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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11: "A really brilliant piece of work"

That's the opinion of critic Roger Friedman on Fox News!
But once "F9/11" gets to audiences beyond screenings, it won't be dependent on celebrities for approbation. It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.

As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, "F9/11" as we saw last night is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty and at the same time a indictment of stupidity and avarice.
But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.

The film does Bush no favors, that's for sure, but it also finds an unexpectedly poignant and universal groove in the story of Lila Lipscombe, a Flint, Mich., mother who sends her kids into the Army for the opportunities it can provide just like the commercials say and lives to regret it.

Lipscombe's story is so powerful, and so completely middle-American, that I think it will take Moore's critics by surprise. She will certainly move to tears everyone who encounters her.
On the other hand, there are more than enough moments that seemed to resonate with the huge Ziegfeld audience.

The most indelible is Bush's reaction to hearing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, that the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

Bush was reading to a grade-school class in Florida at that moment. Instead of jumping up and leaving, he instead sat in front of the class, with an unfortunate look of confusion, for nearly 11 minutes.

Moore obtained the footage from a teacher at the school who videotaped the morning program. There Bush sits, with no access to his advisers, while New York is being viciously attacked. I guarantee you that no one who sees this film forgets this episode.
Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, along with numerous lesser lights like Al Franken, Bill O'Reilly, Tom Brokaw, Al Sharpton, Kurt Vonnegut and Martha Stewart, attended the premier. The film got a standing ovation, although Franken reports that O'Reilly left early.

BTW, Lila Lipscombe will attend the F911 screening for our local peaceniks on July 4!