BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In 1998, on "The Roseanne Show," Donald Trump congratulated fellow guest Michael Moore on his film Roger and Me, Moore's takedown of General Motor's C.E.O. Roger Smith. Trump jokingly commented: "I hope he doesn't make one on me."
Some twenty years later, under circumstances that neither Nostradamus nor Johnny Carson's Carnac the Magnificent -- who could discern unknown answers to unseen questions – could have imagined, Moore is making a film about President Trump. The documentary, titled Fahrenheit 11/9 – a reference to the day in 2016 when Trump was elected -- is due to be released in some 1500 theaters on September 21, just in time for the midterm elections.
On a recent edition of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Moore announced the release date of Fahrenheit 11/9, and previewed some footage. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Veteran film exec Tom Ortenberg, who stepped down as CEO of Open Road Films last November, is in the process of launching a new company, Briarcliff Entertainment, and is partnering with Moore to release" the film.
Moore "showed footage in which he attempts to gain entry into Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, or as he told someone as he attempted to enter, the 'Southern White House,'" the Hollywood Reporter pointed out. "He is shown being kept out by an iron gate at a door as the camera zooms in to see who is inside. 'Just tell him it's me,' Moore is heard saying to a doorman."
Last month Moore tweeted out the clip from "The Roseanne Show." "I know Roseanne. And I know Trump. And they are about to rue the day they knew me …," Moore tweeted. In a previous post Moore wrote, "So @therealroseanne woke up this morning & posted hateful, slanderous tweets about me, Valerie Jarrett, George Soros & Chelsea Clinton — and ABC fired her. If only NBC had fired Trump when he started his racist birther movement in 2011, he wouldn't be in the White House today."
In 2004, Moore's documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11 took on President George W. Bush's War on Terror, and the cheerleading role-played by the mainstream media. The film, which went on to become the largest grossing documentary film in history ($222 million domestic and foreign), was both critically acclaimed and roundly criticized, in the still-in-its-infancy social media. Conservatives fell all over themselves to counter Moore; one filmmaker titled his movie Michael Moore Hates America.
In a 2005 piece titled "Michael Moore gets ready to roll," I wrote: "Before Fahrenheit 9/11 hit the theaters in June 2004, Russo Marsh & Rogers, a Sacramento, California-based public relation firm, teamed up with Move America Forward -- the conservative group that recently sponsored the so-called Truth Tour to Iraq -- to launch a pre-emptive strike against the film. The campaign, which ultimately had little impact, urged supporters to 'Stop Michael Moore' by taking 'action against the release of his anti-American movie.'
Any information about a new film by the Oscar-winning Moore inevitably gets the juices flowing and tongues wagging. Months before he was to begin shooting Sicko, a film dealing with Americas' health care industry, the pharmaceutical industry launched a pre-emptive strike against him and the film. The Guardian reported that at least six pharmaceutical firms sent memos to their workers warning them to be on the lookout for "a scruffy guy in a baseball cap" who asks too many questions.
Moore and Trump have crossed paths since "The Roseanne Show," at least on Twitter. Trump tweeted about Moore's one-man Broadway show, The Terms of My Surrender: "While not at all presidential I must point out that the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a Total Bomb and was forced to close. Sad!"
In a recent Facebook post, Moore wrote that he has "known Roseanne Barr for over 25 years. I've known her as Roseanne Barr, Roseanne Arnold, just 'Roseanne', then back to Roseanne Barr. I've spent time in her home, criss-crossed the country with her to help remove George W. Bush from the White House, appeared on her shows, been there for her when she needed something, and connected her with one of my producers who did an insightful, one-of-a-kind documentary into the genius and the tragedy that is Roseanne Barr."
She "seems to be suffering from some sort of madness. It's more than just saying she's a racist," Moore added. "She operates in the same sewer of lies, conspiracy theories and bigotry that's been rising in America for years and that has now succeeded in electing our current president. Totally nuts."
He then wrote: "Here's who's not crazy: Donald J. Trump.
Trump, though he shows all the signs of being absolutely bonkers, is not insane. He's the real deal. His racism and hate is real, it's well thought-out, he's the true master of manipulation, a brilliant performance artist, and an evil genius. He outsmarted a nation of liberals and Democrats and won the White House by losing the actual vote of the people. He neutered and then destroyed the Grand Old Republican Party. He knows exactly what he is doing."
Moore's annual Traverse City Film Festival is slated to begin on July 31. While the festival is, as The Detroit Free Press recently reported, "packed with movies about relevant issues," it is unclear whether Moore will premiere Fahrenheit 11/9.
Whether Fahrenheit 11/9 will outperform Fahrenheit 9/11 is anybody's guess, but one doesn't need Nostradamus to tell you that conservatives will apoplectically rail against it, while liberals will undoubtedly flock to the theaters.