Indie movie maven John Pierson continues to attract impassioned responses to his IndieWire critique of Michael Moore. In the L.A. Times, however, Patrick Goldstein take a somewhat more respectful (albeit skeptical) approach to judging the incendiary documentarian. Speaking of Sicko, Goldstein writes: "At the center of the film, as always, is Moore. Like Bono, Spike Lee and George Clooney, he occupies that amorphous space in the pop culture given over to bold-faced names whose activism is indistinguishable from their celebrity. A walking inspiration for op-ed page pieces arguing the merits of his latest exposé, Moore has, as Clifford Odets once said of Orson Welles, 'a peculiarly American audacity.'"
Goldstein continues: "What makes Moore so compelling is that he has a cultural magnetism that seduces us while simultaneously arousing our suspicion. It's an unusually combustible equation: Infuriate + Inspire = Ambivalence. Bill Clinton's entire presidency was consumed by it. Courtney Love had it for a minute, as did Oliver Stone. Terrell Owens and Barry Bonds have brought it to the playing fields. Love 'em, hate 'em, often all at the same time."
True enough. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how the debate over Moore might be affected -- if at all -- if the documentary that has become Pierson's pet cause would get some theatrical play.