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Here Comes Trouble by Michael Moore
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Jan 25, 2012

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Read in June, 2011

I’ve seen many of Michael Moore’s documentaries, but I realized when starting to read his auto-biography “Here Comes Trouble” that I knew very little about the man himself, other than a vague knowledge of his political stances.

Well, there was that one time at the Toronto International Film Festival when I was attending the Borat Premiere (The Book Guy is also a movie guy). The projector broke down just as the film was a few minutes in. Larry Charles and Sascha Baron Cohen took to the stage and Sascha was really funny (at the time he was still promoting the movie and in full Borat costume and mustache). Borat said from the pulpit something about Canadian projector technology being very similar to that of Khazakstan. Then I noticed a big guy with an entourage had arrived at the balcony where I was seated and was heading for the projector room, passing by my seat. It was Michael Moore. The man had gone all the way up to the projector room with his entourage (who through reading this book I realize now must have been ex-special forces security guards) and was trying his darndest to fix the damn thing. Unfortunately a part had broken and Michael was unable to save the day, but the very fact that he tried made him okay in my books. That’s all I knew about Michael Moore really before reading his auto-biography.

To be honest, I was not expecting an entertaining read. Boy was I wrong.

Early on in the book, he discusses his appearance at the Academy Awards on March 23, 2003. Four nights earlier George W Bush had taken America into a war with Iraq. That night, Michael Moore won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. He had asked all the best documentary nominees to join him on stage if he won, and most of them did. As he took his statue he gave his now infamous speech:

" I’ve invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us. They are here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction, yet we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have ficticious election results that elect a ficticious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for ficticious reasons. Whether it’s the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts; we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you! And anytime you’ve got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up! Thank you very much!
I rememberd this Academy Awards and how quickly Michael Moore was booed off the stage. Michael goes on to tell about the security nightmare he suffered after this. I was amazed at the lengths people went to annoy him, to try to kill him and in a few cases attempt to blow up his house with him and his family in it. The media fueled the fire even more, some saying openly (like Glenn Beck did) that they wanted Michael Moore dead. The tales of his ex-special forces guards, his encounters with the public are a fascinating glimpse into a time when people still thought the Iraq War was going to last a few weeks, when people still thought the Iraq war was justified and when people still thought Michael Moore was wrong to say what he did at the Academy Awards. All that would change in years to come, but it was very interesting to get a glimpse into the life of Michael Moore for a few years after he made that speech."

Worse than the public’s reaction to his Academy Award speech was the reaction of the mainstream media and the corporations who own it. Disney Corporation went as far as to try to stop the release of his next film, Farenheit 911, which they failed to do. If nothing, this Michael Moore guy is persistent.

I found the auto-biography to be a little bit too preachy. Some of the chapters in this book could be renamed “The Story of Why Discriminating Against Homosexuals Is Bad”, “The Story of Why Discriminating Against Black People Is Bad”, “The Story Of How I Was Right When I Gave My Academy Award Speech”, “The Story of Why Abortions Should Be Legal” etc. It seems he may have thrown everything into this auto-biography plus the kitchen sink in order to flesh out his views on life. Some of the stories just seem like fables, to the point where I began to doubt they were actual events in his life. Regardless, the fable-like stories sprinkled throughout the book are entertaining, including his tale of protesting Reagan’s visit to a Nazi cemetery to lay a wreath and his phone conversation with John Lennon.

There was a time when people thought Michael Moore was absolutely nuts. Like when his newspaper chronicled how General Motors had used Government tax money to help it move jobs to Mexico. How General Motors had disassembled an entire assembly line and loaded it onto a train to be later shipped to China. “what on Earth would China do with an automobile assembly line? Michael Moore is NUTS!”. Those people don’t think of him as “crazy” any more.

The book ends with his telling of what drove him to documentary film making, and it’s quite the tale.

Think what you will of Michael Moore, this book which covers his life up until the opening of night of “Roger and Me”, his first film, is a very entertaining read. The timeline is perfect, as everyone knows a bit about Michael Moore the filmmaker. This book is truly his story up until that first movie hit the silver screen.

Kevin Rafferty, one of the cinematographers on the film’s mom is Barbara Bush’s sister. The Bush family requested a copy of “Roger and Me” to watch at a family gathering at Camp David. As George Bush junior sat in the group laughing his head off, I’m sure one of the people in the room, though admiring their cousin Kevin’s camera work must have been thinking to themselves about Michael Moore: Here Comes Trouble.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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BookGuys Sklerch wrote: "Thank you so much for your review - I would never have considered reading it before, but now I think I will!"

It really was a fun read.

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