Michael Moore made the scary prediction that Donald Trump was “the last president of the United States” in the trailer to his new documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9,” which premiere in New York Thursday evening at Alice Tully Hall.
On the red carpet I asked the filmmaker exactly what he meant by that.
“It’s that we may not have our United States the way that we knew it. If he’s successful in dismantling our democracy than the United States of old is gone and that’s what I’m worried about.”
On a different tack he added, “In my perfect world on November 6 there will be a tsunami of women, young people, people of color, going to the polls. And they’re going to try and right a very huge wrong. I believe that.”
“Fahrenheit 11/9,” which premiered in Toronto to rapturous reviews, is a bookend of sorts to his hugely successful 2004 Bush-bashing film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which became the highest grossing documentary of all time. But for all the pillorying and parodying of the president, Bush still went on to serve a second term. So does Moore think his new film, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” can make people vote for liberal candidates?
“Make, no. But I hope it can inspire people to do the right thing, can give them some optimism, can sometimes show them a way out. I hope that’s what Im doing in this film tonight, helping show people a way out of the madness that we’re in.”
Overheard on the red carpet:
Asked if he knew the identity of the anonymous New York Times op-ed leaker in Trump’s circle, Moore said: “No, but if you want me to make a wild guess, Trump wrote it or one of his minions wrote it…. He’s the master of distraction. He’s the King of the Misdirect. If we’ve ever known anything by now, it’s that he does things to get people to turn away and the line that is most identifiable in terms of what he wants the public to believe, the line that says, ‘don’t worry, adults are in the room.’ The idea is to get him to get us to calm down and look away from what he’s really doing.”
Later in the cavernous Alice Tully Hall in his intro to the film, Moore told the invite-only audience that for him and producers Carl Deal and Meghan O’Hara this was their most difficult film to make.
“We made the decision on the first day of making the movie we would not chase the news cycle. The last thing people want to see on a Friday night was two hours of Donald Trump, which they’d already have seen for the last two years. We did want to tell a larger story of the Trump-ian times we’re in.”
Moore added, “ I think to be honest we have an enormous amount of despair and we are dispirited Americans, and I think that you, many of you, have felt the same despair and the same torment and the same kind of wondering if will we ever pull out of this? Is there a way out? And we saw that around the country people are not hopeful. They’re very aware that this person pulled off something unimaginable. To have someone who appears to be an idiot beat the smartest person ever to run for the president of the United States, that takes some evil genius and for him to outsmart us is part of our pain, I think, so I’m going to present you with our vision of how we got here and where we’re at and where we’re going or not going.”
Nobody’s off the hook in the doc when it comes to responsibility for Trump’s election. It opens with a montage of politicians and media types who never took Trump seriously. Footage of liberals and their pre-election smugness that Americans could never elect “The Apprentice” reality star as president is hilarious and painful to watch replayed.
Moore’s documentary most controversial parts compare the forces that helped get Trump elected to the ways Adolf Hitler attained power in 1930’s German. And meriting a documentary alone, Moore returns to his hometown of Flint, Michigan to report on the scandals and horrors of the water crisis and cover up by Governor Rick Snyder. The toxic water resulted in thousands of people, primarily poor black children, suffering from irreversible lead poisoning damage and even death from Legionnaires disease.
Doing the 25-minute Q&A following the screening, Moore reminded the audience there was only 54 days before the midterm elections. “I wake up every morning with the knowledge and the belief that we’re going to lose on November 6. If you don’t believe that, if you don’t embrace that truth, you are going to help us lose.”
“I think the thing with Woodward’s book and all the other stuff where we talk about Trump, and try to just kind of (write him off), that he’s just an idiot, he’s crazy… all these names we attached to him, like he said, he’s president and you’re not. He’s so dumb he figured out how to win the White House by losing. How do you do that? That’s like, Wow!!!”
Moore tells liberals to stop whining and act. “We have to start believing in ourselves in this,” he said, noting that the majority of Americans take the liberal position on every single issue. “That’s us, that’s our country. Who ever thought of Texas as not being a white state before coming in here tonight? You need to look at America because it’s you. We won six of the last presidential elections with the popular vote.… You don’t need to convince a single Trump voter. Who you need to convince are the members of the largest political party in the United States, the non-voters. Every poll and resource that has been done has shown that the one hundred million non-voters, if they did vote, would vote for the Democrat.”
Moore said he hopes the movie galvanizes liberals to do some work, to convince non voters to vote for progressive politicians. “Make a long lunch out of it. Bring beer. That’s all it takes.”
At the after party at Tavern on the Green, Moore gave a shout out to legendary documentary film makers Barbara Kopple, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
During a 14-minute impromptu speech, he recounted how a two-hour conversation with Steve Bannon “changed the course of the film.” Moore said he asked Bannon after the election, “How did you pull this off?’” Bannon said, “Oh, it’s a very easy answer. Our side, we go for the head wounds. Your side went for the pillow fights. And while you’re pillow fighting, we’re going for the head wounds.” Moore said the conversation “egged us on.”
The message is clear. As Moore said earlier in the evening, “It takes a Donald Trump and a rotten system that caters to Trump to realize that now, right now, our time is out. We need to act immediately.”
photo c2018 Showbiz411 by Paula Schwartz