Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine

3.8 73

Cast: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Matt Stone, Marilyn Manson

     
 

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Filmmaker, author, and political activist Michael Moore trains his satirical eye on America's obsession with guns and violence in his third feature-length documentary, which gets its title from a pair of loosely related incidents. On April 20, 1999, shortly before they began their infamous killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, Eric Harris and Dylan… See more details below

Overview

Filmmaker, author, and political activist Michael Moore trains his satirical eye on America's obsession with guns and violence in his third feature-length documentary, which gets its title from a pair of loosely related incidents. On April 20, 1999, shortly before they began their infamous killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attended their favorite class, a no-credit bowling course held at a bowling alley near the school, the same bowling alley which would become the scene of a robbery and triple homicide two years later. While pondering these events, Moore humorously considers the link between random violence and the game of ten pins; along the way, Moore calls on the Michigan Militia (and gets to know some of the models for their "Militia Babes" calendar); spends some time with James Nichols, brother of Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols; visits K-Mart's corporate offices with two teenagers injured in the Columbine massacre as they ask the retail chain to stop selling bullets for handguns; investigates the media's role in the American climate of fear and anger; compares crime statistics in the United States with those of Canada (which, despite higher unemployment and a larger number of guns per capita, manages to rack up a small fraction of the homicides committed in the United States), and questions actor and National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston regarding his appearance at a pro-gun rally held in Littleton a few days after the Columbine massacre, and a similar rally in Flint, MI, after a six-year-old boy killed a classmate with a gun he took from his uncle's house. Bowling for Columbine received its first public screening at the 2002 Ann Arbor Film Festival; the film's official premiere took place a few months later at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jeffrey Iorio
Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine is one of the more polarizing, disturbing films in recent memory. The empirical facts put forth in it are irrefutable: Millions of guns are circulating in the U.S., and Americans are inexplicably using them to kill one another. Discerning empirical facts from deftly disguised leaps in logic, however, can sometimes be a tall order, especially when the man at the helm is rabble-rouser Moore. A folksy cherub with a sardonic wit and an insatiable appetite for off-kilter confrontation, the Roger & Me gadfly shepherds the audience to the desired epiphany with all the grace of a battering ram. Using as a linchpin an absurd yet horrifying bit of evidence -- that the Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attended their regularly scheduled bowling class the morning of their shooting spree -- Moore launches an investigation into the origins of America's culture of violence. To his credit, the usual scapegoats, i.e., "too many guns" and "video games," are discredited. Canada, we are told, has nearly as many guns as the United States but experiences a minuscule murder rate. In Japan, ultra-violent comics and video games are the norm, yet gun crime is almost nonexistent. One could argue, though, that Moore's thesis -- that American media cultivate an atmosphere of fear by using violence as its centerpiece -- is weakened by the broad strokes he uses to paint the picture. Whatever feelings one has about National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston, who spoke at a pro-gun rally in Littleton shortly after the killings, Moore's bizarre interview with the aging actor casts Heston more as a dotard than the devil. Still, the film's impact remains undeniable, and those willing to look past Moore's propagandistic tendencies to the central issue discussed will find ample food for thought.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
In Michael Moore's best work, the director's attitude toward his subject walks a fine line between bemusement and bitter outrage, and those two extremes are closer than one might ever expect in his film Bowling for Columbine. Moore's examination of America's three-way addiction to guns, violence, and fear doesn't offer many answers to the tough questions it poses, but to a large degree that's part of the point; one of the film's most telling moments comes when Moore interviews the father of one of the students killed in the Columbine High School massacre, and after a while he can only conclude ruefully that he simply doesn't know why America has become such a violent society. Of course, Moore certainly has his opinions about this matter, but for every moment where he's taking on K-Mart for selling handgun ammo or Charlton Heston for appearing at major pro-gun rallies days after highly publicized incidents of handgun violence (in the latter case, at least Moore's entitled as a member of the NRA), there's another where Moore sets out to find if it's true that Canadians don't lock their doors by simply barging in unannounced, or visits a bank where you can get a free rifle for opening a savings account. Moore is able to make the absurdity of real life communicate his message just as well as his rage or sadness, and the film's pointed but effective comedy not only makes the film more entertaining, but also reinforces the more somber (and sometimes shocking) material elsewhere. Bowling for Columbine has an obvious and specific political agenda (and your appreciation of the film may well have a lot to do with the degree to which you share his views), but Moore seems less interested in determining who is right or wrong than in asking what can be done to make America a safer and saner place to live, and for all the craziness (both funny and disturbing) on view, it's the shaggy regular-guy humanity of Bowling for Columbine that makes it most effective, both as a polemic and as cinema.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/19/2003
UPC:
0027616882240
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
R
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Moore Participant
Charlton Heston Participant
Matt Stone Participant
Marilyn Manson Participant
Dick Clark Participant
George W. Bush Actor
James Nichols himself
Barry Glassner himself
Richard Castaldo Participant
Brandon T. Jackson Participant

Technical Credits
Michael Moore Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Charles Bishop Producer
Matthew Bookbinder Animator
Dave Concepcion Animator
Gaia Cornwall Animator
Jim Czarnecki Producer
Brian Danitz Camera Operator
James Demer Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Donovan Producer
Kurt Engfehr Co-producer,Editor
Jeff Gibbs Score Composer
Bob Gleason Animator
Kathleen Glynn Producer
Bob Golden Score Composer
Miguel Hernandez Animator
Francisco Latorre Sound/Sound Designer
Michael McDonough Camera Operator
Harold Moss Animator
T. Woody Richman Animator
Kareem Thompson Animator
Wolfram Tichy Executive Producer
Aneurin Wright Animator
Rehya Young Co-producer

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