Michael Moore Reveals George Clooney's Unlikely Date Movie: Roger & Me

Actor George Clooney once confessed to Oscar-winner Michael Moore that he used the filmmaker's debut Roger & Me as a dating litmus test. Or so Moore told an audience at the Walter Reade Theater in New York, where the hit 1989 documentary had a special screening Tuesday night.

Moore laughed when recalling the story at an event hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which screened the documentary as part of its lead-up to the 50th anniversary edition of the New York Film Festival in September. The director explained how Clooney shared with him years back that, "I use Roger & Me for dating. By the first or second date, they have to watch [your film]. If they get it, they get a [follow-up] date. If they don't... they don't." Then Moore added rhetorically: "This story will only stay in this room, right?"

Moore gave insight and, not surprisingly, his opinion about Roger & Me and how it figures in the present economic times Tuesday night, and didn't hold back. "We're in some deep shit," Moore said about the condition of the country today compared to when he made Roger & Me for $150K back in '89. "I had hoped that what we have now wouldn't have happened." Moore, who sat through the screening with his wife, said that he hadn't seen the film in years because doing so is personally difficult. He noted today there are only 4,000 GM workers left in Flint, Michigan where Roger is mostly set, compared to 50,000 at the time he made the film. "Five minutes into the film, my wife started crying," he said.

FSLC program director Richard Peña praised Moore — dressed in a brown hoodie and Tribeca Film Festival baseball cap — for ushering in a "golden age" of documentary beginning with Roger & Me which screened at the New York Film Festival in 1989. "I was nobody in the business then," Moore responded. "I was unemployed at the time. We screened it around the same time as Sex, Lies and Videotape was showing. The Warner Bros. people were in the audience that night and saw it receive a standing ovation and they bought it." Roger & Me was the first documentary to hit multiplexes, eventually grossing nearly $8 million worldwide.

"I never liked documentaries growing up, they felt like medicine," Moore said. "I wanted this film to be structured in a way that can be enjoyed with popcorn in a theater, but at the same time, making sure all the facts are in fact — true." Moore added that he takes pride in helping to "kick the door open" for doc filmmakers that have also had success with theatrical releases. But when it comes to making his movies including his blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11 and Oscar-winner Bowling for Columbine, he said that he finds the root-cause of his films depressing. "I dread making these movies," he said. "When we solicited stories from people for Sicko, it was very emotional. We couldn't help crying."

Now, more than two decades after making his debut, Moore gave himself a pat on the back for Roger & Me, noting the film stood above the rest for him personally. "I wouldn't change a frame of this film," Moore said. "It's probably the favorite of all my films. I was learning how to make a film as I was doing it."

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[Photo: Julie Cunnah/Film Society of Lincoln Center]


  • Jake says:

    Roger & Me is Moore's best film. And it's still a terrible piece of pure propaganda that attempts to link distant unconnected events. At least it has some funny moments.

    Moore learned one thing, though. There's a sucker, born every minute. And that's who comes out of his films thinking they've learned something. Those poor people. I always feel so bad for someone who references a Michael Moore film when making an argument. It's like referencing a Leni Reifenstahl film. Although Moore is a better propagandist than she or Capra (with his WW2 propaganda) ever were.

    • Yeah! He's such an ignorant douche bag! Where does he get off talking how guns are bad, Bush was a rotten President, the US health care system sucks and that capitalism is a system that only favors the rich. What a moron! Totally comparable to Leni Reifenstahl, who made films promoting racism and the extermination of the Jews. Whenever I think about Reifenstahl, Michael Moore always comes to mind...

      • Jake says:

        Sarcasm is the product of a weak mind.

        A propagandist is a propagandist.

        If something is true, you don't need to use the deceitful tactics Moore uses (the same ones Reifenstahl used) to express it. You know, some people didn't see Reifenstahl's films as propaganda either. (They probably used a lot of sarcasm too.)

        Sounds like you are one of those suckers I referred to earlier. Sad. If you have something intelligent to add, please do.

  • Jimmy Mahoney says:

    George Clooney Finally Found The Perfect Wedding Gift For Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. http://hollywoodandswine.com/brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-receive-smoking-indonesian-baby-as-wedding-present-from-george-clooney/