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Bowling For Columbine?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Anyone see it? What did you think? I think Michael Moore asks lots of questions but does not get much in the way of conclusive answers. He's funny and disturbing but I am left with a sense of weird futilty about our culture and it's attitudes. Are we a culture of fear and paranoia? Many countries have guns available to the average citizen. Many countries have violent video games and mivies. Only the US has the number of deaths related to guns. The sheer scale is baffling when compared to these other countries.

America remains a mystery to me and I live here.

post #2 of 36
for a fake it was ok. I do not like lyes so when he lied about getting a gun at the bank like that instead of telling the teuth I didn't want to give the mjovie any good things.

Just my two cents as everyone says!!!
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hey. I tend to avoid lye too

Can you be specific as to where you think the film lied? I'm curious.

post #4 of 36
I said at the bank when he got the gun he did not really get the gun that day it was after a week of backgrund checks so he lied.
post #5 of 36
I thought it was an amazing film, very powerful. It really inspired me, and rather than making me feel futile, it made me feel as if *I* could ake a difference. Lok at Michael Moore- he is just one person, yet he has really opened up a lot of minds to to the issues of violence in our society. A small group of people got K-Mart to stop selling bullets. That really spoke to me about what is possible.
post #6 of 36
I saw it back when it was @ the movies & have it on my netflix list so I can refresh myself. I found it thought provoking & think he was deliberatley ambigiuos about his "message" no big inspirational "here's what we need to now" thing. I can't wait to see it again so I can discuss better.

There was also a thread in media about it that I'm surprised didn't get moved over here, frankly. There were a number of critical posts ("he lied") over there, too by people who didn't see it~ DH2Carmen, did you see it yourself or are you relying on someone else's interpretation of it? & how do you know *they* aren't lying to further their own agenda?

blessings, maria
post #7 of 36
I finally rented this movie this weekend. I recommend it. In fact, I rented "Roger and Me" and started that one too..."Columbine" plays off it at points, almost distrubingly like a sequel.

What I found most disturbing were the points in the little cartoon about the founding of the NRA and the connection one might make with the KKK...well, most disturbing, perhaps not. The whole darn thing was disturbing. The footage of people being killed by guns was sickening. But I understand that's the point.

And for the record, I distinctly remember the woman at the bank saying, very clearly, "After the background checks," as she explained to Mr. Moore that the bank is licensed to deal guns. This was when he was in her office filling out the background check paperwork. And he did make the point several times that he is an NRA member, grew up shooting guns. His point was that the bank was using guns as a premium for selling another, totally unrelated, product. And that the bank actually became a licensed dealer in order to offer this promotion. He asked whether it seemed odd to be handing out guns at a bank.

I think we are fed a steady diet of fear and sex, because that seems to be what we want--just like fast food. Somewhere inside, we know it's bad for us, both individually and as a society, but we keep asking for more--by not turning it off, boycotting sponsors, writing/calling to let networks know we deserve better. I think after Pres. Bush's last speech, it's clear that fearmongering is the best way to keep America from asking too many questions.

I felt so terrible for the father of one of the boys who comitted the shooting, when they played his 9-1-1 call over the video of the cafeteria in the school...imagining what truly awful things he had to have been considering, imagining having to make such a call, and face people whose kids my son was in the process of killing. :shudder.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
I think the numbers used to illustrate the number of deaths by country via firearm were definitely disturbing. Then again. I realize that the populations of the countries involved would not allow for a neat comparison between say, Germany and the US. I would like to find numbers for the entire EU compared to the USA for death by firearm. The two populations would then be more alike.

My conclusions about this film are that it's good and told in a very entertaining and ironic manner but that it's agenda shifts wildly. Is it anti-gun or anti-gun-culture or just anti-our-culture.

Honestly I think the film makes me perceive American culture as a highly stressful and over-adrenalized. People snap here. It's the richest country in the world and people here get least amount of time off. Stress in the schools and the workplaces here is insane and people are reacting to it lethally. The guns themselves are to me just tools being put to the wrong purpose. We live in a land where overusing them makes sense for some reason. We have to look more at why this is so. This film helped me to understand that.

Maybe we do have more guns than we need but even so, the whys of Columbine point more toward how we allow children to alienate each other at school. This film helped me see how dehumanizing this society has become and I do not think it's the video games or the movies that are making it happen.

See it and then decide for yourself if it's all lies.

post #9 of 36
I actually use lye all the time for soapmaking.

There was some false info in the movie but I am pretty certain it was just that one thing. It has been all in the media that his information presented in the film about background checks was false.

I really feel he dropped the ball on that one. If you are going to make a film attacking the NRA you *have* to have *all* of your ducks in line as they'll attack anything in the film they can.

A licensed dealer must do background checks. If you are a regular person and you sell someone one of your weapons it does **not** require a background check (though Colorado passed a law after Columbine requiring checks for all gun sales) This **can** include people selling guns at gunshows. Not everyone who sells a gun at a gunshow is a licensed dealer.

I am not certain how much Moore went into all of that in the movie as I have not seen it.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
I think gun shows are a huge part of the problem. That's just my opinion. FWIW.

I am not entirely anti-gun. I found the movie to be really interesting as an approach to docu-film-making. I think wherever you sit on the gun issue, this movie will make you think. It's not as virulently anti-gun as the gun lobby would make it out to be so I think even if you happen to be pro-gun, you should check it out. Some of the footage is disturbing though. Not for the faint of heart.

post #11 of 36
Originally posted by dentente

Well said! I think Moore is a little too loose with chronology and context to really be considered a documentarian. But he certainly knows how to make a strong statement.
post #12 of 36
The movie was....eh.

I would never rely on Michael Moore for gospel truth presented in film, but I don't think he necessarily lies any more than any other commentator. I believe, though, that the 'cartoon history' was meant to be tongue in cheek, especially about the NRA-KKK connection. Moore seems to be kind of a tongue-in-cheek sort of man anyway, I doubt he's thinking that his movies should be held to (or taken) the same standards as...oh, say Ken Burns.

I didn't feel the movie was all that revolutionary or controversial, or even shocking. But my political leanings are towards gun control anyway, and I've seen a few people get shot as well as the (usually fatal) aftermath of People Being Idiots With Guns. Also, would this movie change anyone's mind? If I were a militia person, or was anti-gun-control, the tone would have been a turn off.

I enjoyed the extras on the flip side of the DVD more than the film. I've never liked Michael Moore before, but I kind of like him the person now after seeing some of his interviews. I understand why people are drawn to him, he does project a kind of charisma that I don't feel in his films, but comes readily across in his interviews.

But...that's just my take on it. It's a good thing to watch when you are feeling snarky and cornered what with all the Bush nonsense going on, because then you get to laugh at the dumb people who don't share your views.

I have to ask though...why would anyone who already feels strongly about being pro-gun-control be disturbed by this film? Did you not already know the statistics or have seen what happens when people get shot? Was it a great surprise to you that the media is geared up to instill fear in us over really really really STUPID crap? Was it comforting to buy into the stereotype of gun-toting American as hick or misfit? I think Moore is kind of like a leftist version of Rush Limbaugh. They're both pretty smart guys, passionate about their causes, and are eager to prove them with a bit of wit (on occasion) but mostly just making fun of those they don't agree with. (Though I have to admit I find Moore FAR more witty than Mr. Limbaugh). It is entertainment with a point. But not necessarily what you could call a balanced report.
post #13 of 36
I got the sense that he started the film with one hypothosis "access to guns cause deaths" or something along that line, and ended up disproving his hypothosis, and instead, raised even more complicated questions. It has brought a lot of discussion between my dh and I and our friends. Literally, very thought provoking.

My favorite part of the dvd was also the flip side. I loved the south park style cartoon and found it hilarious in it's implications. (of course, I have a weird sense of humor). I thought it was very intellegently done.

I think the most moving part of the film was the speech he gave to the college crowd. There was a section in there about how no one was "allowed" into the school and how the people, many of whose children were possible victims, stood dutifully behind the flimsy yellow police tape. How we are so conditioned, as a society, to obey our leadership without question that parents ignored their most primal need (to protect your children) and succumb to authority. Also, how the denver swat wanted to get in there and take care of business, the local police (in charge) wouldn't let them because "they might get shot". It was a full three hours from the end of the shootings until swat was allowed into the building. Who knows how many people bled to death in the wait. Really powerful and amazing speech.

I am going to go rent the other movies by him now. I remember seeing them, but I remember them being "really boring". I think I was maybe not in a place in my life I could appreciate them and want to see them again.
post #14 of 36
By comparison, "Roger and Me" IS really boring--hours of Moore and crew trying to get in to see Roger, and a lot of really surreal reaction to economic failure in between.

I mean, if someone today pulled some of the CRAP on a town where a huge number of people lost jobs, like the crap they "tried" in Flint...well, I don't know. They probably still do. But there is--again--some of that odd humor. The idea of turning Flint into a tourist attraction...or that Amway could be the solution to the job losses...

But I don't know if I'd call it tongue-in-cheek. More like, let's have a laugh at how ridiculous it all is, because the other option is to go insane.
post #15 of 36
One example of a lie that I remember in the film is that he changed (added) information to one of the Bush (sr) election commercials, specifically the one dubbed "Revolving Doors." He adds in the text at the bottom of the screen "Willie Horton Released. Then Kills Again." This statement first off is not true (he raped someone), and second off Willie Horton was not even mentioned in the real ad. In the DVD version, he "corrects" it to say the real crime he committed, but it still isn't accurate because it was not even in the real ad. However, this "lie" is necessary because it ties the add to racism, and Willie Horton is the only POC "mentioned" in the ad.

Another lie is when he "quotes" the Air Force Academy plaque by the B-52 bomber celebrating the massacre of civilians on Christmas Eve. Dh is a NA grad who spent a year there on exchange and was required to know what the plaque says-- it actually just commemorates the brave men who flew the plane over a span of several years, and makes no mention of *anything* Moore says it does.

There are several places online to get info about the "truths" in Bowling for Colombine, but I'm not silly enough to think that anyone here would care, as they're all conservative.

A decent example is : http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel040403.asp

edited because I misnamed the airplane
post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Wendydagny

There are several places online to get info about the "truths" in Bowling for Colombine, but I'm not silly enough to think that anyone here would care, as they're all conservative.

A decent example is : http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel040403.asp
Well, you know what happens when one assumes : . I absolutely want to know. Thanks for the link. Any more you can provide are very welcome.

post #17 of 36
Ah that's what happens when I type fast. Didn't mean "care" exactly....just meant that they'd probably be torn to shreds by several people because of the source.

Here's another that talks about the DVD release:


Some more:
post #18 of 36
i personally really enjoyed the movie. i think most anything that can get people debating issues is a good thing. i also agree with his "fear & guns" connection. there's an actually an interesting article on how bush uses this type of talk in the nation at


it makes for interesting reading.

post #19 of 36
My DH is a deer hunter and he actually really enjoyed this movie. Our history as a nation is all true.... the NRA part.... there's no possibilty of lying there. All I know is there was a bank and it had GUNS!!!!!! I don't understand how any of you could disagree with the point of this movie..... The guy in the Littleton bomb making plant having no clue with the obviouse connection there. It's been a while since I saw the movie.... but I suggest Abimama watches the movie. It is a remarkable piece of journalism...so in depth and it ties a lot of issues together.... WHAT IS IT THEN?????? Why does the United States have sooooooooooooooooo many gun related deaths?????? I know you bring in the population and the math and the ladeedadee, but it is an alarmingly higher number.
post #20 of 36

Making Questions


Just a comment from a foreigner.
I liked the movie, and this was a film that made a lot of noice here in Buenos Aires (Argentina, South America). However, the interesting thing is that the most common negative comment against the movie was that since it got an Oscar (Best documentary fim) folks here say that giving an Oscar to Columbine is the way America has to eat it, KWIM? Like, OK, America makes a movie about how Americans kill themselves and about racism and a whole sense of self blaming for the War and other not-so-nice things. However, on the other hand, the same people the movie points at (the American system) gives the movie an award. And voila! we are all friends.

Anyway, that's not a position I entirely share. I found, as the OP said, the movie poses a lot of questions without getting solid conclussions. Anyway, making questions is just great, isn't it all about that?

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