| iF Magazine
March 15, 2000
AWARD WINNERS...MOORE'S THE MERRIER
Cult hero director Monte Hellman...is in town to receive a special
award that climaxes the (ultra rare) showings of several of
his films and a still photography exhibit. It should be the
highlight of the night, but the crowd only applauds politely,
saving their hand thunder for when director Michael Moore presents
the Best Documentary Award. A surprise presenter, Moore explains,
"I happen to be in your town, we were shooting your governor."
The audience laughs at the idea of Moore chasing Texas governor
and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush...
...Moore, a staunch opponent to capital punishment, goes on
to tell the audience that while governor of Texas George W.
has greased 125 murderers, his baby brother Jeb, the governor
of Florida, has only offed three. "Talk about your sibling rivalry,"
Moore laughs as the audience nearly busts a gut. "But I finally
cornered him tonight," Moore says, "And he said, 'Behave yourself
Michael, go get a real job.' And I thought, 'Oh yeah, like the
one your DADDY got YOU!?' " The audience roars its approval
as the kid next to me mutters, "I thought he was here to present
an award." And present he finally does.
After working the crowd like a seasoned vet comedian to promote
his Independent Film Channel cable show, he eventually announces
the runners up (it's a tie, like most categories this evening)
are JUST MELVIN (the searing abuse drama about three
generations tormented by one old grandfather) and "The Ballad
of Ramblin' Jack" (a warts-and-all-look at the legendary musician
by his daughter Aiyana Elliot).
Then after a little confusion and more jokes (these Awards
ARE fun, dammit) the first prize goes to "The Target Shoots
First"...As the absentee director is bestowed with numerous
gifts, Moore suddenly shouts, "What do the runner ups
get?" When it's ascertained to be zilch, Moore adds magnamoniously,
"Then we're giving them both $5,000 from the our foundation."
-- Paul Zimmerman
March 17, 2000
South by Southwest 2000
...I catch "The Target Shoots First," the grand prize winner
for Best Documentary Feature...Target won two prizes at Slamdance
and concerns the two year adventure of Christopher Wilcha...
who goes to work for The Columbia House...Wilcha was allowed
amazing access to film his co-workers gossiping, fighting and
even attending motivational retreats. Contrasting his own corporate
coming of age with the suicide of Kurt Cobain (the footage is
mostly from 1993)...I exit the Alamo entertained and disappointed.
JUST, MELVIN, which tied for Best Doc runner up was the
far superior film, and it's going to take a mess of Austin crawfish
to make me forget.