Dubby’s dvdiscussion: More of Moore


The Big One was done before Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling For Columbine, and in The Big One Moore takes on corporate America. Actually all of Mr Moore’s movies have barbed comments on big corporations since we all became aware of that old cliché, The Business of America Is Business. In effect Moore is telling us you can’t go anywhere in America without hitting a wall of corporations.

For example in The Big One, Moore goes for America’s jugular while on tour with Random House to promote his book Downsize This which is about corporations moving their factories to manufacture goods in Mexico or Asia. That he does this using Random House’s tour for his book Downsize This is not fair because Random House is in-fact a literally corporation.

Moore has a bear-like presence, difficult to miss as he shambles across your screen downsizing anyone he happens to be interviewing.

Unfortunately his take on lay-offs on all that ails American business is too simple and Moore comes off as naïve and simple minded but his mixture of stand-up comedy, political commentary, CEO confrontations are brazen and intensely funny according to reviewer Erik Macki and one tends to agree with that particular point of view.

There is always a sense of romance in watching one man take on the President of United States (Fahrenheit 9/11) or all the big guns of The Big One.

Says Joe Leydon, “While on tour, Moore finds newly fired workers (and, in some cases, hopeful union organisers) who are more than willing to complain about being left high and dry by the ‘90s version of trickle-down economics. Employees at a Payday candy factory in Centralia, Ill., are understandably upset by the prospect of being laid off for being ‘too productive’. (To sustain their high profits, Payday executives plan to open a new plant outside the United States, where wages are lower.) Moore hammers home the absurdity of the situation by getting a Payday spokeswoman to more or less admit that, had the workers been less productive, the factory would remain open a little longer.

The shifting of US jobs to Mexico and Asia is a recurring theme throughout The Big One. (The title, incidentally, is Moore’s proposed name change for the US.) Company reps claim the cutbacks are needed if they want to remain ‘competitive’. Moore is sceptical: ‘If it’s just about making a profit,’ he wonders aloud at one point, ‘why doesn’t General Motors sell crack?’

On a technical level, The Big One is, perhaps inevitably, only adequate. Most of the pic was shot by video-camera operators on the run — and sometimes on the sly.”

Adds MP Bartley, “It’s easy to understand why Moore pisses some people off. Yes, he’s a rampant egotist more than eager to thrust his face in where it’s not wanted. But when a woman in tears arrives at his signing, having just been laid off and thanks him for turning up, you can’t deny him his pleasure at being the fly in the corporate ointment. And yes, challenging the owner of Nike to an arm-wrestle to see if he’ll open up a factory in America may be in bad taste, but who’s sicker? Moore for the challenge or the Nike owner for refusing to believe that American’s want jobs?

“The Big One may not be the cleverest film that Moore has ever done, but it’s certainly one of his most persuasive. And ultimately Moore is fighting for the little unheard guy that no-one else gives a voice to, who can deny him his right?”