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The Big One

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Original title
The Big One
Running time
91 min.
United States United States
Michael Moore
The World Famous Blue Jays
Brian Danitz, Chris Smith
Miramax Films
Official Site
Synopsis / Plot
A brazen mixture of stand-up comedy, political commentary, CEO confrontations, and shenanigans with Random House tour escorts, Michael Moore's second foray into dark docucomedy after Roger and Me follows his Midwest book tour to promote Downsize This. One of his Milwaukee tour escorts explains that medium-sized cities in the Midwest tend not to attract tours by the self-important celebrities of the Coasts; instead, they attract "more thoughtful authors like Michael." His kind of thoughtfulness evokes both laughter at, and disgust with, corporate America. To be sure, there is a certain naiveté in Moore's proworker take on corporate and political America--his half-serious plan for a Nike shoe factory in Flint, Michigan, makes as much business sense as coal mining on Maui--but he gives voice to well-reasoned arguments that have most easily gotten lost amid the Clinton-era boom's corporate downsizing and reliance on "temporary" employees.
In cities like Des Moines, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Portland, The Big One juxtaposes both Moore's lighthearted-sounding but deeply biting humor speaking before bookstore patrons and painful-to-watch confrontations with security personnel at companies such as Procter & Gamble and PayDay. (For future targets of Moore's style of journalism, take note of Nike CEO Phil Knight's fairly effective approach as Moore calls him to task on Nike's Indonesian labor.) Moore speaks clandestinely with Borders employees organizing a union; a woman laid off from Ford attends Moore's Rockford, Illinois, bookstore visit the same day. Though slow in spots, frustrating if not depressing in others, it's intensely funny the rest of the time. The Big One is fundamental viewing. --Erik Macki (from
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