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"BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE"
(2002) (Michael Moore) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*None Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Minor *Minor Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate *Minor Moderate Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Documentary: A half serious-half humorous look at violence and gun ownership in America.
PLOT:
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore takes a look at violence and gun ownership in America and raises various questions about what causes so many gun-related shootings here as compared to in other countries. Mixing real and fabricated footage, the film also contains interviews and material involving the likes of Charlton Heston, Matt Stone, Marilyn Manson, various gun owners and two survivors of the mass murder at Columbine High School.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Some older teens might be drawn to the film's material and provocative approach at examining the issues at hand.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some violent images and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MICHAEL MOORE is a documentary filmmaker with an agenda who sets out to raise questions (but not necessarily answer them) about why America is so violent and is so obsessed with guns.
  • MATT STONE is director, producer, writer, and former student at Columbine who discusses the incident there. He uses some strong profanity.
  • MARILYN MANSON is a shock rocker who also discusses the Columbine shootings and uses strong profanity.
  • CHARLTON HESTON is an actor and NRA president and spokesperson who defends guns rights and makes some racist comments explaining why America is so violent.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated documentary. Profanity consists of at least 4 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives, colorful phrases and some brief, sexually explicit dialogue are also present. Various women are seen in scanty and revealing attire.

    Being the focus of the film, guns are present from start to finish in various real and fabricated forms. Violence includes real footage of people being shot to death, as well as the sight of various dead and bloody bodies. Other non-lethal violence is present, as are some violent scenes from movies. Some of that real footage - including surveillance views of the Columbine shootings - may be disturbing and/or suspenseful to viewers.

    Various people have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while the film brings up all sorts of thematic material and topics to discuss. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None, but there's brief talk about someone who stole booze and cigarettes from someone else.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a shot of a bloody child after the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • We briefly see real archival news footage of suicides and murders committed with guns, including several domestic ambushes (with a little bit of bloody results).
  • During a montage, we see real archival footage of the results of violence including an assassinated and bloody man (black and white); another dead and bloody body; and many more views of dead and/or bloody people.
  • We see blood on the floor after the Columbine shootings.
  • We see a person being taken off on a stretcher with blood on them.
  • We see movie footage where a character's leg is blown off (no blood).
  • We see a man with all sorts of stitches on his face.
  • We see some scars on a teen's body from where he was shot during the Columbine shootings.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some may view Moore as having a bad attitude for his apparent liberal approach and anti-gun agenda with the film (although he is a past and current member of the NRA - he's also critical of and accuses the U.S. government of various wrongdoings including assassinating or helping depose leaders in other countries).
  • Others will see the various subjects in his film (such as Charlton Heston and his showing up for gun rallies after recent local shootings; the Columbine shooters; and various others) as being the ones with the bad attitudes).
  • Those real-life people who commit crimes or murders obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes.
  • Some viewers could be offended by a satirical cartoon depicting the history of paranoid white people in America and how they've acted and reacted to black slaves, etc.
  • A guy admits to stealing guns from his friend's father.
  • During a taped interview, Charlton Heston states that the reason for the violence in America is the mixed ethnicity. He then goes on to say, "We had enough problems with Civil Rights in the beginning."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be disturbing or suspenseful to viewers.
  • We briefly see real archival news footage of suicides and murders committed with guns, including several domestic ambushes (disturbing footage with a little bit of bloody results).
  • During a montage, we see real archival footage of the results of violence including an assassinated and bloody man (black and white); another dead and bloody body; many more views of dead and/or bloody people; and footage of one of the planes hitting the World Trade Center.
  • We see the real surveillance footage from the Columbine shootings in the library (grainy and from a distance) showing students panicking, hiding and fleeing, as well as the two boys going around with guns and apparently shooting, but we don't see any impact. During this, we hear recorded telephone calls reporting the incident and we later see blood on the floor.
  • For those sensitive to violence against animals, we see archival footage of a person apparently hitting a seal.
  • We hear a recorded phone call from a teacher about a six-year-old student who shot another student.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Assault rifles: Seen throughout the film in archival and new footage shot by Moore where they're carried, fired or used in criminal behavior.
  • Bombs: Seen exploding in archival footage.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Don't f*ck up," "F*ck everybody" (written), "You're sh*tting me," "Jeez," "Crappy," "Don't screw this up," "Loser," "Fag," "Sucks," "Bastards" and "Nuts" (crazy people).
  • We see footage of a dog with a rifle strapped to its back (what some guy did that resulted in him accidentally being shot).
  • Marilyn Manson wears makeup that includes a black stripe across his face and he has tattoos on his arms.
  • A person has a pierced nose and chin.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Some real-life scenes showing people suddenly popping out and shooting others could startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • An old Beatles song has the lyrics, "Happiness is a warm gun" and "Bang, bang, shoot, shoot" (although they're obviously satirical). Meanwhile, some Marilyn Manson songs have lyrics that can't be understood, thus offering the possibility of them containing potentially objectionable lyrics.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 4 "f" words (1 used sexually, 1 written on a hat), 4 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), 2 craps, 3 uses of "Oh God" and 2 of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see some women in skimpy swimsuits (that show cleavage and other amounts of skin) holding various guns. One shot shows a woman sitting nude, but nothing explicit is seen (other than the side of her bare butt), while another has a flag draped around her.
  • We see shock rocker Marilyn Manson dressed in an androgynous outfit that makes him appear fully nude, with breasts but without any genitalia.
  • Talking about how advertising is designed to scare you into buying products, shock rocker Marilyn Manson gives various examples, including, "If you have pimples, the girl's not going to f*ck you."
  • SMOKING
  • There's some brief smoking, while there's also brief talk about someone who stole booze and cigarettes from someone else.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see various grieving and protesting parents of the Columbine murder victims.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The various points brought up in the film such as why there are so many homicides in the U.S. compared with other countries; people supporting/promoting the 2nd Amendment rights; people supporting/promoting anarchy; the news trying to scare viewers; black males always being accused in crimes; that crimes rates are going down but fear of crime is rising; the KKK; how Canada has less violence than the U.S. but just as many guns per capita; and that a mother's involvement in a work for welfare program led to various things that resulted in her 6-year-old son having access to a gun and shooting another young boy.
  • "South Park" creator Matt Stone (who attended Columbine) stating that he was an outside but didn't turn to violence and that high school students should understand that high school and its cliques and social standings aren't the real world.
  • Shock rocker Marilyn Manson being accused of being one of the causes of the Columbine shootings, and then his response to that and theory about why such violence exists in America.
  • The NRA, Charlton Heston and his viewpoints and comments.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a bombed out building after a U.S. military bombing.
  • We see movie footage of a person shooting a gun and a person falling.
  • We hear that a man was accidentally shot in the leg by his dog (that the man had mounted a gun onto).
  • We briefly see real archival news footage of suicides and murders committed with guns, including several domestic ambushes (disturbing footage with a little bit of bloody results).
  • During a montage, we see real archival footage of the results of violence including an assassinated and bloody man (black and white); another dead and bloody body; many more views of dead and/or bloody people; and footage of one of the planes hitting the World Trade Center.
  • We see bombs exploding in archival footage and then more dead bodies on the ground.
  • We see the real surveillance footage from the Columbine shootings in the library (grainy and from a distance) showing students panicking, hiding and fleeing, as well as the two boys going around with guns and apparently shooting, but we don't see any impact. We later see blood on the floor.
  • We see video game footage where characters are shot and then some old-style violence in old Westerns.
  • We see archival footage of various people shooting or being shot.
  • We see some soccer related violence.
  • We see a satirical and unrealistic cartoon that shows slaves being whipped and some cartoon blood.
  • We see footage from the L.A. riots that show a person hitting another person on the head.
  • We see archival footage of a person hitting a seal.
  • We see movie footage where a character's leg is blown off.
  • We hear that three people were shot dead at a bowling alley.



  • Reviewed October 9, 2002 / Posted November 8, 2002

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