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No More Moore! Onscreen Beefs With Michael Moore

No More Moore! Onscreen Beefs With Michael Moore (photo)

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According to the trailer of David Zucker’s new comedy, “An American Carol,” “America’s most infamous filmmaker — totally arrogant, completely clueless — [has] finally gone too far.” Of course, Zucker, a former liberal activist who became a “9/11 Republican,” is referring to Michael Moore, the inspiration for the central character in “An American Carol,” one Michael Malone (Kevin Farley), a filmmaker who’s visited by three Dickensian ghosts after he demands that July 4th be abolished (“I love America. That’s why it needs to be destroyed!”).

Zucker’s spoof is perhaps the most high-profile film to take on Moore, but it’s by no means the first. In fact, in the last four years, Moore’s work has inadvertently given birth to an entirely new strain of conservative filmmaking whose sole mission is to discredit him by taking issue with his documentary aesthetic, his politics, his personal success, even his physical appearance. Here are some notable examples:

“Michael Moore Hates America” (2004)
Directed by Michael Wilson
Made in Response to: “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004)

10072008_michaelmoorehatesamerica.jpgThe Beef: “Michael Moore has pissed me off,” intones Michael Wilson in the opening lines of the voiceover for his film. “This guy has painted a picture of my country as a place where nobody can succeed.” To counteract that picture, Wilson interviews experts on the documentary form (Albert Maysles) as well as people who aren’t pleased with how they were portrayed in Moore’s films, such as Peter Damon, an injured Iraq war veteran who took issue with the way Moore used recycled news footage of him to assert that veterans were being forgotten by the Bush administration. Wilson also tries repeatedly to secure an interview with Moore, à la Moore’s own attempts to speak with General Motors CEO Roger Smith in his film “Roger & Me.”

Does the filmmaker appear on camera? Yes, intentionally or not, wearing the same sort of ratty jeans and hoodie sweatshirts that Michael Moore wore in “Roger & Me.”

Does Michael Moore? Yes, via an impressive array of stock footage. Wilson unearths all kinds of embarrassing clips of Moore, including a particularly shortsighted one where Moore, circa 1992, declares that Bill Clinton has absolutely no chance of beating George Bush in an election. Wilson’s only direct contact with Moore comes right at the top of the film, when he takes the microphone during a Q&A at a Moore lecture, announces his film’s title and asks the filmmaker for an interview. Moore’s angry response — “Everything I do is because I love America! It’s people like YOU that hate America!” — cuts to a shot of Moore telling a British audience, “Americans are the dumbest people on the planet!” Wilson also includes several other pieces of television footage of Moore alternately bashing the making of “MMHA” or pretending he doesn’t know anything about it.

Targets Besides Michael Moore: Wilson himself — after an awkward interview with Joe Scarborough for MSNBC, he admits that he did “horrible.”

Strangest Moment: When Wilson claims that the impetus for this project came when he realized that Moore’s work was having a negative impact on his daughter. Wilson, a new father, believes that his daughter can become anything she wants to be. “But Michael Moore,” he says, “through his films and books, had told [my daughter] that she couldn’t.” But Wilson’s daughter, as seen in the film, is a newborn baby. Moore’s expanded the audience for documentaries, but he hasn’t tapped into the pre-teethers yet.

A Filmmaking Lesson: If you want to get an interview with somebody, don’t put his name in the title along with the phrase “Hates America.” Why is Wilson so surprised that Moore won’t speak to him when he himself is so embarrassed by the film’s title that he’s hesitant to even tell people what it is when he’s asked about it on camera?

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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