In the past, Michael Moore films like FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and SICKO have grossed millions, but for his 2008 documentary, Moore made the radical move of offering his film online for free. SLACKER UPRISING chronicles Moore's controversial efforts to bring out young voters, whom he affectionately calls "slackers," on a 2004 tour through the battleground states. Though his first audience in his native state of Michigan numbered in the hundreds, soon the events were gathering up to 16,000 people.
SLACKER UPRISING has a different feel than Moore's previous efforts. It's a little less polished, but there's no less enthusiasm for the subject on Moore's part. Even more than in his earlier films such as BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, the director is clearly the star here. This documentary feels like a hybrid of a political film and a rockumentary, with celebrities as varied as Eddie Vedder, Viggo Mortensen, and Roseanne Barr all making appearances to show their support for the cause. However, it's Moore who spends the most time on the stage, passionately pleading his anti-Bush case. George W. Bush comes across as just as much of a villain as he did in FAHRENHEIT 9/11, but the goal here isn't to oust Bush. Instead, the film's initial release was timed to come six weeks before the 2008 presidential election, and SLACKER UPRISING serves as a reminder of just how close the 2004 election was.
Description by Ryko Distribution:
Slacker Uprising takes us back to the 2004 election, when the polling margin between candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry could have tipped either way. Framed like a concert film, it captures Moore's activities as he set out on a campaign trip almost as rigorous and far-reaching as the candidates' own. He targeted young people as the demographic that could make the most difference, visiting sixty-two cities in forty-five days, and holding large rallies on college campuses. He dubbed it the Slacker Uprising Tour.
This documentary of his journey is made in the feisty spirit of independent media, budgeted at a tiny fraction of Moore's recent films. It acts like a time machine, returning us to the weeks prior to the November 2, 2004, election, when campuses across the country were exhilarated by a sense of hope and urgency. Moore masterfully foments this energy, speaking to audiences as large as fifteen thousand. He riles up the crowd with his hilarious improvisation, riffing off the day's headlines or responding to hecklers. He also brings a star-studded lineup of friends - we see appearances and performances by Roseanne Barr, Eddie Vedder, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Earle and Joan Baez, among others. His political opponents certainly take notice, lobbying schools to ban him from campus, sometimes successfully.
Although the election didn't go Moore's way, this film is a cure for the hangover that followed, and a reminder that a new political force emerged on those campuses. Young voters turned out in record numbers in 2004, reversing a trend of decline since 1972 (after the voting age lowered to eighteen). The youth vote increased even more in the following mid-term elections. If you want to understand the future of American politics, Slacker Uprising is a great place to start, showcasing what the filmmaker calls "the birth of a new political generation."
American History |
George W. Bush |
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