"THE BIG ONE"
A Film By Michael Moore
Michael Moore is best known for a previous movie he did, "Roger
and Me." That film documented how GM plant closings had
devastated the town of Flint, Michigan.
One of movie-maker Moore's major assets is his sense of humor.
It comes in handy in "The Big One," his latest documentary
dealing with the agonies being suffered by American workers.
Moore shows how the "good economy" is not so good for millions of
Americans, yet softens the bitter news with a counter-balance of
laughter. With corporate profits at record levels, Moore hammers
on the point, "Why aren't most workers sharing in the economic
bonanza?" Moore goes even further: "Why are so many workers not
only not getting a piece of the pie, but are even being thrown
out of work -- 'downsized' -- at the same time corporate profits
The film's title, "The Big One," comes from Moore's jocular
suggestion that the United States ought to be renamed "The Big
One" and that our national anthem should be changed to the hit
song, "We Will Rock You." The film follows Moore as he travels
to various cities on a promotional tour for his book, "Downsize
This!" "The Big One" is at least equally entertaining as "Roger
and Me." But unlike in his previous film, which focused
primarily on Flint, Michigan, Moore's latest covers the late
1990s labor situation throughout the U.S. We see the employees of
the Payday candybar plant in Centralia, Illinois on their last
day at work. We see "top secret" footage from the Detroit
newspaper strike -- "top secret" insofar as the bitter labor
dispute was ignored by mainstream "news" outlets. We hear the
bitter voices of "downsized" workers, "rewarded" for their years
of work by seeing their jobs relocated to Mexico.
Moore opens the film by gibing at politicians who will take money
from anyone. He had set up misleading checking accounts for
non-existent groups like "Satanists for Bob Dole" and "Pedophiles
for Perot," then mailed $100 checks to the various candidates.
Would Bill Clinton's campaign cash a $100 contribution from "The
Hemp Growers of America"? It turns out, yes. Notwithstanding
the questionable source of funds, all four candidates tested by
Moore -- Dole, Clinton, Perot and Buchanan -- had no qualms about
accepting the money.
Moore manages to do what most on the so-called "left" are unable
to do: he connects hard with his audience in a practical way
rather than, as many "leftists," bore them to tears with endless
semantics. Moore keeps you laughing, even though the subject is
so dismal. His humor, like that of the late Lenny Bruce, has a
hard edge; there's nothing escapist about it. Moore, throughout
the film, delivers knock-out punches made palatable by humor.
In my town, "The Big One" was only being shown in an independent,
avant-garde theater. Why weren't the big corporate chains
carrying this film? After all, they are (supposedly) "in it for
the profit." The movie, "The Big One," a BBC production, is much
better than the pitiful "X-Files" movie -- yet X-Files was widely
distributed and "The Big One," at least in my town, like Joseph
and Mary, had to "sleep in the stable."
You say you're fed up watching lies on television? Then go out
tonight and treat yourself to a great antidote, "The Big One" --
if you can find somewhere that it's being shown.
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