Slacker Uprising

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 failed in ousting the Bush administration from the White House in 2004. Slacker Uprising, the new film by Moore documenting the 2004 tour of the same name, gives him one more chance to proclaim, “Mission accomplished,” and be correct this time. (On a personal note, I don’t see how this film could fail in getting rid of Bush.)

Moore traveled to some sixty cities in twenty battleground states encouraging people to vote, especially for challenger John Kerry. Accompanied by family members of fallen soldiers, musicians, playwrights, and others, Moore smugly addressed audiences mostly at colleges and universities. In addition to the infotainment, students and other attendants were bribed to register to vote with Ramen Noodles and new underpants. (Being on the road so much, you couldn’t blame Moore if he’d kept a few packs of each for personal consumption and use. Could you?)

There are some good bits—the mock anti-Kerry commercial spots are funny; parts of Moore’s faux-standup material are interesting; and certain sequences are touching and move well—but there are far too few of them to sustain a whole film.

Whatever pacing the film has is stifled by the performances—from Eddie Vedder waxing political before covering a Cat Stevens song to Tom Morello dicking around on an acoustic guitar. It’s not even the performers, per se, or what they do (but sometimes it is). It’s the amount of time they eat up, amounting to about a third of the film’s running time. When you’re at a concert, you don’t want to hear politics, and, when you‘re ready for politics, conversely, you don’t want to be at a concert. Moore’s film can’t seem to decide which aspect of the tour was more important and, so, schizophrenically offers both.

In certain ways, Slacker Uprising is a lot like Titanic: both have their respective heartthrobs like DiCaprio and Moore (you guess who was in which movie); their sex scenes are nearly identical; and we know how both end from the films’ first frames. (Spoiler alert: Bush becomes “king of the world” and it turns out that Kerry possessed the priceless Heart of the Ocean the whole time!)

The good news is that this film is not being shown in theaters. The other good news is that it is an online release and can be downloaded for free.* The bad news is that it is a waste of time.

Of the film and its release, Moore claims that “[t]his is being done entirely as a gift to my fans.” Moore’s “gift” has a way of being self-congratulatory. Throughout the film you get the sense that he’s very proud of the role he played in 2004’s election. I think it’s about time we paid our respect to Moore for the outcome of that election. Thanks, Mike.

One cannot help but wonder, furthermore, if Moore is being a little disingenuous with this “gift.” After his last three releases—Bowling for Columbine, Farenheit 9/11, and Sicko—really worked up some people’s ire, Slacker Uprising comes across as little more than a highlight reel for what seemed to be a publicity tour for Moore’s Bush-condemning film. Could the likelihood that Slacker Uprising would have been a theatrical flop be the real reason for this “gift”?

The film may be for the most hard-core fans of Michael Moore; it could also serve well as a souvenir for those who attended the tour in 2004 and forgot to buy a book or a T-shirt.


* If you want to help Moore defeat the Bush administration, Slacker Uprising can be downloaded from by giving your e-mail address. If that’s more information than you want Michael Moore to have, you can also “Get” or “Rent” it from iTunes at no cost.

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