Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Bowling for Columbine

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs:References to drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Gun violence the theme of the movie, footage of real-life violence
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2002

Any documentary about gun violence in America in which the single most intelligent and insightful comment is made by a guy named after a dead beauty queen and a serial killer is worth a look. Then there is the bank that gives out free rifles to customers who open up new accounts, a guy who sleeps with a gun under his pillow, and of course Charlton Heston standing up at a meeting of the NRA just after the shootings at Columbine and yelling “From my COLD DEAD HANDS!”

So shock-rock star Marilyn Manson sounds positively statesmanlike when film-maker Michael Moore asks him what he thinks of the two boys who listened to his music before they took guns into their high school and killed 13 people and injured 21 more before turning the guns on themselves. Mason, wearing his garish stage makeup but speaking quietly, compares the endless media coverage of the Columbine shooting to the way the media all but ignored the record-breaking U.S. bombing in Kosovo that same day, the most extensive bombing expedition in world history. And then, when Moore asks what he would say to the boys in Columbine, Manson says simply, “I wouldn’t tell them anything, I would listen to what they had to say– which is what no one did.”

Moore is deeply concerned and the ultimate bleeding heart liberal, but he is not an ideologue. He learned to shoot in high school and is a life member of the NRA. When the bank gives him a rifle, he casually checks the action while he asks if anyone ever considered that maybe guns and banks were not the best possible combination. Much of the time he lets the story tell itself, as when he interviews the brother of Timothy McVeigh’s co-conspirator, Terry Nichols. John Nichols, who sleeps with a gun under his pillow, says that he believes that anyone should have access to guns or even bombs. Then Moore asks whether he thinks that anyone should have access to nuclear weapons, and McVeigh looks at him like he is crazy and says, “No! There are some real crazies out there!” Sometimes, Moore becomes the story, as when he brings two young survivors of the Columbine shooting to K-Mart’s national headquarters to protest their selling of ammunition, including the bullets still in the bodies of the two young men. After a day of deliberation, a K-Mart spokeswoman reads a statement

This is more mosaic than polemic and mordantly funny, though it does veer a bit over the top when Moore tries to link television producer Dick Clark to the murder of a six-year-old by a six-year-old, because the boy who killed his classmate had a mother who worked at one of Clark’s restaurants in a welfare-to-work program. And his relentless questioning of a clearly memory-impaired Charlton Heston, leaving a photo of the murdered girl in Heston’s home after Heston stalks out of the interview, has the unintended result of making Heston seem more sympathetic.

But the movie confronts complex questions fearlessly, even as it acknowledges that it does not have the answers. Why do our fellow North Americans in Canada, who have proportionately the same number of guns, shoot each other only one-tenth as often? Why are Americans fearful even out of proportion to the amount of violence we subject ourselves to? The movie’s violation of strict “documentary” standards by shifting some scenes around has been criticized. For one example, see this website. Moore’s response to some of the questions about the movie is here.

Parents should know that the movie’s subject is violence and it includes explicit real-life footage of the shootings at Columbine. It also includes very strong language and brief references to drinking, smoking, and sex.

Families who see this movie should talk about the questions Moore raises. Why do Americans shoot each other so much more often than any other country? Why don’t Canadians lock their front doors? Why was Moore successful in persuading K-Mart not to sell ammunition any more? What can you do to try to reduce violence or to change other things that matter to you?

Families who enjoy this movie should see Moore’s first film, “Roger and Me,” about General Motors and Moore’s home town of Flint, Michigan.



Previous Posts

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects soci

posted 3:37:53pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman of "Above and Beyond"
In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of "Machal" (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the wa

posted 1:26:49pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Women Talk About Making Movies
The New York Times talked to women in Hollywood about making movies. Some of the highlights: “What’s wrong with bossy? It’s O.K. for a man.” Barbra Streisand, Director (“The Prince of Tid

posted 3:55:17pm Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »

When The Movie Plays With the Studio Logo
I got a big kick out of the post by Matt Singer from Screen Crush about movies that begin before the beginning by amending the studio's opening logo.   Most recently, of course "The LEGO Movie" did the logo in Legos.  But before that, movies like "Scott Pilgrim," "Cat Ballou," "Alien 3," and "Wate

posted 8:00:10am Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »

From Hermione to Belle: Emma Watson to Star in Live-Action "Beauty and the Beast"
Disney is working on a new live-action "Beauty and the Beast," a follow to the upcoming "Cinderella," and they have announced that "Harry Potter's" Emma Watson will star as Belle. It will be directed by Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls," "Kinsey"). Watson made the announcement on her Facebook page: “I

posted 12:18:20pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.