Pin It

DVD Review 

by Sheri Boggs

A good subtitle for Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine might have been "Fear and Loathing in America." Moore, the schlubby genius behind the now-classic documentary Roger & amp; Me and the highly entertaining television shows TV Nation and The Awful Truth, here asks the question "Are we a nation of gun nuts, or are we just nuts?" Using the April 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School as the thorny heart of a larger dialogue on gun control, Moore first seduces the audience with humor: The film's opening sequence shows Moore visiting a Michigan bank where you can not only get a gun -- but the gun of your choice -- simply by opening a checking account.

"Well, here's my first question," Moore muses, looking down the barrel of his new rifle. "Do you think it's kind of dangerous handing out guns at a bank?"

As hilarious as Moore's hijinks are -- and he's in rare form here -- they're nothing compared to his ability to develop a compelling argument, couched within the palatable medium of film. He juxtaposes the harrowing (security camera film taken from Columbine, archival footage of various U.S.-involved massacres and wars) with the entertaining (an animated segment by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, a "Corporate Cops" bit that originated on The Awful Truth). His filmmaking style is all setup and punch line, but what's remarkable with Moore is that he's actually going somewhere with it. He explores each of the "usual suspects" in our continuing dialogue about gun violence and asserts that the culprit is neither poverty, unemployment, violent movies, nor even Marilyn Manson, but rather a culture of fear and consumption that is further fueled by the media.

Extras on the DVD include a blow-by-blow account of his incendiary Oscar acceptance speech (the Academy Awards people refused to let him use the actual footage, so it's just Moore and his Oscar on the screen). There's also a lecture he gave at the University of Denver six months after the film's release, a segment of his Charlie Rose appearance, and, in typical "power to the people" style, a commentary by the film's underpaid interns.

Moore is the first to admit that he doesn't have all the answers. But the fact that he asks the questions at all, and so entertainingly, counts for a lot.

Publication date: 08/28/03

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Fault Line
  • Fault Line

    A member of the council's majority, Karen Stratton is facing a challenger backed by Mayor David Condon
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Dollars and Cents
  • Dollars and Cents

    Why poor people are imprisoned in Benton County; plus, Congress lets a major conservation fund to expire
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Between the Numbers
  • Between the Numbers

    How a debate over adding two more commissioners turned political and personal
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
SpoYo Spokane Youth Book Festival

SpoYo Spokane Youth Book Festival @ Bing Crosby Theater

Sat., Oct. 10, 7 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 2005
  • Pictures of an Expedition

    First things first. Author Claire Rudolf Murphy has it on good authority that "Sacajawea" is pronounced the way we've always done it here in the Inland Northwest. Soft "j" sound, accents on the first and fourth syllables. Of course now, his
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • Hick Chicks' Slick Picks

    If you were to ask the Farm Chicks (aka Teri Edwards and Serena Thompson) what the sweet smell of success might smell like, they'd probably answer, in unison, "Peony." The two friends, who'd previously made a name for themselves with their
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Fall Out Boys

    Mayor David Condon and Chief Frank Straub have parted ways. What that means for the SPD and next month's mayoral election
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • The Price of Freedom

    Poor people — some innocent — will languish behind bars before they're convicted. Time inside can cost them jobs, homes and children
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation