Michael Moore has mixed feelings about President Barack Obama's current job performance.
An Oscar winner and political activist, Moore was in New York on Tuesday to present a Cinema Eye non-fiction film award to Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi's for their film 5 Broken Cameras. The movie goes inside a Palestinian village that began to crumble as Israeli settlements began to encroach along the West Bank, a topic of great interest to the outspoken filmmaker. A source of persistent political commentary, whose films have tackled outsourcing, gun control, the Iraq War and healthcare, Moore had plenty to say during a talk with The Hollywood Reporter, with both Burnat and Davidi by his side.
THR: Having won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, you have a deep interest in gun control. Do you think the efforts from Obama and other politicians have been positive?
Moore: The best response has been from the American public. Because the public has had it. There has been a huge tipping point, and the public isn’t going to go back on this. It’s really a good thing.
THR: Do you expect them to pass anything?
Moore: Absolutely. They won’t pass them what I want them to pass. But my point in Bowling for Columbine wasn’t really just passing laws. There’s something wrong with us. They have gun laws in other places and they work, but they work in part because the people are different. Canadians still have -- there are 12 million households in Canada and there are seven million guns -- yet they shoot about 150 of each other a year. In a nation of 34 million people. And the kids are watching the same violent video games, same violent movies, culture is exactly the same. They’re not better than us, the Canadians. So why don’t they kill each other like we do?
THR: What were your thoughts on the drone memo that came out, that lists justifications for killing American citizens?
Moore: It’s wrong. Obama is wrong, he needs to stop it, he needs to stop going into other people’s countries, he needs to stop killing people. What did we think was the endgame of this? At the end of all this, where are we going to be as Americans? Shit out of luck. Seriously, with the whole world hating us.
THR: Do you find it interesting that liberals are defending him, after being so critical of George W. Bush's civil liberties record?
Moore: No, I think with politics, people want to support their side or whatever. But I’m only on the side of what I think is right and what is truthful and decent and humane and I don’t care what the political party is.
THR: Do you think it’ll become a bigger issue?
Moore: Yeah, I think it will become a bigger issue, yeah. I think you can just kill so many civilians until finally people are going to say enough.
THR: Especially American civilians.
Moore: No, I think, see the sad thing about us is we actually like to kill our own. The fact that we’re killing Americans with drones won’t really upset anybody. We are skilled at killing each other. Thousands each year.
THR: And that goes back to your gun part.
Moore: The difference between Canada and every place else to us is that when they grow up, they grow up with a sense of the "we," that we affect each other, we in the society and the community and the town. What I do affects you, what you do affects me. In this country, it’s about me, me me me me. It’s like, "Hey, you worry about yourself, you worry about me. I got mine, you go get yours."
THR: How does that change?
Moore: Oh jeez. Pharmaceuticals (laughs). I guess people like me need to act like that and more people need to follow that and do that and maybe we’ll change, maybe we’ll be a better people. Because I think deep down, just like all people, we’re good people at our core, but we are seriously misguided and on the wrong path and it does not bode well for us in the future. We just have to read history to figure that out.