will result in removal of the offender.
[/list=1]
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


M.

COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 21 2004 - 01:37 AM

This thread is now designated the Official Review Thread for "FAHRENHEIT 9/11". All HTF member film reviews of "FAHRENHEIT 911" should be posted here.

Please post all other comments and discussion items to the Official Discussion Thread.

This thread and the Discussion thread are an experiment. We are interested in learning whether a film with such an overt political agenda can be discussed at all on the HTF, given our forum rules and posting guidelines. We will evaluate the experiment often and may terminate it at any time. The best chance for having the experiment continue is for all members to observe the following:

[c]Guidelines for Posting[/c][list=1][*]To post in this thread, you must have seen the film. If it appears from your post that you haven't seen the film, the post will be deleted.
[*]This thread is for discussing the film and its contents. The subject matter is contentious enough without branching out into collateral topics. This is not the thread for airing one's general views on Michael Moore or his prior works, nor should it be used to discourse about such topics as the upcoming November election, the worldviews of so-called "liberals" or "conservatives", or the controversy between Disney and Miramax over the film's release. Posts that do not focus on the film itself will be deleted.
[*]While we understand that the film is intended to elicit strong reactions, reasonable and mature people should be able to discuss the film -- and even disagree about it -- while still conducting themselves within the HTF rules. So use your best judgment, and think before you hit the "submit" button. If you find yourself becoming angry or agitated while composing a post, it's a good sign that the post shouldn't be submitted. Disagreement is fine; exercises in sarcasm and outrage are not, regardless of their target.
[*]The moderation of this thread will be more active than usual. We would very much like to be able to provide a platform for discussion of this film. To that end, we will not hesitate to delete posts that the HTF staff determines, in its sole discretion, to be excessively argumentative, contentious or provocative.
[*]Severe or repeated violations of these guidelines will result in removal of the offender.
[/list=1]
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


M.

COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Chris_Richard

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Posted June 25 2004 - 04:40 AM

I'll start it off.

I caught a screening of it last night. I enjoyed it as a film. Far more than Bowling for Columbine, a film I didn’t really like. I still don’t enjoy Michael Moore’s stunts when he puts himself to be the center of attention and was glad he keeps it too a minimum. The stunt at the end with the Senators was particularly jarring since it followed such a moving and personal section.

This section is with Lila Libscomb, also a native of Michigan, and is quite good. It is one of the most moving scenes I’ve seen in quite a while. It is the type of footage Moore has used in his films to add a personal touch and it works. He also lets Ms. Libscomb tell her story and realizes that this is what is needed without himself forcing any of the issues.

Moore still has problems when he is covering too broad a topic. The first part of the film is all over the map. The film seems too long and probably needed 10 to 15 minutes trimmed.

I don’t know how someone who disagrees with Moore will enjoy this film. I’m interested in hearing some thoughts. For the most part the facts seemed on level, at least more so than in his previous film. Only a few things bothered me or raised questionable red flags.

Finally, on this being an R film. He and Harvey should be blasted by even raising this point. During a song the MF word is repeated many times. An auto R by MPAA standards. And the footage of Iraqis hitting and hanging dead, burned serviceman is more graphic and disturbing than any I ever saw on television news.

Grade: B

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted June 25 2004 - 04:58 AM

OK, people, the above is the type of post we're asking for if this thread is to last. Chris presents an honest opinion, holds a moderately favorable opinion, and discusses the film's merits and faults as he sees them. Please try to follow his lead. Thanks.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   DeepakJR

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Posted June 25 2004 - 09:00 AM

Just got back from watching it. Overall I would say its a good film. Something I would easily reccomend to anybody pretty much. Like Chris, I think Moore tries to stuff too much information but yet still manages to pull it off nicely. Material covered seemed pretty good and it all fitted nicely besides a few nit-picks here and there. The movie seemed pretty fluent with the presented information in a good order.

4.5/5
Never Die!

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   MikeM

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Posted June 25 2004 - 09:07 AM

Let me give it a shot as well. I hope this fits with the guidelines of the thread.

First off, on the lightest note, for you tech fans, this film will NOT win any awards on video quality. It's taken from a ton of sources, mostly standard television recordings, and some from imbedded journalists using videophones, etc. However, the stuff shot by Moore's crew is obviously a different story, and looks excellent.

The sound was stunning! It could be that because the video feeds were so low in quality, it made me appreciate the audio quality even more, but wow, this film had some excellent surround mixing, especially for a "non-fiction" film like this.

Now for the film. If I had to rate it, I'd give it an A-

It's way more educational than Bowling for Columbine. Both share the same technique for the selling of fear, and how that has lead to where we are today. But Fahrenheit 9/11 is a lot less humorous, and rightfully so. In my opinion, this film is meant to sway opinion, rather than to simply make you think. However, even if you're in agreement with Moore on many issues, his style of filmmaking here, complete with him nodding in agreement with some of the interviewees, is a bit much.

That said, it does educate quite a bit, and the film is especially strong in highlighting the Saudi/Bin laden connection to the Bush family in all of this. Very interesting stuff.

As for the rating, the R-Rating is fair. It definitely shouldn't have been a PG-13 film in my opinion. There is a lot of wartime footage that is difficult to watch, and brutally honest. The rating system shouldn't make much of a difference at all in terms of who will ultimately see this film. Last time I checked, American Pie hit the theaters as an R-Rated movie, and probably every teen here has seen it.

Yes, this "education" from the film comes through the slant of Moore's agenda. However, rather than attacking the messenger, it's important to look into his claims, and discuss the facts. His film appears to be entirely factual in many of his claims, (usually based up with documents, etc.), the only problem is trying to distinguish the "art" of his editing, versus the truth.

It will be interesting to see the impact (if any) this film will have on the election. We'll have to wait and see...

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   mark alan

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Posted June 25 2004 - 02:50 PM

Quote:
film had some excellent surround mixing

Yea, I hate to sound like a home theater junkie, but the explosions in the film will sound really cool in the home theater.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   George See

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Posted June 26 2004 - 08:36 AM

I don't have much new to add in the way of a review, but I did want to say that if you have read "Dude Where's My country" don't expect any really new revelations. A lot of the material from this movie was already covered by Moore in that book.

That being said I found the film to be very entertaining and some of the scenes were definitly eye opening. The film I think would be enjoyed by any of the news junkies (you know who you are) out there regardless of your political beliefs, just because of the different angles and views of things you've already seen on the news.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave Hackman

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Posted June 26 2004 - 03:17 PM

This is the first movie I've seen with a police officer in front of the theater doors. That said I think this is the funniest movie I’ve seen all year. This movie is reminiscent to a power hour of Saturday Night Live skits with the real people playing themselves. The middle of the movie was too long and turned more serious with footage of injured soldiers. The end went back to comedy and ended with a bang. Posted Image A

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Edwin Pereyra

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Posted June 28 2004 - 04:35 AM

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 does a good job in presenting one side of a story but it is not quite the homerun some are expecting with its lack of hard, solid and damning facts and evidence. Compelling and insightful journalism it is not. As with any story, there are many sides to tell and here, we get the proverbial “glass that is half full”. There is very little new information presented here that has not been told before elsewhere. But what this film is about is a collection of material that hopefully provides as a starting point for some to seek other sources to validate an argument and ultimately becomes a catalyst for change.

I do welcome Moore’s film as he makes a passionate argument about President Bush’s bungled foreign policy in Iraq and the aftermath of 9/11. The first part of the film is scattershot but then it comes down to a sense of focus halfway through. I may not agree with everything that was presented but opposing arguments such as Moore’s are always welcome as it makes people discuss the issues and, hopefully, do their own research to arrive at an informed decision. This, I feel, is important especially in a country that is politically divided as we are now.

I never thought I’d say this but this polemic appears to come from a man who truly has his heart in the right place rather than just ramblings of a crazed lunatic. Having said that and because of the filmmaker’s past, it is also wise not to let one’s guard down as there is room for skepticism and criticism with the selective manner in which some of the material was presented.

In a summer full of loud, over hyped and disposable blockbuster wannabes, Fahrenheit 9/11 offers an alternative for some inquisitive discussion, timely conversation, investigative thought and important dialogue.

~Edwin

Note: Review updated on 6/29/04.
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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Seth Paxton

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Posted July 05 2004 - 06:37 AM

8 of 10
I already discussed most of my points in the discussion thread, and Edwin and Chris have touched on many of my other thoughts.

First, this is mostly just editing rather than traditional filmmaking. Second, this is hardline propoganda that doesn't even pretend to be otherwise right from the opening scene.

Moore does seem to be throwing in everything and the kitchen sink early on as others have said, and the idea that film with not just the cursing, the disgusting destruction of burned American bodies, but also the gory destroyed arm of a little girl and the complete showing of a gov't execution by sword beheading all put this film deep into the realm of R.

The fact that Moore argued this case only serves to validate that he is, in fact, more showman than journalist. I shudder to think of the shocking affect such raw footage would have on a child (heck, the opening of Ft. Apache, The Bronx shock me up for months as a 12 year old).

The edits are clever, the film can be funny, and Moore does tie footage together or edit footage in a way to sell his point well, although he does come on so strong that at times it is off-putting (really, what outcome did he really expect from confronting congressmen on the streets to sign their kids up for the military).

Moore has become a millionaire himself and it becomes increasingly difficult to watch his films and wonder if he truly holds himself to the same moral code as the people he condemns, especially when he is utilizing the same techniques as they do (which includes making money off the, gasp, common folks).

Many people will leave the film charged up, though hopefully more will leave as I, my wife, and apparently Edwin did thinking "Wait, did I really learn anything new here," as well as perhaps wondering just how much truth was used to present the opinion.

I also now have more interest in seeing a film like Control Room as an alternative, and from what I have heard about it I hope it doesn't get bulldoozed come Oscar Doc time by Moore's satire/propoganda. I prefer my docs to be more level-headed and honest, no matter what theory or stance they support.

This is just good satire, at times solid entertainment, and a compilation of very compelling footage from other sources. Footage of Bush learning of the attacks actually humanizes him and the situation in a powerful way, just footage of the destruction or war or abuse of dead American bodies evokes a powerful emotional reaction as well.

Had any of this been footage that Moore himself fought to shoot, risking life and limb to bring you the "truth", then I could respect the film as documentary more. But Moore is no Ernie Kovak and this is not Moore's account of things but rather his opinion formed on the footage and journalism done by others.

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted July 07 2004 - 02:21 AM

I watched this again as a part of a July 3, documentary triple-header. I posted this in the ‘Foreign and Independent Film’ thread, and it was removed as the moderators rightly wished to confine discussion on these films to specific threads. The other two films I watched were Control Room and Super Size Me and my comments on them are back in the thread where I first posted.


Michael Moore takes himself out of Fahrenheit 9/11 far more than in his other films. The second time through, I found myself really focusing on his arguments and I find them more ordered than his other films. Moore’s points (with which one may disagree) flow logically from much of the foundation he builds in the first part of the film. By now, I think that the extreme focus on each individual element by critics and apologists really misses the point. For example it makes no difference if one Congressman was not completely quoted, in that Moore did not include the fact that he had a nephew in the military on his way to Afghanistan—Moore’s point that our nation’s leadership is sending other people’s sons and daughters into harm’s way and has no interest in sending their own is well made.

Some points I thought were not well made—his stunt in driving around the capital reading the Patriot Act I thought detracted from his interview with John Conyers (D-Mich) and I would have preferred that he spent the ice cream bit on the rush to get the bill passed. Perhaps a minor quibble.

I still feel that Moore is a bit off-target in trying to make the Bush-Bin Laden connection so important. However important it is, I think a far better case could be made about US-Saudi interests overall—but perhaps that is just too big an issue to tackle and the point can be better addressed with a smaller focus.

For me, the bit of film with Bush keeping the appointment at the grade school, with the decision to go ahead and do this, instead of tending to business,. combined with the ‘deer in the headlights’ look for a few minutes, tells me more than I want to know about Bush’s crises management abilities.

The second place where Moore gets it just right is when he chooses one woman and one family to represent the personal tragedy of war and the question as to whether or not this war is one where such sacrifice is necessary is very powerful. I suppose that I’ll stop crying if I watch this portion enough times, but it was not this time, and likely won’t be the next.
¡Time is not my master!

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted July 10 2004 - 02:07 PM

Posted ImagePosted Image½ of four - recommended with reservations

I found the audience interaction with the film as interesting, if not more so, as the content of the film itself. There was a guy in the front row who seemed to think it was his job to laugh hard and loud at the slightest bit of humor as well as anything else that might be humorous, while blowing raspberries at every mention of the bin Ladin name/family and any republican on screen. The rest of the audience seemed to be led along nicely to the laughs and tearss Moore effectively manipulated--he's as gifted a filmmaker as they come when it comes to milking his material for it's maximum effect. In fact, I would hope this film gets a nomination for best editing from the big awards shows, because the editing was incredibly effect in achieving the goals of the film despite Moore's lack of a strong thesis--exceptionally well done work on that end!

On the other hand, the film succeeded in completely alienating me in the first 'act' of the movie. You know the funny bits that are meant to hook you into sticking around. It was so clear to me that while what Moore says may be factually true, what he's not doing is presenting the full picture. There's not even a suggestion that there are equally legitimate rationalizations that oppose his presentation. I don't like being told what to think, and that's what I felt Moore was doing--that he was manipulating me--and it made me so angry it completely killed any impulse to suggest this to my family.

Ultimately this film completely frustrated me. I didn't want to see a piece of propaganda, I wanted to think about the issues at hand, I wanted to consider a new thesis that incorporated all these issues Moore brings up (elite coterie of wealthy world rulers, globalization, terrorism, pre-emptive war, civillian deaths, soldier's deaths etc), but Moore doesn't ever try to find a new way to understand these things. Instead we get a collection of bad news spun to look its worst to enhance the polemic qualities of the anti-republican invective.

Amd to comment on the one thing that turned me off this movie instantly and almost irreversibly is Moore's focused attack on Bush's decision to stay in the classroom. Moore interprets this as a sign of weakness and stupidity, that Bush was helpless and dumbfounded and a fool.

Personally I think he's completely off base. Bush's reaction just after he hears of the extent of the attacks is made fun of, we're told what Moore wants us to believe Bush is thinking. Personally I deliberately looked to see the opposite of what Moore was slandering in Bush's reaction, and I think you can find that just as easily as Moore found what he wanted to believe. No one will ever know what went through Bush's mind at that point, and conjecturing about his thoughts is pointless, in my opinion. Could his actions have been more responsible, probably. He could have politely excused himself, but he didn't--maybe it was because he didn't know what to do, maybe it's because he needed to collect his thoughts, maybe he decided he needed to be strong and prevent distressing the children at all costs, but it amounts to a few unimportant minutes. No one's reaction to the 9/11 attacks should be derided, and if it were anyone else, it wouldn't be stood for, but the hatred of Bush is such that even this is acceptable.

I also really disliked the way we're supposed to think of Bush as false because we get to see the transistions between composing himself for the camera and what he is actually like. EVERYONE composes themselves for a camera, and showing him so extensively before the declaration of war was stupid and manipulative.

And of course we're supposed to hate and loath anyone with the name bin Ladin. this whole point (and what was the point?) frustrated me intensely.

That said, like Super Size me, Moore makes some good points, but they're ultimately lost in too much focus on the hook and the journey. I'll take away a few pieces of information I may use in debating these issues, but for the most part I felt as though this film people maybe should see, but one I would very carefully and cautiously recommend to some people and strongly discourage others from seeing. Because I know many republicans (mostly my family) who would see this film and only be galvinized even stronger in their position, its overt attempts to change their mind would only make them distrust everything in the film more thoroughly.
Adam
 

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted October 23 2004 - 02:58 PM

I agree with Seth, Edwin and Adam on many issues regarding this movie. Seth is absolutely right that this is straight down the line propaganda. The real shame of that is that Moore is dealing with some incredibly serious issues, but he uses what I consider to be almost infantile techniques. When he presents damning information, he does not let it stand on its own, but often feels the need to tell us all how we should feel about it. I was constantly conscious of how I felt like I was suddenly back in grade school with some adult thinking he had to spell out every little thing to me.

Moore did spend much less time focusing on himself than in his previous films, but personally I still think there is too much. I have to admit, I would prefer he not even narrate it. He did uncover and shoot some surprising footage. How on earth did those Marine recruiters get permission to do that segment? That was one of the more unsettling segments to me.

In the end, I was seriously disappointed in the film. The subject matter deserves and needs more serious treatment than it received here. Almost shocking issues, like comments made at the convention to rebuild Iraq, were virtually glossed over at the end of the film while seemingly more time was spent on a childish, animated segment about Afghanistan based on the title sequence from Bonanza. Moore constantly editorialized his own versions of the thoughts Bush might be having at various times. Probably worst of all were the many shots of Bush laughing after some incriminating bit of information about him was given. That is a childish trick and, I can't say it enough, this topic deserves better.

It has been said many times in this film's defense that documentaries always have a point of view, but there always needs to be a certain amount of journalistic integrity. Regardless of what Moore may try to claim at times, this movie is classified as a documentary and he touts it as that as much as he doesn't. While this is the movie he made and it has been wildly successful, for a documentary, I can't get past the knowledge that he diminished its impact with his less than professional practices, which is a terrible shame.

If I rated the seriousness and importance of the topic, and even Moore's ability to obtain and shoot some surprising footage, I would have to give this movie 5/5. As a documentary and what he did with that topic and footage, I would be hard pressed to give it more than 0.5/5. I guess that makes about 2.5/5.

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