Opinionated documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is backpedaling a tad following comments he made regarding Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper over the weekend. On his Twitter feed, Moore said that snipers killed his uncle during World War II, and that they "aren’t heroes." He then tried to say that he wasn’t criticizing Clint Eastwood’s movie with that comment… so he issued even more critiques of the movie on his Facebook page.
In a new post, Michael Moore tried to clarify his comments about snipers, and lashed out at the media for running with the story and trying to drum up controversy. And yet, in the process, Moore continued to throw shade at Clint Eastwood’s movie, saying:
Too bad Clint gets Vietnam and Iraq confused in his storytelling. And that he has his characters calling Iraqis ‘savages’ throughout the film."
Lest you think that Michael Moore – the controversial director of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine -- was going after Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film with a flaming chainsaw, he really isn’t. In the same Facebook post, he heaps a decent amount of praise on American Sniper, saying that it has an "awesome performance" by the Oscar nominated Bradley Cooper. Moore even calls it "one of the best of the year." He says the films editing, the costumes, the hair and the makeup are all "superb!" So yeah, this post is the textbook definition of a mixed message, and one that Moore likely had to file in light of the response to his passionate Sniper tweets… which absolutely were aimed at Clint Eastwood and his hit movie, no matter what Moore wants to say today.
It’s virtually impossible for any film to reach the marketplace unscathed, and the films that earned Best Picture nominations are finding themselves under a stronger-than-usual microscope. Ava DuVernay’s Selma has faced harsh criticism for its portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson during the march on Selma (as shown in the movie). The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game have their share of detractors, and Eastwood’s movie seems to be generating criticism in the wake of its enormous opening weekend.
What you don’t necessarily expect is criticism from a fellow filmmaker – and from a fellow Oscar winner in Michael Moore. Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood likely won’t comment on the controversy, because sometimes saying nothing is the smarter choice. Michael Moore likely learned that lesson here.