Undermining Sicko

Sheila Lennon has been following the release of Michael Moore’s Sicko on the internet, including the defiant postings on conservative weblogs.

Hard to say where the film came from, and normally, I imagine that Moore would be happy about a wide distribution of this incredibly important film. However, there is a down side to all of this, which is most likely why the accessibility of this film online is being touted on the conservative weblogs: if the conservative (read that ‘corporate’) think tank controlled weblogs can adversely impact on the box office for this film, this undermines Moore’s ability to continue providing movies such as this. In addition, it undermines the message of the movie. Not doing well in the box office could be interpreted as people not being concerned about this issue, which could lead our current crop of weak willed elected officials to believe they can safely accept that HMO’s campaign money, as they sweep universal health care under the carpet.

I do like seeing the discussion about health care, at Metafilter and so on. It does virally add to the noise about this film. But it needs to happen in such a way that the discussion leaves the discussion boards, and the computers and hits the street, and in particular, the voting booth. That’s why this movie needs a killer opening night. If people download to watch and go to see it in the theater, cool. But the former without the latter is not going to generate the noise we really need to make.

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9 Responses to Undermining Sicko

  1. Karoli says:

    I watched it in its entirety last night. Because I watched it, I plan to see it on opening night. Had I not watched it, I would have waited until it was out on DVD. Why the difference? Well, for starters I want to support it. Since money talks, it makes sense to speak as loudly as I can in support of the film.

    By the way, I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusion about universal health care being the solution. I’m still thinking my way through that one. But what he does quite well is to outline what the problems are and at least offer a solution to them, which should at a minimum spark a conversation around it.

    As is typical of a Moore film, there are ironic twists in it, and this has one of the most deliciously ironic twists I’ve seen yet.

    At any rate, I didn’t mean to turn this into a review as much as to say that for this one blogger, releasing it to the Internet helped their cause. I seriously don’t do movies unless I have a darn good reason for it. This qualifies as a darn good reason.

    Oh — one other thing…when I watched it, finishing at 2:30 AM, there had been 1600 views. Not such a huge number as to kill it, I’d think.

  2. Doug Alder says:

    I think he released it to the net because he was afraid of the movie being shut down. He made mention in a recent interview that he took caution to leave a copy of the master in Canada as security to the film being confiscated. Of course, that could (and likely is) just marketing FUD on his part. Then again the health care insurance companies along with the pharmaceuticals are right up there with the energy companies as the most influential power brokers in congress so he could have a point – were talking billions of $ profit on the line so no chicanery on their part is too absurd to contemplate

  3. Karoli says:

    He is not kind to any politician or lobby in the film, and given the tactics of the Bush administration, I wouldn’t blame him for placing a copy somewhere other than in the US. I really think the weekend leak/Monday pulldown is a way to keep the buzz going. It’s working, I think.

  4. madame l. says:

    You can find the film at Richard Bluestein’s Insane Films. It’s my understanding that he’s done it with permission. I haven’t seen it yet.

    Who knows when it will be out here in France. For Europe the internets release is a good thing for sure. And when it is finally released I doubt it will be in v.o. (except maybe one theatre in Paris).

    One of my kids just went to the theatre to see Shrek3 dubbed into French. Sort of useless as I imagine whatever charm may exist in Shrek relies on the voices.

  5. Scott Reynen says:

    This afternoon I learned that because of the way I moved from my previous job to my current job (both under the same company with the same health care provider), I may not be able to enroll in health insurance until 2008. Being diabetic, and having lived without health insurance previously for a few months, I’ll probably be worrying about this until it gets sorted out. So of course health insurance is a big concern for me. That said, if our government is so screwed up that a few bloggers are able to shift focus away from an important issue by skewing the opening night box office results of a single film, I’d say we have slightly bigger problems than health care.

  6. Karoli says:

    Scott, how on earth did that happen? That sounds like a serious mistake on someone’s part — you should at least be able to extend the insurance you *had* until eligible for the insurance in the new division.

    As a benefits administrator, I’d be trying to move heaven and earth to stop that from happening to you, even if it meant leaving you on the payroll of division 1 with reimbursement by division 2 for the remainder of the year.

  7. Scott Reynen says:

    Karoli, the problem is that I had cancelled my insurance with my previous employer to use my wife’s insurance, so because they’re treating me as an existing employee, I can’t change my coverage (e.g. nothing) until the next open enrollment period in January 2008. I’m hopeful it will get worked out eventually; it was just a bad way to end my work day today. But I didn’t mean to hijack the thread. I just mentioned that to give some context to my statement that a government more accountable to movies than voters is even worse than the ridiculous American health care system.

  8. Shelley says:

    One rumor I read is that it was Moore who released the film. Hard to say, other than in several conservative weblogs, they were encouraging the download rather than go see the movie.

    True, Scott, about movie and government. But frankly, we have such a government. Of course, I could be feeling somewhat disillusioned right now.

    I certainly hope they straighten out your insurance. Quickly.

  9. Karoli says:

    Shelley, I don’t think you’re disillusioned. If anything, you’re too kind. Scott — good luck getting that issue resolved….what a monumental pain.