Published October 23, 2009
| Wall Street Journal
FLINT, Mich. – Michael Moore can dish it out. But can he take it?
The filmmaker is enjoying modest success with his most recent movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story," employing his trademark guerrilla documentary tactics to take on Wall Street and Capitol Hill. It follows films that cut a similarly sharp edge, including "Fahrenheit 9/11," a critique of the Bush administration; and 1989's "Roger & Me," about the struggle of Flint, Mich., to survive General Motors Corp.'s downsizing.
But less is known about a cottage industry that has emerged in recent years: filmmakers looking to take on the 55-year-old Moore at his own game.
There's Minnesota filmmaker Michael Wilson, who made 2004's "Michael Moore Hates America." It portrays Moore as being disingenuous to his interview subjects and profiting from their misfortune.
"Fahrenhype 9/11," written in part by former Clinton administration adviser Dick Morris, and "Celsius 41.11," directed by Kevin Knoblock, both from 2004, defended George W. Bush as he sought reelection. "Michael & Me," directed by Republican talk-show host Larry Elder, came out a year later, defending gun advocates against Mr. Moore's claims.
Then came "Me & Michael," a 2006 spoof on Moore's tactics. After director Willard Morgan pesters and follows Moore for months, mimicking Moore's style, Moore calls him a "stalker" and suggests he get medical help.