Michael Moore Tries to Attack Trump

Failing documentarian pops up with 'TrumpLand' in a highly calculated, pre-election move

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 19 Oct 2016 at 9:46 AM

The controversial Michael Moore has an October surprise for everyone. The filmmaker has set his sights on none other than Republican nominee Donald Trump with the just-announced film, “Michael Moore in TrumpLand,” a “surprise” last-minute release, just weeks before the presidential election.

Moore once obtained the success other documentary filmmakers didn't dare dream of. His 2004 film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," earned more than $100 million domestically and remains the top-grossing documentary of all time.

Since then, Moore has been plagued with charges of hypocrisy and deceptive filmmaking tactics.

He has also landed in hot water over his opinions toward soldiers and lawful gun owners. Around the time of release for Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper," which depicted the life of late Navy Seal Chris Kyle, Moore tweeted, "Snipers aren't heroes." He also said they were "cowards."

He said gun ownership "cuts down to the heart of our race problem that we still haven't resolved."

Since the success of "Fahrenheit 9/11," Moore has become a shadow of his previous triumphs in documentary filmmaking. His last release, "Where to Invade Next" — which came out earlier this year — examined perceived shortcomings in America compared to other countries and earned less than $4 million. Compare that to the more than $13 million Dinesh D'Souza's Hillary Clinton takedown, "Hillary's America," made and it becomes rather obvious Moore is not the cultural force he once was. Nor are his politics.

Moore's new film and its last-minute announcement seem an obvious attempt by the director to get back into the good graces of liberal viewers by taking on a popular target: Trump. Moore is self-distributing his movie through iTunes and various theaters in New York and Los Angeles. It made its debut Tuesday night at the IFC Center in New York.

The director has long railed against Trump during his campaign and even claimed the real estate mogul had no intention of actually winning the presidency. Even though Moore is a critic of Trump he clearly wants a ride on the Trump media train — although one of the biggest surprises is that the new movie is almost more about Hillary and mostly about urging people to vote. During the Democratic primary, Moore, an avowed Bernie Sanders supporter, was tough on her, branding her "Wall Street's paid candidate."

His surprise announcement and quick release of "TrumpLand" is a way for Moore to try to ride the high waves of media and press attention Trump is receiving, both positive and negative. "TrumpLand" is an attempt by the filmmaker to be relevant again.

The film's synopsis makes Moore out to be the rebellious filmmaker he most certainly is not: "See the film Ohio Republicans tried to shut down. Oscar winner Michael Moore dives right into hostile territory with his daring and hilarious one-man show, deep in the heart of 'TrumpLand' in the weeks before the 2016 election."

The line refers to a one-man show Moore reportedly was trying to put on at Newark's Midland Theater in Ohio. Moore claimed the show was scrapped because the theater's management deemed it too controversial.

The years have shown the filmmaker to be a hypocrite.

It's unlikely Moore's film will have any real influence on the election or Trump. At this point in his career, the filmmaker is speaking to the already converted who still somehow see him as a truth-telling everyman. This "everyman," who took his perception of capitalism to task in "Capitalism: A Love Story," was once reported to own nine homes and be worth $50 million.

He sued producers for $2.7 million in profit over "9/11." He also shamelessly owned stock in Halliburton — a private contracting company tied to former Vice President Dick Cheney and the Iraq War, and one for which Moore heavily criticized the Bush administration.

On the filmmaking side, Moore's tactics have earned him a bad reputation on both the Left and the Right. In addition to being accused of deceptive editing, Moore's worst aggression was his ambush interview of actor and late NRA spokesman Charlton Heston. Moore interviewed Heston for his gun control documentary, "Bowling for Columbine." The "Ben-Hur" actor was suffering from Alzheimer's disease at the time, was not prepared for a talk on gun rights, and his words and actions were manipulated by Moore to fit the director's viewpoint — something he has a bad habit of doing.

The years have shown Moore to be a hypocrite, a fraudulent filmmaker, and an opportunist, so it's no surprise "TrumpLand" exists. The only career surprise the tarnished Moore could pull off at this point is making a movie that actually matters.

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