I talked to Michael Moore earlier this year during the election primaries when it was looking very evident that Hillary Clinton was going to beat Bernie Sanders (whom Moore supported) to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. I asked Moore whether he would support her should she take the nomination.
He told me Clinton would have to convince him, along with other ardent Sanders proponents, that she deserved the support and that he would then "act accordingly."
It seems Moore is doing just that with the surprise film he premiered Tuesday night at New York City's IFC Center, "Michael Moore in TrumpLand."
The 75-minute film — which he put together on a spit and polish just 11 days ago and locked hours before it played Tuesday night — is a taping of a one-man show Moore did in a theater in conservative Wilmington, Ohio. In the show, he pleads his case for why you should vote for Hillary Clinton, even if you hate her.
Business Insider saw the movie Wednesday morning, and though it can get aggravating at times, especially if watching Moore do his shtick for over an hour isn't your thing, there are powerful moments.
The question now is whether "TrumpLand" will get into the hands of the undecideds for whom it was made.
Moore knows that if you already support Clinton or Trump, nothing about "locker-room talk" or WikiLeaks is likely to change your mind. But he wanted to address the movie to those who are still trying to decide whether they will go for one of the major candidates, vote third party, or refrain from voting altogether — and tell that group why Hillary isn't all that bad.
"TrumpLand" starts off with Moore's usual routine of bringing satire to politics. He's got a Mexican section in the audience blocked off by a fake wall and a Muslim section being monitored by a drone. It's to keep the Trump supporters in the audience "comfortable," he jokes.
This part of the movie falls flat and is rather boring to watch.
But there is a moment, about a half-hour in, when Moore changes tone and begins to read something he said he wrote the morning of the show, in which he makes the case for why Trump supporters are right to vote for him.
Jobs are going overseas, Obamacare isn't effective, basically the system sucks. But then Moore compares that to the hypothetical days and weeks after the election, if Trump is elected, and brings up how the UK feels now since it voted to leave the European Union. The promises made never happened, and everyone wants a do-over.
Moore acknowledges he's never been much of a Clinton supporter and has never voted for Hillary or her husband. And he never comes out to say he's going to vote for her in this election, but he does paint a picture for why Clinton deserves the White House more than Trump.
Among the reasons were her dedication to the welfare of children her whole life, her attempt as first lady to bring universal healthcare to the US, and just the flat-out abuse she's had to take over the years (whether as a woman working in a male-dominated world or dealing with her husband's infidelities). To address that, Moore also includes an excerpt from a commencement speech Hillary made at Wellesley College while a student in 1969 in which she speaks on the challenges of being a young woman with the hopes to have all the advantages of a man.
"TrumpLand" is far from Trump-bashing. Instead, it's Moore attempting to bring a likability to Clinton that it seems even her own campaign cannot manage to pull off.
Moore's efforts would fall on deaf ears if the movie played only in New York. Following the screening on Wednesday, Moore came onstage for a Q&A session and said the movie would also be shown in Los Angeles beginning on Wednesday along with other theaters around the country (the number is apparently still growing), and he hopes to have the movie available for streaming within 24 hours, though there have yet to be specifics on which providers will carry it.
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