Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Moore
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Michael Moore
MPAA Rating: R for language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity
Running Time: 120
Date: 02/12/2016

Where to Invade Next (2016)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ways to Make Things Better

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

By now we know that Michael Moore is far from an objective maker of documentaries; his films always have their own slant, but despite that, it's hard to refute some of the good ideas in this movie. "Socialism" may be a dirty word here in the U.S.A., but Moore demonstrates that it's merely about sharing. As hard workers, we ought to get out of the system as much as we put in, and that we would do better as a helping community than as struggling individuals.

Moore imagines that he has been asked by Washington to come up with some new ideas for America, so he "invades" several countries to steal ideas. In Italy, he finds the concept of paid vacations for workers, which results in more productive workplaces. In France, he finds gourmet school lunches and sex education, resulting in happier, healthier kids. He visits Finland, which has the highest-ranked education in the world and discovers their secret: no homework. He also finds, a free college, a place where drugs are legal (and drug-related crimes are down), and a place that rehabilitates its prisoners. Can Moore effectively bring these and other ideas back to the U.S.A.?

It's not clear exactly what Moore is not showing us, but according to what he does show, these systems adopted by other countries (and largely, he reminds us, invented in America), result in longer lifespans, fewer unwanted pregnancies, less debt, and less violent crime. Images of American schools crossed with images of Finnish schools are a strong indicator that our country could use some help. Despite his usual dopey attempts at humor, Moore's movie is overwhelming, a little depressing, but also hopeful.

Anchor Bay released a Blu-ray edition of the movie, and while I would wish that everyone could see the movie itself, this home video release is pretty unremarkable. Visually and aurally, it's fine, but it contains no extras.

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