On Friday night after everyone went to bed, I was still a bit wired, and stayed up to watch Bowling for Columbine. This is Michael Moore’s 2002 documentary on American’s gun culture. In the three years after the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, Michael Moore uses his gonzo documentary style to interview various people, including Charleston Heston (once-president of the NRA), South Park co-creator Matt Stone, alt-rocker (and “family values” target) Marilyn Manson. He also goes after K-Mart for selling guns and ammo, questions why America has such a high death-by-gun murder rate compared to other countries, and also why we have such a fascination with guns. He also bizarrely went after Littleton, Colorado-based Lockheed Martin.
Two interesting facts from IMDB to note:
- Bowling for Columbine was the highest-grossing documentary until 2004 when Fahrenheit 9/11 made more in its opening weekend than this movie did in its entire run.
- This documentary won the Best Documentary Award at the 2003 Academy Awards.
This is my fourth Michael Moore documentary — I’d previously seen Fahrenheit 9/11 in theaters back in 2004, then watched Sicko, Roger & Me, and now Bowling for Columbine (in that order) through home rental. So what did I think of this documentary? I thought it was just okay. So far, I’ve liked his later works (Fahrenheit, Sicko) better than his earlier works (Roger, Columbine.) This documentary had some interesting aspects, but I found Moore to be heavy-handed on blaming K-Mart, Lockheed Martin, and so on. I found the portion on the “Climate of Fear” that permeates the newscycles to be interesting, but I felt that one needs to take a large grain of salt with some of Moore’s other viewpoints. This is certainly worth a rental, but not of my favorites. BTW, I know there was a potential connection between the bowling thing and the Columbine massacre, but I still don’t get why he titled this film Bowling for Columbine.