Tuesday, March 1, 2011

short documentary viewing of Justice Denied: Voices from Guanta'namo

    This documentary was chosen due to my interest in how our goverment could and did detain hundreds of people for years after 9/11 without ever charging them with a crime.  The director uses straitforward interviews with five of the men who were held anywhere from two to five years and never charged with a crime. Mouzzam Begg was a British resident working in Afghanastan building a school when he was taken and held for three years, Omar Deshayes had gone to Pakastan to study the legal system there when he was abducted and held for five years. Ruahal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul were born and raised together in England and were taken to Guanta'namo for two and a half years.   These men were never brought up on any charges but were just taken and held as possible terrorists just because of there muslim background.  The direct interview process with some narration is an excellent form of delivery for a documentary.  The viewer can recieve the information directly from the source.  The director still has many ways to steer this type of approach but in the end it is the subjects that the documentaries are about that shine and help to share their own story.  I already had a small interest in this subject, but beginning to see the way it affected these men for the rest of their lives needs to be seen.  All of the men interviewed stated that the one thing their kidnappers could not take from them was their strong religious beliefs, so that is what they held on to.  They always had a belief that America were the good guys like in the movies, now that concept is shattered.  Are we as a country stopping terrorism or helping breed it?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hell house

Hell house is documentary film about the Trinity Christian Church located in Texas who puts on a haunted house unlike any other. George Ratliff goes into this film hoping to accomplish something not normally; a film that is not bias and free of judgment so they are there to purely show the story at hand. It starts out with Ratliff interviewing different people about their thoughts and who they feel about the Hell House, and then we see how the auditions are conducted through August. Up to this part Ratliff stays pretty neutral in the film but we see him take sides slightly when he goes over to the single dad’s family. We see his youngest son have a seizure and break down praying to god to help bring him out of it. A few seconds later he seems to slip out of it and his dad proceeds to thank god for his help. The filmmakers really do not need to show this clip I feel since it could bring over people to that side of the argument saying the church is right in partaking of Hell House. Later we see how much the kids enjoy trying out for the parts in the production and this may have been done to counter the effect of the filming of the family stated before in this paragraph. It’s almost odd how happy these kids are to play the parts in the production. The girls want to be the best rape or abortion girl possible and the guys go after the rappers or best school shooters. It probably is an outlet for them since they go to a church based high school and don’t really have any outlet for their creativity. Even after they are chosen for the parts, they laugh right after they read their parts about being raped, which is a bit odd.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hell House

I thought the way Hell house was shot and presented was done in a very interesting way. The main purpose of a documentary is to show something how it really is in life. To not change or ad to the situation and just show people something that is happening in real life that they would not normally scene. Most documentarians don't do that. They influence, whether they wanted to or not, the people or end up changing the scene so its not totally true. Hell House, or at lest it does a very good job to make it look so, does not do that. The camera follows a very fly on the wall type feel. The documentarian does not get involved with the scenes and the interviews are kept short to what seems like one question. It makes it feel more real. That the camera is really just following these people around and they are not changing their ways because the camera is there. I feel that this way of filming makes the documentary much more convincing and accomplishing their message in a much more powerful way.
Showing the children try out and practicing their skits is also very powerful. It shows how many people are into doing this Hell House and how they feel that they are helping people. Its not just adults its kids and teenagers too. And the people trying out get very much into the scenes and end up crying themselves in just trying out for the role! It shows the power that the church has over these families and individuals that they can't even see.

Hell House

Hell House is a documentary filmed by George Ratliff, telling about a Christian churches’ haunted house that teaches about making the right decisions and either going to heaven or hell. Im surprised about the use of only natural light. No artificial light was used in the film. If the scene being shot was outside in the dark, the scene was dark and no camera light was used to brighten faces. This helped bring more realism to the film. It made the film feel like a home movie being shot from the inside; it gave a backstage experience. Also the different scenes he added helped really bring out the true meaning behind the documentary. For example, the scene of the man trying to get the people into the room to pray helps the viewers to understand the main point behind the Hell House.

Also the filmmaker’s choice to show each the scene of the Hell House helped the viewer to understand what the people going through the house actually saw. The taped scenes of the Hell House were filmed in a way of close shots, eye level and different angles to capture all of the commotion in each scene. This put the audience in the Hell House with the rest of the tour group.

The filmmaker’s decision to add the scene of the teenager arguing with the man about faith and what was portrayed in the Hell House helps illustrate that not everyone that sees the house agrees with what is being shown. It helps depict another view that may help the viewing audience, that doesn’t agree with the Hell House, better understand why that church is putting on the house.

Ratliff’s decision to add different scenes even the more explicit ones helps illustrate the truth behind the church’s decision for the house; as well as demonstrating the firm belief of all the church people who make Hell House, that they are doing the right thing and helping to spread their belief in God.

Hell House

Hell House is a documentary about the fear mongering tactics used by one church to “save” their community. A group of believers, led by their pastor, sets up an annual haunted house around Halloween that highlights contemporary moral and religious problems to convince local teenagers of their dangers. Though the message the church is sending is indeed troubling, the most disturbing part of the film is the way the documentarian makes the viewers feel as if they are actually a part of the process. This is done first in the beginning, in which the film is introduced by the pastor instead of the director. This makes it seem as if the following scenes and story are the idea of the church instead of the documentarian. Viewers feel as if they are in the church with these characters, planning and building a haunted house, instead of watching a film that is meant to inform them. The lack of presence of the documentarian leaves viewers to come to their own conclusions, without feeling the bias of an outside source. The following connection formed with the people of “Hell House” is strange and unappealing. This is also what makes the film effective, because its apparent lack of bias makes viewers feel as if they are deciding on their own that this is a disturbing message.

Hell house

Hell house was documented in a very interesting way that I have not experienced before in a documentary. The most intriguing aspect of the way the film was documented is how George Ratliff made it seem as if he were not there and that these people in the video were just living their lives like they would any other day. There were many scenes he filmed that were personal that most documentarians would not bother to do. One of the many times that Ratliff filmed personal footage was in the homes of the church people. This surprised me a lot because talking about religion and homosexuality is personal enough but to go into someone’s home and film their children being put in bed and eating is somewhat extreme. Also with the close ups and camera views being detailed it was very weird to see these people being filmed very close but not being spoken to by the documentarian.There were many more scenes that seemed a little too personal to be filming such as at work, school, and at church. Without talking or letting his presents be known, Ratliff seemed to me as more of a creep rather than a documentarian filming.

Hell House

Hell House is a documentary by George Ratliff that shows the scare tactics used by a Texas Pentecostal church's haunted house.  The thing that most intrigued me about this film, was the presentation of the information.  Everything was filmed in the perspective of the Trinity Church members and haunted house workers.  Ratliff did not go out of his way to film anything that showed the haunted house as good or bad.  Instead, he captured the actions and thoughts of those involved in the presentation of what will happen if God is not welcome in your life.  It was very eye opening to see how the "actors" made fun of and joked around during rehearsals.  It was almost upsetting to see them go from portraying a rape victim committing suicide, and then switch to laughing about it, as if it was a joke.  It seems that all of the members taking part in the haunted house don't quite take the subject matter seriously when they are not acting.  It makes the viewer (or at least made me) feel as though they are unaware of how terrible the things they are portraying really are to people who have to go through it.
The only time the viewer is shown a point of view opposite of that of the church is when a group of teenagers goes through and states how they were offended by the scene where the man with AIDS dies.  They are automatically pulled into an argument with a very religious man, and the police officer who works with the church comes out to intervene, and tries to convince the teens that with God, the things that they witnessed will not happen.  It was shocking to see how blind the Trinity Church members seem to be to other points of view.

Hell House

Matthew Murray

After watching the documentary "Hell House" directed by George Ratliff, the aspect of the film that I found most surprising was Ratliff's ability to create a documentary on such a controversial topic without injecting his own views, beliefs and opinions into it. As the viewer begins watching the film, they are led to believe that the creator of the film may be in strong agreement with the featured Trinity Church and their views. Those specific views include the church believing that by putting on a haunted house featuring scripted scenes, in which members of the church act out certain sins, could be used to convince non-christians to convert to Christianity and in turn "be saved" by Jesus and God. But as the film progresses, the light in which Ratliff shows the church begins to shift, in that the church is presented in a very extreme or radical way that may cause the viewers to be turned off by the actions that are being taken by the members of the church featured in the film. With this form of presentation, one that involves no injections of belief or opinion by the filmmaker, the viewer is able to maintain their own opinion on the subject rather than try to be persuaded one way or the other by the filmmaker, and I thought that was the most surprising tactic by Ratliff.

Hell House

The techniques used in conveying the message of conforming to Christianity, although somewhat effective, I don't think I agree with them. The documentary itself uses sequence well to go through the process of such an event with coming up with ideas, to building the stage and such, and also then performing the "haunted house". The director's use of sequence is effective because the viewer gets to see the long process the people of the church go through to make this all happen, and it shows how committed the church is. By having people of the church tell the veiwer what their own view of something such as speaking in tounge, or their definition of Hell, the veiwer gets a bit overwhelmed with one-sided opinions. And for some people this tactic might actually turn them away from what the film is trying to say, because if the viewer doesn't believe those things they aren't going to listen with all of their attention. Going through the one dad's life makes the people feel more personable in a way. The viewer gets a feeling by the end that they know the family after having seen their every day routine. They also portray the family in a good light, considering the circumstances. Trying to show that even though bad things have happened to them they still made it through with the "word of God". Which makes the documentarian's side more believable, showing real people who got through things with Jesus. The tactic of the "Hell House" in itself is interesting. Whoever came up with the concept of doing this obviously has their head high enough and nose far enough into the Bible to think that they can carry out such a thing to say "black and white" what is right and what is wrong. It's always interesting to me when I hear people say that what's in the Bible is right and whatever anyone else says is wrong. I don't think it's right for the people of the church to at the end of the haunted house thing coup these people up in a room and preach about how they need to go in the next room, in front of everyone standing there, and pray. Because if other people are going in there to pray, you are made out to look like this satanist jerk if you choose not to. If people wanted to go pray with others, they would go to church. Doing that just would make me personally feel bombarded. The film itself is obviously a one-sided project.

Hell House

Well Hell House was uh... interesting. I thought that the techniques used in this were a little, maybe extreme. The things that they were doing in the play were just to the utmost severity of things that could actually happen. The whole thing where people die in every scene was kind of crazy too. Those were just some of my first impressions watching this. I thought that what they were doing was a good cause, but then when they take it that far its almost not a good thing anymore. They turned what was probably supposed to be a fun scary place to go into a crazy religious experience that people who came through may have been just tremendously terrified not in a fun way.
Even though I understand that what they were trying to do was scare people away from doing bad things and hence going to hell, I do not fully understand the whole point of taking it to those extreme levels when most of those things do not happen to 99% of people. I thought the scene where the dad caught his wife cheating by the computer was really dumb, because I couldn't tell if they were trying to pin the going to hell on the father for drinking or the mother for cheating. It was hard to figure some of the scenes out. Another thing I thought was weird was how into Hell House that the kids got. They were doing intense scenes and they were totally cool with it and it almost seemed that they lived for this. I just found it kinda different.
All in all, it was a very informative documentary on what was going on at this church and everything about Hell House. I didn't think that it would be that intense and stuff, and I thought some of the things in the movie were extremely over exaggerated. To tell some people to do good and want to goto heaven is one thing. But to have scenes with people killing themselves and going through so many problems to where the audience probably wants to just go home is a whole different aspect of spreading the good news of the Bible.

Alex Young

I was impressed by George Ratliff’s ability to film the entire documentary without interjecting his own views or opinions on the audience. From beginning to end, you see what one would see as if they were actually present with the church involved with Hell House. At the end of the film, you have only your opinions about the Hell House, not the documentarians. In each scene, you have the voice of a member from the church, be it the pastor, one of the youth, or just another person. It seemed to me that Ratliff took special care to show the people in their most natural light. He did this by using scenes that made the people look ‘good’. These were scenes such as the interviews, where they spoke about experiences that were very touching and special to them. These were good to help build a personal connection between the people on screen and the viewer. However, Ratliff also includes scenes that make the people look bad. This can be observed in the scene after some kids visit the hell house and express their disagreement in view with those depicted in the attraction. This is a good scene to show that they are not all good, but lets the viewer remember that they aren’t all bad either. It leaves a lot of room for the viewers to formulate their own opinions. Throughout all this, there is no voice over from Ratliff. I think this not only helps keep the film objective, but also brings the reader closer to all of the people being showcased. As a viewer, you feel that you are present in the room when the person on screen is talking. The technique of filming meetings and the processes involved with running the Hell House, as well as the interviews with members of the church, really help to put the viewer on the scene, so you can connect with what’s being shown.

Hell House technique

     My fundamental belief in free speech compels me to say that the techniques used by Trinity church such as fear and consequences to deliver their message anyway possible are justified.  The use of  a haunted house to reach the masses is a great idea.  People ultimately have the right of choice to go or not go.  That being said there are many ways this documentary could rub many people the wrong way, is it ethical?  Definitely not, I do not think Hampe would approve.  They use many effects of lighting to get the point of the differences in heaven and hell. A haunted house, what a perfect setting. 
     The flow in the way the documentary is presented from the meetings in the beginning to showing the final product at the end intermixed with interviews from attendees who approved and some who didn't helps the viewer to understand the amout of work the church puts into this to get the point out to the people.  The subject matter aside it is an effective documentary, they are not forcing anything upon anyone. It may be a wolf in sheeps clothing and misrepresented to an attendee who was not expecting a lesson in religion while attending a haunted house.  The documentary is extreme to the point of upsetting to some people but they definitely show the viewers the message they are trying to portray.     DeWayne Peterson

Hell House

Hell House, a documentary by George Ratliff, portrays the development of Trinity Church's own haunted hell house. The purpose of the exhibit and the documentary itself is to use scare tactics to persuade and manipulate the viewer and the audience to the exhibit to convert to Christianity and beg to be saved. I feel as though I watched this entire documentary with my shoulders clenched expecting the worse. The warning at the beginning of the film was an interesting tactic. It was odd to me that he was apologizing for the way society was and that he couldn't do anything to change it. Also, after this warning I was expecting an immediate horrid sight yet the organization of the film had the most unsettling images at the very end of the film. Other tactics that surprised me were the interviews with people in front of the bright white light. This was interesting because of the discussion some of the people putting on hell house have during the building session about how they shouldn't have the color white anywhere because it has too much hope. I think that the video wasn't meant to be ironic in any way but it being shown through the life of the single father with four children just didn't fit the overall message. Even the teenager at one point discusses her time in foster care and says that she believes God will forgive you no matter what, yet the point of the Hell House is to show people that their decisions cannot be forgiven unless they beg for forgiveness. Overall, the documentary was presented in an effective way to prove the point they were trying to make.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hell House

Hell House, a documentary by George Ratliff, is a film about a haunted house put on every year by the Trinity Church. It’s goal is to scare sinners into believing in God for fear of going to Hell. Ratliff uses several techniques which change the dynamic of the documentary. One of the first techniques I noticed was the use of lighting in the first seen as one of the leaders of the church explains how it is the church’s responsibility to scare non-Christians of hell by using the haunted house. As the leader, a Christian, speaks, the background is bright white, and almost looks angelic. Also, at the end of part one, several yound adults talk about what they believe hell to be like. You can immediately tell these were Christians explaining what they thought because of the background and lighting. They are personified in this way as “Godly.” Lighting is also used in this documentary

Another technique in the documentary is the clips of all the people in the community coming together to be a part of Hell House. The people seem very eager and excited about the haunted house, and you can see just how many people attend Hell House. This technique makes the viewer realize the importance of the community. If a new church were to attempt to make a haunted house such as Hell House, I believe their community would be angered or the people of the church even offended. However, perhaps the reason Hell House still exists is the huge community involved with the actually project of the Haunted House. It may make the church feel like they are a part of helping convert non-believers, instead of focusing on the reality of the extremes they are going to get their message across at the risk of offending others.

Hell House

Qian Zhang

In the documentary Hell House, documentarian employs sequence skillfully makes the whole film organized, making the viewers further understand how the hell house develops and why following God is important for our lives. When I watch the whole film, I feel like I am a member of the group who created hell house. From the beginning part, the filmmaker presents a discussion in church about which behaviors count as sin typically and what would be shown in hell house. Meanwhile, the filmmaker forces the viewers to consider the same question, what is sin in your opinion? Then the filmmaker interviews some people about this question to establish suspense that what would be presented in the hell house. In the middle of the documentary, the filmmaker mainly focuses on the auditions of different cases and how the actors prepared for the show. Moreover, the filmmaker interviews Christians about what God tells us to do and which behavior is sin and we should not do. In that sense, the filmmaker force audience to rethink sin and Christianility, along with what we have done count as sin in our daily lives. In the end of the film, the filmmaker presents the shows in hell house from an audience’s view as well as the reactions from the audience when they watch the show. By this method, the viewers could deeply understand sin and Christianility. Besides, by presenting vividly scenes of the show in hell house, the end of documentary establishes credibility that we would not be punished if we follow God and our life would take a significant turn. Consequently, sequence plays an important role in the whole film. Filmmaker makes the viewers involved in the development of hell house and let them consider the meaning of sin, what happens around us are sin as well as that we would be protected by the favor of God.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Roger and Me

Michael Moore uses irony many times throughout his film, Roger and Me. One example is the music he uses throughout the film. He plays the song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, by the Beach Boys, while he showed video of crumbling houses and destroyed neighborhoods. It’s ironic because a happy song is being played against a sad and destroyed background. Moore’s title Roger and Me is also ironic because Moore only meets Roger Smith very briefly and Smith doesn’t even answer Moore’s questions.

Another ironic aspect would be Moore’s interviews with the workers affected by the closings and the rich who live in Flint or just visiting. All the workers speak of their bleak futures trying to make it through every day. The rich, however, speak only of the good aspects of Flint only they can afford. In addition, the rich people who are paid to visit Flint only see the good things. They ignore the bad occurrences and speak of changing things that never occur.

Moore also uses irony when the Miss America star is talking. He is asking her questions about Flint and the closing of the plants. She however, only talks about herself and how she wants Flint to wish her luck in the completion, instead of her caring about the city.

At the end of the movie he uses irony when speaking with the woman who sells and kills rabbits for food and income. She tells Moore she intends to go to school to become a veterinary assistant and dog groomer. It’s ironic because before he showed the scene of her killing and skinning a rabbit and now she plans to go back to school to take care of animals.

His greatest use of irony though was showing the parade that occurred in Flint. Such a happy celebration should have never taken place because the city was falling apart due to the closing of all the plants.

Moore’s use of irony helps illustrate the differences between the rich and poor in the struggling city of Flint.

Irony in "Roger & Me"

Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me” thrives on his use of irony. Much of his message is conveyed through the ironic juxtaposition of the way the upper-class people of Flint live and how the poor live. Though it is humorous at times, the reality of poverty in the city of Flint is overwhelmingly depressing. We see this especially in one of the opening scenes, in which Moore drives through the downtown area, showing us all the boarded up windows and shops, while the Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” plays in the background. This creates a feeling of deprivation in the viewers, because the scene in front of us is definitely not as cheerful or optimistic as the soundtrack. Another scene that shows Moore’s ironic tendencies is the scene in which the upper-class of Flint throw a grand opening party at the new jail, and couple are shown paying to spend the night in a jail cell. This is ironic because the reason for the new jail is that the crime rate in Flint has skyrocketed, and the city had to build a building one block wide in order to hold the influx of inmates. The celebration of this in the form of a party shows us the ignorance of the upper-class, and although it is a bit humorous, it is sad at the same time. Moore uses this irony symbolically to show that there is a disconnect between the reality of Flint, and the way the people of power see the economic situation.

Winter 367: Roger and Me

Irony in Roger and Me
Irony has a variety of different meanings but as I did my research on definitions I came across a meaning that really went well with Roger and me. The definition came from dictionary.com and stated irony as being a technique of indication through characteristics or plotting, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually stated. This definition fit well into the persuasive ironic tactics that Michael Moore Presented.
As I begin to watch this documentary I get a little confused but as Michael Moore continues to market his message I realize that the documentary means more then what we initially see. The film Roger and Me is a documentary filmed by Moore who is trying not only to get a message across but also an answer. The answer Moore is trying to get is why the people from the Union and GM are so careless about the jobs that were lost through the company. The message Moore is trying to deliver is that the reason behind the closing of several major plants is not the reason that GM says they are closing the plants. Some ways Moore influences this is through irony.
One specific scene that Moore uses irony is during the parade. An example is specifically when Ronald McDonald out of all people is riding down the street on a car and shouts out “isn’t this a great day for a parade”. This was one of the most important irony moments that Moore used to influence the audience to think more about the actual situation. The question that Ronald McDonald asked the crowd of thousands of jobless citizens seemed not only to be a rhetorical tactic but also a rhetorical question. There were plenty other moments during the parade that were ironic which played a big role in influencing the audience to understand what Moore was doing. The entire parade was ironic.

Irony in Roger and Me

I thought the film "Roger and Me" was very interesting how it presented the issues throughout the film. But I felt was the most extreme use of irony presented and used in the movie was the woman who was selling the rabbits. She was raising rabbits in her backyard because she had no other job (besides raising dogs) and she was selling them to make a profit. but was ironic about it was she was selling them for both food and pets. Not everyone could afford to buy a pet and keep it alive but everyone needed to eat. This woman ha to do anything to survive including selling rabbits in their two extreme forms. And to top it all of at the end of the movie she was being interviewed again and she said that she hoped to get enough money to go back to school and become a veterinary technician!! I couldn't believe that. Another use of irony throughout the film was how he followed the deputy sheriff on his daily travels. First of all it was ironic that the only one who had a consent job was the one kicking out the other people from their homes that didn't have jobs. And I also found it interesting when he said that he got his current job of deputy sheriff when he quit working at the GM plant because it felt like a prison. Because for almost everyone else in Flint it was their life and a great one. And now that it was closed the prisons were filling up incredibly fast. The people that the sheriff was kicking out were also spending their money on other things besides rent. They were buying new clothes and presents while they could not pay for their house. Another use of irony that I found particularly amusing were the rich people spending a night in prison. It was a new prison that was built to handle the dramatic increase of criminal in the city and all of the wealthy people with financial security were spending a joyous fun evening their for their own enjoyment. Michael Moore used a lot of irony throughout the film and used it very well.

Irony in Roger & Me

Matt Murray

Throughout the documentary Roger and Me, the creator of the film, Michael Moore used many different forms of irony. Some examples of this is the multiple times Moore pays visits to various high end clubs that Roger Smith was a member of to see if he could speak with him, which displayed irony in that the man that was responsible for putting so many people out of work was busy blowing large amounts of money to partake in leisurely activities that these workless people could never even dream of partaking in. Another form of irony utilized by Moore was how he highlighted that some of the former GM employees who had been laid off decided to take correctional officer positions at the local prisons, and the majority of those who took that job ended up seeing some of their former co-workers in the prison that they were now employed with. The form of irony that Moore used in the film that was the most substantial in my opinion though, was showing the family being evicted from their house on Christmas Eve, while also playing the speech that Roger Smith had been giving at a Christmas party for GM. Here, Moore showed a family that was in a great deal of pain and agony in having to deal with being evicted from their house on Christmas Eve, while the speech Smith had been giving at the same time was one that talked about happiness, hope and positivity that completely contradicted what was occurring between the two scenes. This scene, to me, was Moore's most persuasive presentation of irony throughout the film.

Irony In Roger and Me

Michael Moore's docutmentary Roger and Me has irony seeping everywhere. In every single part of the movie, beginning, middle, end, you can point out things that are sarcastic in the way they are portrayed. One of the things I noticed to be quite ironic was that someone like Ms. America is trained, from the moment they enter beauty pagents, to answer real world questions with a quick answer and genuinly know what it is they're talking about. Ms. America takes pride in being involved in various issues going on around the world to promote "world peace". The irony is that she could probably answer a touchy topic about an issue in another country with much grace on stage, but when it comes to knowing what's going on in her own state, she seems clueless and almost like it's "out of sight, out of mind". The way Moore bombards her is really used to his advantage because it makes her look bad and uneducated on issues she SHOULD care about more than pagents questions.
Another point in time where I found some irony is when Moore and the film crew go to the Great Gatsby party he interviews people attending the party about what they think about all the jobs that have been laid off recently. Here again we see people saying things like it's not as bad as it seems, when we were clearly just shown boarded up, almost demolished homes. Then the women with their husbands start talking about "all" the things Flint, Michigan has to offer, her examples are ballet and hockey that THEIR kids had access to. Not thinking that, that option is not available to everyone, they can afford it, regular people can't even afford their houses, let alone extra activities for their children.

Roger and Me

I think that Moore's use of irony in Roger and me is the post effective tactic used. In many scenes Moore will restate what exactly his point was in that scene. Moore doing so makes his point very clear so that way if maybe you didn't catch the overall point he tells you or reminds you. In many scenes in the film after he speaks to someone in charge Moore has a voice over containing a comment on perhaps a real reason. For example when Moore went to the private club to see if Roger was in there was not a voice over used in the actual scene because everything he got to say inside the question and answer between him and the guy at the front desk. It seems as if Roger is almost in hiding during this documentary because he did not meet up with Moore at the Cafe either. But the way Moore approaches the situatuation and using the irony of his voice over kind of shows that maybe Roger know firing all of the empoloyees at General Motors in Flint was wrong but it could also show that maybe Roger only wants to improve his company by putting General Motors in foreign countries.
Overall I think that Moore's comments and irony throughout out this film are his biggest tactics used to explain and help him make his point throughout the film.

Roger and Me

The irony in Roger and Me is very effective throughout the entire film. Moore uses irony to get the viewers to agree with his point of you. When I think of irony I think of the word opposite. Something either an action or song/statement is telling me something but in reality the exact opposite is happening. One example in the film is when the upper class people in Flint are having the "Great Gatsby" party. The rich people are telling them that you know it may be hard times but there are jobs available and fun things to do like ballet, but then you see the African American people acting as statues. So this is the type of jobs they have created for some people? Thats irony because things are not great and there really are not jobs available. I think that another part is when the four older ladies are golfing. They seem like there is really nothing going on and they just say, "oh go find another job." They even call them lazy and say the are taking the easy way out. Well there is just not enough jobs available right now in Flint. One of the examples I liked most in the film was in AutoWorld. AutoWorld was supposed to be the dream indoor theme park. In in, GM put an auto worker with the thing that replaced him on the line, a machine. There is a song playing and its called, "Me and My Buddy." Well this "buddy" took over the mans job and made him jobless and probably pretty poor. So the songs draws out the irony of the scene. One of the final shots of irony is at the end, when we hear Roger Smith talking about individual dignity and talking about the trees of Christmas. As this speech is going on a woman is being evicted and her Christmas tree got thrown away and she is cursing up a storm. This movie had a ton of irony in it. Overall, I thought it got its message across and was pretty persuasive.

Irony used in Roger and Me

     There were many different descriptions for the definition of irony, all meaning essentially the same thing, but my favorite wording was from grammar.about.com.  The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea. 
     Michael Moore uses irony masterfully in this film with his voice over editorials throughout the film and with the interview of the couple at the Great Gatsby party focusing on what is supposed to be good about Flint. The interview made them seem really out touch with reality
     It was also very ironic that he was from the town of Flint and he knew what it had been compared to what it had become.  That made it a perfect documentary because it made me the viewer who has never been to Flint, understand what was happening there, or at least Moore's view of what was happening there..
     Moore also used his interview with Ms. Michigan during a parade that looked very depressing in the background with boarded up stores and less than excited attendees compared to her going on and winning the Ms. USA title as a kind of glamor versus depression. I also found it amazing that they put as much money as they did into the vacation and visitors and conventions department as a last ditch effort to get people to come to Flint on vacation or to bring conventions there.
      Another scene that stuck with me was the optimism at the GM Christmas eve party compared to the fact that people were getting evicted from there home and the nonchalant attitude that the CEO had when Moore was finally able to ask him a few questions. Irony was used by playing happy Christmas music while touring the boarded up depressing looking town of Flint at the end of the film.  Moore used the rhetorical device of irony in this film to show the viewer from his opinion that the upper class of people were out of touch with what was going on throughout the film. 
      Dewayne Peterson

Irony in Roger and Me

In Michael Moore's documentary Roger and Me Moore uses irony to help show his point in the film. One case of irony is when Moore is filming all of the abandoned houses in Flint and while he is doing that he is playing the soundtrack Wouldn't it be nice by the Beatles. This is ironic because most people would associate that song with being positive and happy but the scene is sad and disappointing because all of the abandoned houses that are empty and run down. Showing these houses catches the viewers attention and when they hear the music they start to think more about the meaning of it. Another bit of irony is when the last truck is coming off the assembly line. As this happens all the employees are cheering and celebrating that last truck but in reality like the one man said they are cheering that they just lost their job. The viewer at first thinks this is a happy occasion and something good but having the one man point out they are celebrating the end of their jobs brings the audience back to reality that life isn't good in Flint.

irony in Roger and Me

Irony is the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. In Michael Moore’s documentary Roger and Me, he uses irony as a rhetorical device to show what a bad situation the people and town of Flint, Michigan are in. He actually opens the film with a bit of irony, showing how easy his childhood was and then telling us he desired something more, and wanted to get out of Flint. In showing the viewer how easy his childhood was his actual point is that it wasn’t what he wanted, and to create an ironic contrast of Flint’s beginning with it’s current struggles. He does this again when he shows the black and white television show scene of a mother warmly welcoming her son home. Moore then switches to a scene of his return to Flint after a few years away and we see masses of people losing their jobs at GM. He continually uses this contrast of implied perfection and stark reality through these ironic sequences of scenes, to present the situation Flint is in as a dire one. Further into the film this irony is seen in the only stable job being held by the man responsible for evicting others from their homes, the Sheriff’s Deputy. When GM closes its factory in Flint the workers are celebrating the last car coming off the assembly line, which is ironic because this event is telling of their imminent unemployment. The people of Flint have a parade meant to celebrate the sit down strike that took place there years before, while they are personally losing their jobs. Moore uses irony to show that Flint, Michigan is in a very poor situation, and to evoke sympathy through the contrast and satirical humor used to illustrate this.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Roger and Me

Alex Young

Though I saw attempts at using irony as a rhetorical tactic in Roger and Me, I don’t think the effect that Michael Moore had intended it to give came across. One scene in particular stands out to me, where he is talking about how great Christmas is, and Moore is showing a scene of a family being evicted from their home. This is ‘ironic’ because normally families are giving and receiving presents, the family on camera is having their home taken away. I think he was trying to say that while the CEO of General Motors is having a jolly ol’ time over Christmas, a family in the town where the GM factory had closed down. He had spent the whole movie implying that Roger Smith was closing the factory was the sole reason for the town being in such a poor condition. Many of his uses of ‘irony’ as a rhetorical tactic, relied on the viewer buying into his claim, which didn’t work for me. Another example is earlier on in the film, where the people in the factory are celebrating the last car going through the assembly line. This is ironic, because as one person put it “I don’t see why they’re celebrating, they all just lost their jobs”. They are practically celebrating the loss of their jobs. I’m not sure why he put that scene in the film because to me, it seemed like the people maybe didn’t understand the situation. To me, it seemed like the people were probably a little bit ignorant, which, since he was claiming that he was helping the people, might have been counterproductive. I think if Moore had better established his ethos early on, then his use of irony as a rhetorical tactic, as well as other rhetorical tactics used, would have been more effective on convincing the audience to support him.

Irony in Roger and me

In the documentary Roger and me, owing to layoff of thousands General Motor workers in Flint, a large number of workers would not support their families any more, even they have to move to other places for living. Moreover, crime rate is increasing and economy is depressed in that city. Filmmaker seeks out the CEO of GM, Roger Smith to query him about social responsibility and the layoff effect to development of the whole city. However, in the process of seeking Roger, Roger’s attitude towards GM’s layoff is aloof and indifferent. Moore uses irony as an effective technique to persuade viewers Roger should be responsible for the city’s backwardness and take social responsibility. For example, Moore tries to talk with Roger in various ways, while each time he was restrained by security guards or officers in GM Company, which makes viewers feel like Roger even dares not to confront with this issue. In this sense, Moore satirizes Roger’s aloof reaction to layoff and indifferent to citizen’s well-being. This irony technique reminds me of another documentary, The Cove which also uses irony to convince viewers. In The Cove, when filmmakers just come to the city, they are warned not to go to the places government officers showed. However, their behaviors indicate they are harboring some guilty secrets. Similar to Roger and me, Roger’s dodging about implies he is guilty and should face this problem. Besides, Moore employing irony technique skillfully makes the ending part a tricky one. The footage shows a family who was GM’s worker before is busy moving out of a house because of not having enough money, while Roger’s speech voice covers the video. Roger sends Christmas greeting to citizens but meanwhile, one family is cursing Roger who causes their current condition. Filmmaker Moore uses juxtaposition as a strategy to further contribute irony technique in the film and arouse social concern about this issue and criticize Roger’s layoff decision, his apathetic attitude and evading responsibility.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Irony in Roger & Me

Michael Moore seems to use irony as his main tactic throughout "Roger & Me."  He consistently uses voice-overs that seem to mock the message of certain scenes.  For example, when he is interviewing Bob Eubanks, you hear Moore say how wholesome the Newlywed Game is, but then you are shown a clip of Eubanks making dirty, racist jokes, and using foul language, not something you would expect out of a "wholesome" man like him.  There are also many places in the film where the things said during an interview, don't match up with what you're seeing in the background.  When Moore speaks to the former factory worker who is now a prison guard, he says that the work is nicer there.  While he is giving  his opinion, an inmate starts yelling and swearing, which makes you question how much better it could really be to work there.  Moore's use of irony is meant to make the viewer question what they are seeing and hearing.  Executives and other members of the upper class with secure jobs and a surplus of many are caught saying all kinds of positive things about the layoffs, and how well things will soon be going for everyone.  Then the exact opposite is shown.  People are getting kicked out of their homes and thrown into jail.  It makes the viewer question if these upper class citizens actually know what is going on in their town.

Moore's Irony

In Roger and Me, Michael Moore goes about making his film behind the theory of irony completely. Basically, irony is using words or scenes to convey the opposite meaning of the actual literal meaning. An example of this would be to say what a glorious day we have outside, when it is pouring down rain. To some, it is poking fun at a situation and showing what is really happening and what should. Moore starts out by giving his childhood up bringing then quickly going downhill from there the whole movie by showing how bad it really does get. You see scene from back in the fifties and the likes there of with thousands of people it seems, massive parades, and money pouring into the local economy through the help of all the massive GM plants located there. It really makes you sad to see how bad it really has become in that town. Moore talks about how almost all of his family had worked in some way shape or form at the General Motors plants there in town, but Moore himself didn’t want to do that when he grew up. So in a sense, Moore is irony to his family because they have done all this work for the company, then their son becomes a documentary film maker doing a film on the plants closing down for good and then town collapsing on itself. I’m sure they never would have thought they would see the day. Later in the movie, Moore goes to polo game that one of the founding families has every year in Flint. They hire people from the town to be human statues who have lost their jobs but the irony is when Moore talks to the executives about the problem, the people who are affected, and the workers turned statues, cannot say anything at all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter 367: The Passion of Michael Moore

Working Class Hero

The article about Michael Moore that I read was the Working Class Hero written by Louise Spence. Spence’s main focus was two documentaries, the first being Moore’s persona roger and me in contradicting Tony Buba’s persona Lighting over Braddock. Both of these films are similar focusing on the unemployment of plant closings in the filmmaker’s hometowns. Also with this was the focus on how helpless the large corporations were regarding this issue. Spence wanted to break down in detail the two filmmakers in how they approached this documentary in different ways.
Spence’s view on Moore was rather intriguing because he described Moore as sort of a joke in some ways. He explained how Moore did not fully emphasis his points and how it seemed as if Moore was confused himself on the way he presented Roger and Me. Spence also feels that Moore is rather cocky so to say because Moore gave a leader vibe to people as if he was always right. Overall when it comes to Spence’s view on Moore he basically described Moore as having a reverse psychology type of lifestyle and is somewhat weird.
I would say that Spence is right in many ways because as I analyzed roger and me there was a confused feeling on what Moore was trying to convey and how he was trying to do it. Sometimes it was like Moore was making the viewer think more then what they needed to think which sort of the outline of the entire documentary was.

Role Model? I think NOT.

The article titled “Michael Moore, Role Model”, Peter Schweizer tells us about how all the ways Moore likes to preach his believes, but doesn’t always practice what he says. He points out the fact that Moore bashes society for being greatly racist. He complains that only 5% of the journalism employees are African American and that people in America don’t want to melt together and avoid living in the same neighborhood as blacks. He says this, but Schweizer is quick to tell us that Moore’s very own neighborhood he lives in Caucasian. When we find this out as readers all we can see is how hypocritive Moore is. He wants to say racism is a problem but he himself is contributing to this “problem”. Moore also tells everyone around him that he does not invest in the stock market and that the stock market is only to benefit people who are already wealthy. Things like the stock market are only making it harder on the disadvantaged families. However, Moore actually invests in several large corporations. Again how hypocritical can one person be? I agree completely with Schweizer after reading his article about Moore. This man seems completely, not only hypocritical, but also self centered. He’s pointing fingers at everyone else in America and saying what they’re doing is wrong and that they should do what he believes in and we would be a better country. But he is doing those very things he supposedly doesn’t believe in. Stop looking at everyone else and focus on you.

Who's Afraid of Michael Moore?

I read the “Who is comfortable with Michael Moore?” article. Michael Moore shows that in Sicko, the health care industry as basically turned down 50 million Americans because they don’t adhere to the right companies or insurance corporations. Moore goes on to show a bunch of different examples, and probably one of the most notable is a carpenter who lost two fingers to a circular saw. Now the cost to fix both fingers would be around eighty thousand dollars, and the man couldn’t afford to have them both fixed. He did however to have the ring finger replaced because he was married and as Moore called it, “a hopeless romantic”. Now there are some obvious flaws in our system. And most agree that Moore does a good job breaking through the red tape and getting the truth, but with that being said most say that he is a very crude film maker. He’s portrayed in some lights as a “professional journalist”, but most of the media realizes this isn’t so. Moore uses dark humor and tries to poke fun at the establishment apparently, I however can’t really comment too much on this because I have never seen any of his films. He talks about how back in the seventies or eighties when Regan was president, how things were pretty bleak and the system needed reform. When Clinton came into office, it seemed as if there would be universal health care for all. As we know now that hasn’t really occurred. Currently, the Senate is trying to overturn it. It seems to be the overwhelming consensus that either you agree and like Moore, or you know he’s bring the issues to the surface but do not either appreciate his tactics or like him as a person. Some say he doesn’t use facts, other may say he cuts corners, but it still seems the main idea is still intact.

Michael Moore Article

In the article "Working-Class Hero: Michael Moore’s Authorial Voice and Persona," Louise Spence looks at Michael Moore's persona in connection to his film-making.  He looks just like the "everyman" but really views himself as being better than the average person.  Since he includes himself in each of his films, the audience is able to see a side of his persona.  Though it is hard to say if this is his "real" self.  Moore shows himself as being sure of everything that he speaks about, and is skeptical of everything that the opposing side has to say.  Instead of Moore including information from all sides of what is being argued, he is sure to only include things that will benefit his argument, and further promote his side.  He is rather inconsiderate and says unnecessary things to politicians and celebrities alike, and works to destroy their ideas to make his seem more important and correct.  Spence goes on to explain that Moore is not intellectual in many of his films and writings, but instead just wants to showcase his distrust and disrespect for all authority.

I must say that I agree with Spence's viewpoint of Moore.  Although I have never seen his documentaries, I have seen him on certain news programs where he has come across as a rather pretentious man.  He seems to believe that he is always right, and his view on certain subjects should be the view of all Americans.  He doesn't come across as a person who wants to better America, but rather as someone who wants to belittle everyone who has ideas that he thinks are totally wrong, just because it's not what he thinks.

The Perils of Michael Moore

The article I read, called The Perils of Michael Moore: Political Criticism in an Age of Entertainment, written by Kevin Mattson, describes Moore as a documentarian out to change the world. Mattson begins by describing Moore’s start in the business of filmmaking. He continues throughout the article, speaking about each of Moore’s films and the different kinds of impacts they have had on America. For instances, Mattson talks about Bowling for Columbine and how Moore and two students convinced Kmart to stop selling the type of bullets that were used in the Columbine shooting. This illustrates the power that Moore and is camera can have when big companies’ dark sides are presented to the public. Mattson praises Moore but also chastises him for failing to get interviews with important people in most of his movies. Mattson doesn’t understand why Moore has to use humor in every situation, even a serious one. His use of humor is a big turn off for all his interviewees and causes him to lose out on important information from CEOs. Moore is forced to use outside information from secretaries and security guards.
Mattson also criticizes Moore for linking together pictures of random occurrences trying to make a point that never really reaches the audience. Mattson does point out though that even though Moore doesn’t reach the big CEOs of companies, other parts of his films are factually correct. For instance, how news stations after Columbine were making smaller news bigger in hopes to frighten its viewers. Mattson seems to appreciate the information that Moore exposes to the public, but doesn’t always agree with the way Moore obtains the information or how he presents it.

I do agree with Mattson, Moore is striving to expose the dark side of big business through humor to make the film entertaining. This does help make the films entertaining but also limits the scope that Moore can accomplish. As Mattson says, “Generating a humorous buzz doesn’t shake things up so much as symbolize powerlessness.” Moore may be able to change some aspects that he doesn’t like about America, but his use of humor sometimes turns people away from answering his questions. I also agree that the way Moore presents the information he collects may not always be in the right format. Moore may need to focus less on the entertainment aspect of his films and more on presenting the evidence.

SiCKO! Paris: Health Care that works

Alex Young

The author appears to support Michael Moore’s opinions on American health care with regards to Parisian health care. In the article, he sites many examples from historic records that match what Moore had stated in his documentary SiCKO. He states that SiCKO is not a new idea or opinion, but a restatement of what has been said in the past by other doctor[s] or social analysts. Moore states in his documentary that in terms of financial and research investment, the U.S. and France are relatively equivalent. However, when it comes to satisfaction of the population in relation to their existing health care system, Paris outranked the U.S. by far. He argued that this proved that the key to a good health care system didn’t exist simply in the investment made, but in the proper structure and deployment of the system. The author then goes on to mention a bit of history about the growths and reforms of health care in France and America. He followed the tale of a student-turned-doctor who went from America to France in order to learn their system. The author cited portions of letters that this doctor sent back to America about his findings about the way that health care was taught in Paris compared to America. Of course, his findings were that There were practices that had existed and were being developed in France that America hadn’t even begun to explore, which allowed for them to move further ahead with a more structured and practical system. Notably, the use of cadavers to learn about origin and residence of disease in patients, as well as learn proper anatomy of the human body. This was something that supposedly wasn’t being studied anywhere else aside from Paris. Among other mentions in the text, the author makes many points that support Moore’s claims in his documentary, that France’s health care system is far ahead of Americas, and that we have much that we can learn from them presently, as well as historically.

The Perils of Michael Moore

In “The Perils of Michael Moore”, Kevin Mattson discusses Michael Moore’s filmmaking style, content, and level of effectiveness. He argues that Moore’s use of humor causes his message to be lost in jokes and irony. He also thinks that his aggressiveness in pushing his message on viewers can be overwhelming and turns people off. As I have seen some of his films, I can completely agree with his view on Moore. Without getting political, I can’t say that Moore’s films have ever motivated me or anyone I know to do something about the issue he sheds light on, even if I agree with his stance. They are entertaining, and in the moment that I watch them I may think that there is corruptness in America, but after the films is over, I rarely, if ever, think about the message presented again. Moore presents himself as an average middle-class American, but his films are made for a very limited group of far-leftists who are already trying to change the system. For others who aren’t as extreme in their views, his message seems like just a humorous way to present a current issue. They never discuss the other side of the problem, and seem very narrow in what is right and wrong. His aggressive interview tactics are uncomfortable, and his use of irony can be awkward. Overall, I agree with Mattson in his idea that Moore’s films are more about entertainment than change.