Inconvenient Truths

photo: courtesy New Video Group

Many people, even the best kind of pissed-off anti-corporate progressives, can't get their stomachs around Michael Moore, but it's impossible to argue with his successful cultural function as a fearless lampoonist bringing righteous dissidence to the masses. No one else is doing it, period. With his short-lived cable series The Awful Truth (1999–2000), selectively archived on this DVD, the annoying Moore-ishness was rampant (the producers first had him address an auditorium audience like a hammy stand-up; after that, he introduced segments right to the camera). But the gist of the show remains brilliantly, viciously defiant —the best segments include an organized Christmas carol tour at tobacco corporations sung entirely by voicebox-free cancer victims; an in-your-face Crucible-style witch-hunt performance in Washington aimed at Ken Starr (those were the days); and an elaborate funeral, held at a stingy HMO headquarters, for a sick man in need of an organ transplant the company won't spring for. There are some misses, but it's a show whose idea has only become more necessary and relevant; in an ideal world, this would be in perpetual production and broadcast. Moore provides commentaries to several episodes.

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