Dec 26, 2016

[Movies] Michael Moore in Trumpland

Around the time of the US Elections this year, iFlix added Michael Moore in Trumpland to its library or at least started heavily promoting it as an iFlix-exclusive. Michael Moore documentaries have been a bit of a mixed bag for me and I wasn't exactly excited to see what this was all about. However with Trump's victory as President, the material seemed potentially more relevant.

While I generally lean liberal in terms of political thinking, there has always been something weirdly off putting about his approach to pushing his agenda. He had been a long-time critic of the Bush Administration and it looks like he's more than ready to hound the incoming Trump administration next year.

But what was quirky about this feature was that it wasn't a typical Moore documentary. Or to be more clear, it's not even a documentary. It's a recording of a Michael Moore show of sorts, which is basically him talking to a bunch of people for a set period of time. There's some creative videos in the middle that were made to stress certain points, but for the most part it's just Moore talking to a theater full of people. Take that as you will.

Synopsis: Michael Moore in Trumpland is a one-man show by Michael Moore hosted in the pro-Trump territory of Clinton County, Ohio. Like many other Moore projects, the produced, wrote, and directed the production.

The movie was mostly recorded  as live as Moore tries to address a mixed audience of various political inclinations to discuss the then upcoming US presidential election. He speaks to them about the present state of things and the impact of partisan politics  on the state of affairs in America. He talks about the pros and cons of Clinton and the pros and cons of Trump but of course he has a lot more to complain about when it comes to Trump.

What I Liked: When he's not totally exaggerating things, Moore has some pretty relevant insights to share and we're all the better for hearing it I'm sure. I particularly liked the bit about saying something nice about both candidates regardless of your political inclinations.

He also tried to be creative in illustrating what might happen under a Trump presidency including having all the Hispanics clustered in one area and he literally cordons them off with a plywood wall. He also has a drone flying around the theater to act as additional surveillance for everyone. They're all silly little gimmicks but they were rather fun for a time.

What Could Have Been Better: I still wonder if this would have been better as a documentary instead of stage show since Moore is not the most pleasing speaker to listen to for an extended period of time. The little gimmicks and videos were a bit of a nice break but also a little distracting since they often felt seriously distinct bordering on distracting.

The show is also largely a Moore ramble and so there's not definite structure to things. We go from one topic to the next where at times he speaks freely and other times he's reading from his notes at length. It gets more and more annoying over time since things remain highly disjoint and not well-structured.

TL;DR: Michael Moore in Trimpland is a decent enough effort to try to make a point in the pre-election lead up to what became the Trump victory. Moore may not have been the most ideal speaker to "lead the charge" as it were but his heart was in the right place. And so the movie gets 2.5 little rambles about this or that subject out of a possible 5.


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