Capitalism: A Love Story 

Greed Screed: Michael Moore's latest is lost in smugness and jackassery.

click to enlarge art9275widea.jpg

When you make your living as a polemicist, it can’t be a good sign when even people who agree with you don’t like you any more. That’s what has happened with Michael Moore. As his work has gotten sloppier, more exasperating and less focused in recent years, even moderate lefties have come to be embarrassed by him, the same way moderate conservatives are—well, should be—embarrassed by Glenn Beck.

Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore’s latest screed, is his least useful yet. It mixes dry information on the current economic crisis with under-examined hard-luck stories and the usual Moore grandstanding. His thesis is simple: “Capitalism is an evil, and you can’t regulate evil.”

To support this idea, he parades a series of victims in front of us, as if a large pile of anecdotes will compensate for the lack of critical examination of the underlying economic theories. People are evicted from foreclosed houses. Widows grieve to learn their spouses’ employers had purchased life insurance policies, and now profit from the workers’ deaths while the bereaved get nothing. These things are sad, but they are not entirely one-sided, Moore’s insistent harping on the greedy corporations notwithstanding.

Other tales of under-regulated capitalism run amok are incendiary—and even true—but they shed no light on whether capitalism is flawed inherently. One assumes that other economic systems are subject to abuse, too. Moore’s one really interesting point is that while Americans love democracy, nearly all for-profit enterprises are run more like dictatorships and fiefdoms. Why do we love freedom in government but not in business? Unfortunately, Moore only spends about 30 seconds on this topic before returning to his smug sarcasm and public jackassery.

No one expects economics to be a thrilling subject, but in the past, Moore has usually managed to at least be entertaining. Capitalism: A Love Story shows only a few traces of his wit and humor—and they’re nearly lost in the fog of his indignation.

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY

click to enlarge 2_stars.gif

Documentary
Rated R

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of Sideshow

  • Letters to Juliet

    True Love: Letters to Juliet is more than a sunny, romantic travelogue.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Ajami

    Crash Course: Ajami creates a vivid, authentic world that’s bleak but not oppressive.
    • Apr 28, 2010
  • The Losers

    The Also-Team: Every other minute of The Losers is stuff you’ve seen before.
    • Apr 21, 2010
  • More »

More by Eric D. Snider

  • Movie Lessons of the Summer

    City Weekly film critics contemplate the lessons of the cinematic summer
    • Sep 2, 2015
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road reboot is straight-up, wall-to-wall bonkers
    • May 13, 2015
  • Oscar Nominations 2015

    City Weekly film contributors react to the Academy's choices, for good or ill
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • A Load of Scrat

    Ice Age: Collision Course continues a franchise only because it can.
    • Jul 20, 2016
  • R We There Yet?

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is another "adult" comedy that could stand to grow up a little.
    • Jul 6, 2016
  • Kid Stuff

    Steven Spielberg's gifts shouldn't be taken for granted in The BFG.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

‚Äč

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep-dive into the way movies portray one half of humanity.
    • May 11, 2016
  • Beasts of One Notion

    Zootopia depends entirely on its well-intentioned allegory about prejudice.
    • Mar 2, 2016

© 2016 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation