1. "FIRST PERSON: John Pierson: An Open Letter to Michael Moore." At IndieWire, the producer of Moore's breakthrough, Roger & Me, blasts Moore as an egotist who thinks he's infallible, and endorses the anti-Moore documentary Manufacturing Dissent, which claims Moore did land an interview with GM's then-chairman for Roger & Me, but omitted it to preserve the film's catchy concept.
["Did I know you had interviewed Roger Smith when Roger & Me caught lightning in a bottle back in 1989? No. Do I have any first-hand knowledge now that you covered it up? No. But do I fully and completely believe the testimony of people who were there with you in Flint and have absolutely nothing to gain by lying - eyewitnesses like Nader organizer James Musselman or even Roger Smith himself? Yes I do. And of all the answers you tried to give to explain this away - after starting with an all too typical ad hominem Fox News-style attack - I loved this one the most: 'If I'd gotten an interview with him, why wouldn't I put it in the film?' Jeez Mike, I don't know; maybe because it would utterly destroy the structural essence of your one-man Don Quixote quest to get to GM's Chairman."]
["It's clear that all of Michael Moore's films have the same subject: American democracy, its promise and the many powerful forces that keep that promise from being realized. Not just a populist, he may in fact be the Last Jeffersonian Idealist, the kid in civics class who really believed that if Americans were given the facts and a clear choice, they would make the wisest, most enlightened decisions. Our problem right now, of course, is that American democracy is largely a joke. The people aren't in charge; money is."]
["As funny and endearing as Judd Apatow's proudly vulgar new comedy can be, it may give the viewer nostalgia for the sequence in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) when Jennifer Jason Leigh falls pregnant by a guy she shouldn't be with, promptly gets an abortion, and rides back from the clinic with her brother, who takes her out for a cheeseburger. And that's it: no apparent self-torment, no post-facto breakdown, no further discussion. Twenty-five years later—plus a nationwide swing to the right, the founding of Operation Rescue, and that deathless Ben Folds Five song—Knocked Up presents us with a similarly unpromising scenario: smart twentysomething who just got a big career break has inadvertently fruitful one-night stand with unemployed shlub. Yet in this case, abortion is only briefly suggested by third parties and dismissed out of hand. That's not to say that the outcome is unrealistic: When Allison (Katherine Heigl) bursts into tears at the sight of the heartbeat on the sonogram, it's obvious that ending the pregnancy simply isn't an option for her—just as bearing a child simply isn't an option for Leigh's teenage character in Fast Times. Still, when the closest a movie like Knocked Up comes to even saying the word is "rhymes with shmashmortion," it's clear that we're considering less a depiction of life as actual people live it but rather a pop-culture product that embodies the squeamish contradictions of the mainstream moment a little too accurately. This is a movie, after all, in which Allison always has sex with her bra on but we get an extreme close-up of the baby's head inching through Mom's conspicuously bald vagina. Who knew the miracle of childbirth could be liberated from the dark shame of pubic hair?"]
["Asger Leth's Ghosts of Cité Soleil offers a tour of a notorious, hellish slum in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. There, in 2004, when this documentary was shot, gang leaders known as Chimères (the ghosts of the title) fought with one another, and also with opponents of Haiti's president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, for control of the streets. Mr. Aristide's decade-long decline from hero of democracy to belligerent strongman provides a backdrop for Mr. Leth's focus on two Chimère leaders as they struggle for dominance and survival amid chaos and squalor. The glimpse afforded into their world is impressive in its intimacy; the filmmaker and his camera operators were given remarkable access, and were brave enough to venture into one of the most lawless, desperate and dangerous neighborhoods in the world."]
["NEW YORK - Joel Siegel, a longtime movie critic for WABC-TV and "Good Morning America' who racked up five New York Emmy Awards for his insightful work, died Friday, the television station said. He was 63. The station said Siegel, who was famous for his weekly reviews, had been battling colon cancer. 'Joel was an important part of ABC News and we will miss him," ABC News President David Westin said in a release. 'He was a brilliant reviewer and a great reporter. But much more, he was our dear friend and colleague. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joel's family.'"]
Clip of the Day: Joel Siegel's review of Carrie: The Musical.
_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.