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Discussion in 'Movies' started by MatS, Nov 4, 2005.
http://www.walmartmovie.com/ anyone see it yet?
I'm looking forward to seeing it in the coming weeks. Mr. Greenwald seems to throw these things together too quickly, though. The trailer on the site plays like a first rough cut. I hope his points aren't all anecdotal.
I pre-ordered my DVD about a month ago, and it's supposed to ship this week. I'm very much looking forward to it. I hope that his points are all accurate, and that no loop-holes have been left open for Wal-Mart to counter-attack. Personally, I cannot stand Wal-Mart and have not shopped there for nearly ten years, but going in to details would probably only get this thread locked, so I will stop.
I enjoyed Outfoxed, and if the price is right, I will check out this documentary. I am a Wal-Mart shopper, but it never hurts to know... Ryan
I was quite surprised to see that Ebert and Roeper reviewed the film on their show over the weekend. They gave it a unanimous thumbs up. Hopefully, this will raise awareness to the film for people who would have otherwise not known of it's existence. My copy supposedly shipped early last week, but has not yet arrived.
Let's discuss the film itself, everyone. In other words, how well does it make its case, how well is the film directed/edited, etc. Personal politics will not be allowed in the thread. Thanks, all.
Watched it this morning. The film does a good job of presenting those who worked previously at walmart in testimonials, etc. And it makes a passable effort at making it's case. I guess the biggest problem I had with the film is one that Ebert & Roeper touched on.. it leaves most of the "big elephants" out of the picture and doesn't address them. Sears & Roebuck, Montomgery Ward & JC Penney put hundreds of small shops out of business with the catalog/mail order enterprise in the early part of the century. And one of the things I was looking for in this film is an evaluation -like that-. That is, to address the "why". Why does Walmart succeed and continue to grow? It's obviously because it attracts customers and continues to hire employees. The movie spends basically no time talking to consumers as to the "why" question and it doesn't address why people continually seek jobs at walmart. Those big questions being left out made this film a very long 'opinion' piece, which I found dissapointing. Yes, all documentaries have a slant, but I always find it important that a documentary follow somewhat of the journalistic creed: who, what, where, when, why, how. The movie never addresses so many key questions with any attempt at an answer that, while interesting it the way it makes it's case, it doesn't do so in a manner that really "fleshes out" For people who really dislike walmart, etc. This film will be a great film to bash their hiring practices, etc. And it will be an eye opener for those on the fence, as well. But because it fails to answer those questions, as a documentary, it's not very compelling. As long as the elephant in the room is never even discussed, the film just lays there ;(
Is this even possible for any of the Michael Moore-type expose documentaries? Truths in documentaries are as non-existant as they are in life. It's a point of view with selected evidence at best. I heard nothing in the Ebert and Roeper review that surprised me about Wal-Mart. Of course the same could be said about ANY major retailer. Upon hearing Wal-Mart caused local businesses to close or hearing they operated on minimal staffing, my reaction wasn't shock. It was more "Duh!"
I haven't seen the documentary, so I'm not commenting on it, but I wonder how many Wal-Mart customers know about its business practices, or care. In smaller towns, the Wal-Mart is often the only store where you can buy groceries, clothes, etc.
I wouldn't mind seeing this online but its nothing to buy. It seems like an anti-capitalist venture. I could be wrong.
Please don't bring Michael Moore into this. It sounds like you haven't even seen the film so making comparisons is not fair. If you like Wal-Mart, more power to you, but at least present some evidence as to why this movie is wrong. I just hope that more people see this film to at least open their eyes. Granted it is one-sided, but what other source is their to see this side. Before this movie all of the press was one-sided the other way, so now it's "Fair and Balanced"
Ah Wal-Mart the Big Bad. I haven't seen the documentary so I won't comment on it, but I will comment on the industry a little itself, from my perspective. I think that there are a lot more people than most think that know how the company acts and operates and tries to drive out the little places. Heck even South Park made fun of Wal-Mart. If you don't shop there, great, if you do, great. But if you don't shop at Wal-Mart where do you shop? You will have to encounter a big store at some point. Be Best Buy, Sears, K-mart (to some degree), FYE, Sam Goody, Amazon, heck even Christian Book Shop (CBD) and the list goes on. They all probably have similar tactics. K-Mart can't be paying their customer very much or are at some point holding the employees jobs over their heads. I doubt just because of the bankrupcy either. I'm not saying any of this is good, but what I am saying is that it's nearly common practice these days, treat the employees like crap + show the customers how "great" you are = Profit. As for the duh statement this movie seems to give people even Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" was a "duh" movie, but it's still a hit, because it's "hard hitting" and "states the truth". This doc sounds interesting I'm intrigued to see it now, if anything just to see how it plays up everything. Anyone else have reviews of this?
I'm going to see it tomorrow night at one of the community screenings (which is how I'm assuming the rest of you are). Interestingly enough, in the pretty liberal, college town where I live there are a number of screenings to choose from (about half of which have capacity for about 100-150). I was thinking my parents might want to see a showing where they live (a more conservative town), and the search turned up only a few places with capacity for no more than 20 people! At this stage it seems like alot of this is going to be preaching to the choir. I do shop at other big stores like Target and Costco and Best Buy. Costco I feel the best about spending money at, knowing they treat their employees well. I'm sure Wal-Mart is not the first or only business to do what it does, but to quote Uncle Ben, "With great power comes great responsibility."
Ultimately it's not WalMart that takes business away from other companies; it's American consumers. THEY choose their priorities. I've had this conversation with my mother. "Yeah, these people complain about working conditions. That's THEIR problem. I like the low prices". Don't expect consistency from people, as in "don't shop at Walmart for the good of all, but shut the hell up about the 'good of all' when it comes to tariffs, trade restrictions, benefit raises, or subsidies that benefit ME". One review I've read of the film says it lacks the filmmaking craft and sense of humor of Moore films.
To reiterate what my colleague Jack Briggs said above: It should be obvious (but apparently it isn't) that you can't discuss the film in any meaningful way if you haven't seen it. This thread is not a venue for a general assessment of the retail industry or any particular institution. Discussion must be anchored by the presentation in the film. From this point on, posts that do not follow this guideline will be deleted without notice. Thanks for your cooperation. M.