Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with “Michael Moore in TrumpLand”

Michael Moore
There’s something really cool about a filmmaker dropping their new work as a surprise, out of the blue like something a musician might do with a new album. Right in the middle of last week, I got to see the new Michael Moore movie, which had literally just been completed the morning before. A one man show as much as a documentary, Michael Moore in TrumpLand is a real interesting bit of cinema. You might think it would be a Fahrenheit 9/11 style takedown of Donald Trump, but it’s not really that. If anything, it’s closer to a case being made for Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. Coming from Moore, who has never been a supporter, it takes an unusual path too. This is something well worth seeing, especially if you like Moore. Even if you don’t, you should give this a chance.

Again, the film is not quite a documentary in the purest sense of the word, but something closer to a one man show. Taking the stage of a theater in a small Ohio Town, Michael Moore more or less does a TED Talk style presentation, meant to move undecided or leaning Trump/third party voters to support Clinton in the upcoming election. He does this by looking at why voters might pick Trump, what he would be like as President, and finally who Clinton actually is and what she brings to the table. It’s all done with Moore’s usual mix of comedy and righteousness. A lot of how you might respond to this will depend on how you feel about Moore. As the writer, director, and star, it’s really his show, through and through.

Here, Moore is attempting to make the case across the aisle. This is a bit different than his normal modus operandi with his docs. I appreciate both methods, but this is meant to be slightly bipartisan. It’ll find a small audience, though awards will be harder to come by. Frankly, I doubt this will wind up an Academy Award nominee in Best Documentary Feature, though it is currently getting an Oscar qualifying run last/this week. Regardless of that, though, Moore has bigger fish to fry. Would he love to be nominated again, this time for Michael Moore in TrumpLand? Sure. Would he rather make sure we have a President Clinton as opposed to a President Trump? Without question. That goes without saying. It’ll be impossible to know what kind of an impact this will have on the race, but Moore clearly wants to leave nothing to chance.

Here is how I would rank Moore’s various films, both documentary and narrative, to date, updated with this brand spanking new one of his:

1. Sicko
2. Capitalism: A Love Story
3. Where to Invade Next
4. Bowling for Columbine
5. Fahrenheit 9/11
6. Michael Moore in TrumpLand
7. Roger and Me
8. The Big One
9. Canadian Bacon
10. Slacker Uprising

(Special Note: 1-4 are basically in a tie for first place. Just wanted to mention that)

Basically, this surprise new flick brings Moore back to the heat of an election during its closing days. At least to me, this is a very good thing. I quite enjoyed it, both as Moore being Moore and also as a different look at the candidates in this very nasty yet incredibly important election. I wouldn’t tell you how to vote, but I suspect everyone has already made up their minds. If there’s somehow an undecided voter or two left though, this is something to show them immediately. It’s worth checking out for everyone though, as it’s an interesting different step for Moore. I can’t wait to see what he does next…

Be sure to check out Michael Moore in TrumpLand, now playing in limited release until October 25th and available on iTunes as well!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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