Release Date: Sept. 23
Director: Michael Moore
Writer: Michael Moore
Cinematographer: Kristen Johnson, Bernardo Loyola
Starring: Michael Moore
Studio/Run Time: Touchstone Pictures, 102 mins.
After his series of shrill but powerful political films, Michael Moore’s Sicko was his most mature effort. While it lacked some of the theatricality and humor of his other films, it was tempered with a level of heart often missing since his 1989 debut Roger & Me. Moore will probably always have his detractors, but if he’d stayed that course we might have had an interesting new take on the upcoming election and a few changed minds to boot. Instead, Slacker Uprising finds Moore verging dangerously close to self-parody and doing his best to prove that his ego is the only thing bigger than the controversy that often surrounds his films.
Slacker Uprising follows Moore’s 2004 get-out-the-vote style tour. In this way, the film falls closest to The Big One, with the purpose of showing us just how great Moore is at lectures and who he can get to speak or perform in various states. Many of these personalities are singers, including Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello and Joan Baez. This lends the film an odd pseudo-concert feel that doesn’t mesh well with what else is going on, but does provide some of its most entertaining moments. To give the film some pathos, Moore records the efforts to stop his tour, some of which succeed. Sprinkle in some press conferences and sound bites where Moore unsurprisingly comes out looking brilliant, add a dash of words from the crowds on how great or awful Moore is, and that’s pretty much it.
Few scenes do anything but stress the importance of the tour and Moore himself, completely eclipsing any sort of issues or politics that the 2004 campaign addressed. The tour is the slacker uprising the title speaks of (though the title is better than the previous edit’s mind-boggling Captain Mike Across America), with Moore purportedly the savior who brings them to vote. But the thing is, he didn't. Or at least he didn’t in sufficient enough numbers to have his desired affect on the country. Regardless, Slacker Uprising feels more like a commercial for its maker than any sort of artistic endeavor, and because of the election’s outcome, its release is more than a little baffling. Perhaps Moore's point is to convince voters to stand up and be heard in 2008, but given his failed mission here, it’s impossible to miss the irony.
Watch the trailer for Slacker Uprising: