Toronto Film Festival: Moore’s Capitalism Will Infuriate Wingnuts Because It’s Accurate.

capitalism-love-story-450x300Michael Moore has a gift for hanging on to two things that people easily lose in times of crisis: Perspective and a sense of humor.

In 1989, American workers were reeling from Reaganomics that enriched the wealthy, undermined the middle class and spewed outright contempt for the poor. That was when Moore arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with Roger & Me tucked under his arm, Moore’s directorial debut which used humor like a weapon of mass distribution. He won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF and went on to become America’s foremost agent provocateur with Bowling for ColumbineFahrenheit 9/11, Slackers and Sicko.

At the 20th anniversary of his debut the gap between rich and poor is only widening. Every day brings fresh news of layoffs, foreclosures and financial scandal. The desperate conditions in the Flint, Michigan of Roger & Me now cross America, hitting every color collar in the middle class – blue, white, green, polka dot. Back in ‘89, Moore’s target was GM. This year, it’s the whole system. And he hasn’t lost either his wit or his jaundiced view of what’s wrong in the United States, nor the ability to drive the right totally apeshit.

In Capitalism: A Love Story, which premiered Sunday night at TIFF, Moore is at the top of his game. He’s come far in the last 20 years. Moore’s new doc was slotted at 9 p.m. on the first Sunday of the festival in a prime venue, a time and location typically reserved for high-concept blockbusters starring George Clooney or Jodi Foster. When he brought Roger & Me toToronto in 1989, it was shown on a midweek morning at a small, remote, dirty theatre that smelled of stale popcorn oil and urine, and not easily reached by car, public transit or moose.

His newest film explores a taboo question that will make the right wing go apeshit yet again: What price does America pay for its love of capitalism?

When I was a kid, that love seemed so innocent.

Capitalism meant job security, a home and big yard in the suburbs paid for with one salary, a shiny new car in the drive, decent health care benefits and a reasonable but secure pension at retirement. Now, as financial institutions run amok and families lose their savings, the American dream is more of a nightmare. Moore takes us into the lives of ordinary people whose worlds were turned upside down by the economy before looking for explanations in Washington, Wall Street and around the nation. He pays particular attention to the 2008 bank bailout during the waning days of the Bush administration. Was this really the best hope for America, or just another money grab by the wealthiest in our nation?

In a film filled with countless memorable moments, one that is in my mind is when Moore stands before the AIG building in lower Manhattan, bullhorn in hand to announce he’s come to make a citizen arrest of the entire AIG board of directors.

The audience at the special screening I attended howled and applauded at the scene and, in fact, as the credits rolled the picture was greeted with an admiring, loud and sustained ovation.

Moore has a knack for finding fresh angles on familiar headlines. Even with the excesses of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Malkin and Bachman, he has the ability to shock. But for all the harsh realities that he uncovers, his films still empower audiences. By drawing communities together in theatres, he reminds us that there is strength in our numbers.

But perhaps best of all, Capitalism: A Love Story will infuriate bloviators on the right like Glenn “Crazy Horse” Beck, Lou “I’m Always Right And You’re Always Wrong” Dobbs, Rush “Fatty Arbuckel” Limbaugh, Bill “Liar” O’Reilly, and both Michelle’s – “I Am The Lunatic Fringe” Malkin and “Never Think Before Speaking” Bachman, because it is an accurate portrayal of how far wrong America has gone.

Capitalism: A Love Story – Credits:


Executive Producers: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein 
Michael Moore, Anne Moore 
Written By:
Michael Moore 
Dan Marracino, Jayme Roy 
John Walter, Conor O’Neill, Alex Meillier, Tanya Ager Meillier, Jessica Brunetto 
Francisco LaTorre, Mark Roy, Hillary Stewart 
Jeff Gibbs

Charley James
The Progressive Curmudgeon


  1. sharonsj says

    The government forced businesses to take risks? Are you crazy? What the investment banks did was to invent new financial instruments and then to get around regulations by calling them by a different name. And it all started with greed and fraud. First the banks gave out tons of inappropriate mortgages based on elevated appraisals they encouraged. Then they bundled the mortgages together and cut them into pieces and sold them like stocks and bonds. The bond rating companies engaged in fraud by rating these things as Triple A while admitting the stuff was so complicated that rating them was impossible. The CEOs of these banks didn’t even understand how the mathematicians came up with these instruments but didn’t care as long as they made money every time these things changed hands. Then the banks went to the SEC and asked for permission to leverage themselves 37 to one, meaning they could sell $37 worth of these things for every $1 of actual value. The SEC didn’t force the banks to do anything, just gave them permission. So when you get people to buy $37 trillion of these mortgages when the bank only has a trillion in the vault (and probably lied about that too), and when that trillion tanks because the economy tanks and people can’t pay the mortgage, everyone gets screwed. As for the government, state attorneys general were getting ready to go after the banks but the BUSH administration stopped them in court. That’s because Bush’s constituents were the have and the have-mores! Right now the only blame you can place on government is that they haven’t put these people in jail.

  2. WhatPlanetAreYouOn says

    The government helped cause the problem by attempting to force, via regulations, businesses to take risks that they would otherwise not take (qouta on number of loans to low income families) and when those risks materialized our very own government attacked the regulators that were sounding the alarm.

    Then the problem was ignored by our government as businesses attempted to get rid of the risk (by selling them to AIG for example).

    And now our government thinks we should take money we don’t have and give it to businesses (for a stake in the company) and to individuals (CARS) thinking that it will make things better.

    Mr. Moore needs to add a segment where he asks for the money from the people who signed the loan they couldn’t afford, the legislators who attempted to force anti-capitalistic goverment regulation into our economy then ignored the outcome until it was too late, and the voters who elected more of the same last November.

    “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

  3. says

    Do you want to know just “how far wrong America has gone”?

    The problem is with infuriated bloviators on the right AND on the left, who are the unwitting pawns of the upper 1% plutocracy and their multinational corporations.

    Bloviators severe to polarize and divide WE THE PEOPLE over petty little social issues like God, guns and gays, so that big business can conquer us and take all of our money.

    It doesn’t matter which political party controls Congress, or the White House, just so long as they can be bribed, legally of course, by the K Street lobbyist pimps.

    Oh those Congressional whores. They are the ugliest whores I have ever seen in my life!

  4. Chris Papadopoulos says

    Why are things like the bank bailout (which free-market people were against) conflated with capitalism?
    .-= Chris Papadopoulos´s last blog ..Spice up your Rails app with regular expressions =-.

  5. Gene says

    Capitalism pays big time, but it must be regulated because capitalism is amoral. This is what the Europeans have figured out and we haven’t. All those European countries that the demented right loves to call socialist are, in fact, capitalist all the way. The difference is that they have consumer, employee, and citizen protection laws.

  6. david says

    That sounds like an absolutely worthless movie. yr favorite part was when moore goes outside of AIG and demands a citizen’s arrest? sounds. like. the. worst. waste. of. time. ever.

    sad, too because people like me would probably agree with a movie that makes a true argument about the limitations of capitalism…

  7. Gwazdos says

    You worried about Terrorist in another country, we have then right here in our Southern States where nut cakes like Joe Wilson is now considered a HERO for his party and screw America his motto, The Repubs need the funds to keep being re-elected, there are NO MEN OF HONOR with these people, they are the terrorist right here in the USA, so go buy a gun and defend yourself from these nut cakes. Names Like Glenn “wacko” Beck, Rush “drug man” Limbaugh, Michelle Milkin and real mental mess makeing tons of money, Michelle Bachman a US Senator, she needs to be in a Republican mental hospital, Bill “Liar” O’Reilly, these also are the terrorist that only work to destroy our country not be of help with all the mess Bush and the Real President Nut Cake Cheney left behind. These are the people you should be tar and feathering!

    • Another Jill says

      In case you didn’t know, Moore made both Capitalism: A Love Story & Sicko available for free download when the DVDs became available, and I’m almost sure there were free showings all over the US when it was first released. It’s clear his primary motive is to reach people with these movies, not make a killing at the box office.

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