Aiming Above the Bottom Line | Sojourners

Aiming Above the Bottom Line

Michael Moore's irreverent tour of American industry

The Big One is a biting, funny, and sometimes odd combination of road film, populist rant, stand-up comedy, and the away-from-home video your quirky, know-it-all uncle might make if someone gave him the equipment and enough frequent flyer miles.

The premise is simple enough: Filmmaker Michael Moore (of Roger and Me fame) takes a video crew along on the promotional tour for his book Downsize This! (Crown Publishing, 1996). See Moore eat bad fast food. (Yuck.) See Moore commiserate with laid-off workers. (Poignant.) See Moore sing Bob Dylan and encounter an ex-convict who used to take reservations for TWA from in prison. (Scary!) See Moore visit various corporate headquarters in search of a CEO who will talk on camera about exactly why record profits seem to lead to employee lay-offs. (Can you say "No comment"?)

While Moore is not troubled by giving himself lots of camera time, the important thing is that he puts his ego (and money, and skill) in the service of what he believes. With profits from Roger and Me (the all-time highest grossing non-concert documentary), he set up the Center for Alternative Media, a foundation that has given funding to more than 40 independent filmmakers as well as social action and service groups. Miramax, distributor of The Big One, is giving half of all profits from this film to groups and scholarship funds that Moore supports in Flint, Michigan.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1998
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