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Michael Moore [00:00:15] Hello, everyone. This is Michael Moore. You’re listening to Rumble with Michael Moore. And thank you for joining me here for this podcast. It’s a lot going on still as there is every week. I myself, I’ve been on strike since the 1st of May. I’m a loyal and dues-paying member of the Writers Guild of America. It’s the writers’ union primarily for TV and movies. Obviously, I write my films and my TV work, but I don’t think the Writers Guild covers podcasts. If they don’t, they should. Anybody who does any kind of work should be represented by a union because we all need an advocate for what we do. It’s not just about what we make. It’s about working conditions. It’s about how other people are treated in the work that we do. It’s about taking care of ourselves, having great health care. The unions that I belong to which are the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild, and the Screen Actors Guild, they all have incredible health care plans.
[00:01:27] That was the way it was when I was growing up. I mean, my father worked on the assembly line at General Motors. We had great health care. I mean, there was never like a co-pay or a deductible — those are all terms and ideas that came along later. If we had to go to the doctor and went to the doctor, if we had to go to the emergency room — it was all paid for. That was it. And not just that. All of our dental care was paid for because the union negotiated the contract with the automakers. So we, the children of the factory workers, had this incredible health care, dental care, eyeglasses for free. It got to a point, actually, where even if you needed a lawyer, like a civil lawyer, you know, for anything, just maybe one to write up a will or whatever the union paid for that. My dad had four weeks paid vacation, and then there was usually more than that because they’d have to shut the factories down during what was called “model changeover” every year. You know, they had a new model, so they had to retool the factory. And so he got more time off for that. And of course, the entire week there between Christmas and New Year’s, all the holidays. It was a good way to grow up. Let me just say that. And our dads and our moms, I mean my great grandmother worked at General Motors. My uncle was in the great Flint sit down strike of 1936-37 that essentially founded the UAW. It was the first contract that the union got with a major industrial corporation — any union. I mean, it just didn’t exist back then. And so the Reuther brothers decided to pull a surprise sit down strike in Flint, Michigan. They did it on the day before New Year’s Eve, and they took over the factories and they kicked all the administration out of the building and locked the doors. And it was a standoff for 44 days in the dead of winter. And eventually General Motors gave in. The workers won. And those of us who were the children of these workers went on to have a much easier life than they would have beforehand.
[00:03:42] It’s funny, I was just in the paper, you know, I don’t know what you read every day, but I read this one that has a little like “On this day in history…” And it was on this day, I’m recording this right now, it was on the day that the law passed, Roosevelt signed it 1938, that established for the first time a minimum wage. And the minimum wage was $0.25 an hour. The same law also ended child labor. It said the work week could not be more than 48 hours and if it was, you had to pay more money. These were all these incredible things that the union did for the workers, and they got Roosevelt and others to go along with it. And the middle class was created essentially. There was no middle class before this time. It was the wealthy and then everybody else. And so I’ve always been grateful for that and I’m grateful to be a union member now.
[00:04:44] And this week I’m going to post a written Substack from a person I follow, Matt Stoller. And he and the people that he quotes, they give an incredible explanation as to why we, the writers, are on strike right now. And I know this is very annoying for a lot of you because you’ve been missing your shows. Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, the late night shows are all shut down. Most movies are shut down. So there’s going to be a gap where there’s not going to be as many movies available for the theaters or for the streamers. And of course, I think nobody’s really started on the fall shows yet. So there’s going to be a period where it’s going to be a lot of reruns or reality shows. But we probably should all be outside having fun anyway, so. But I’m going to talk to you a little bit about that and just kind of tell you how I’ve been spending the strike personally as I’m not writing, you know, my next film or TV series right now. And I’m not going to get into that too much because I don’t really want to talk about it yet anyways. I have found in the past that it’s not a good idea for me to telegraph to certain people what I’m up to just because I always want to make sure I can get it done before they disappear me. [Laughing ] No, no, that’s not going to happen.
[00:06:08] But anyway, so before we get into this and talk to you about how I’ve been, you know, killing time here, which I think you might enjoy, I just want to thank our underwriter for this episode today. And that underwriter is BetterHelp. As you know, when the people we love need our help, it’s a no brainer, right? No matter how busy we are or what we have going on in our own lives, we find the time to give and to help. What’s easy to forget, though, is how important it is to also make the time to take care of yourself, to keep yourself healthy and strong. Talking to a therapist can help you find that balance. If you’re interested in giving therapy a try, why not check out BetterHelp? It’s entirely online. You can fit it into your own schedule from the comfort of your home. You just fill out a brief questionnaire and they will match you with a licensed therapist. If it’s not a great fit, you can switch therapists at any time for no additional charge. You can find more balance with BetterHelp. Visit betterhelp.com/rumble today to get 10% off your first month. That’s BetterHelp.com/rumble, and thank you, BetterHelp, for supporting this podcast and for supporting my voice. It’s much appreciated.
[00:07:32] So now, what Mike has done on his strike-cation. Well, first of all, I’m getting an extended spring cleaning done on my place. So that’s been good to just kind of get rid of clutter and all of that. Catching up on a lot of reading, you know, my pile of books that I never seem to get to the bottom of that I want to read. So I’ve been doing that. I’ve been working out and getting healthy, and so it’s been good for that. But also I think what I’ve done the most is caught up on a lot of TV that I’ve missed either this past year or past few years. So I’ve started to binge on various TV shows and some of them are really good. And I don’t know, maybe some of you were expecting me to talk today about the rebellion to overthrow Putin this past weekend or any of a number of things that we should be talking about here. It’s the one year anniversary this weekend of the Supreme Court getting rid of Roe v Wade and I’ll be talking about these things here in the coming weeks but I just thought today was so hot out, having a little fan or air conditioning on wasn’t a bad idea. And so for the past, actually for the past well, for the past month, I’ve been watching some shows, and I’d like to share that with you. And I’d like to encourage you to check out some of these things that I’ve been watching because I think you might like them too. And some of them are things you would not expect me to be watching. Certainly some of them are things that you probably wouldn’t think of watching yourselves.
[00:09:19] What I’m in the middle of right now is something that started back in 2020. I heard about it at the time. Mindy Kaling, the incredible comedy writer, producer, actor that I think a lot of us we first saw her on The Office and has done so many funny and great things since. So she created and Executive produces this show called Never Have I Ever. Now the main character, the teenager, is played by a brand new actor. It’s her first real job as an actor. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. She’s Canadian. Amazing. Great new talent. And when I first looked at it three years ago, I thought, well this looks like one of these tween or teen shows, you know? And I mean, I’m glad teens and tweens get their own shows, don’t get me wrong. But I just at the time, in 2020, I didn’t watch it, even though Mindy Kaling’s name is on it. That’s a gold standard right there, right? Mindy Kaling’s name is on it, you should probably watch it.
[00:10:28] So this past week, a friend of mine says, “you seem to be a little low spirits lately here.” I said, “No, not really. It’s just that, you know, I’m not really, you know, working, doing my usual thing right now because, you know, everything is shut down with the movies and TV and whatever.” And she said, “you know, you should try this show, Never Have I Ever.” I said, “Oh, that’s that teen thing.” And she said, “Well, don’t say it like that. Yes, it stars teenagers, but it’s really funny and really good, well-written.” And then she said, “And it’s narrated by John McEnroe.” And I’m like, “What?” “Yeah. It’s a story about this teenage girl. She’s from an Indian-American — India as in India — Indian-American family. And it’s, you know, all the stuff she has to go through and as an Indian-American teenager.” I said, “And wait a minute. But you just said John McEnroe, the tennis star from years ago, he narrates it? What is John McEnroe doing narrating the story of a teenage girl?” I mean, first of all, it sounds a little creepy. It sounds weird. And also, I can’t imagine any network if they had gotten a pitch on paper that said, oh, this is going to be a funny thing about a teenage girl in Southern California. She comes from an Indian family that came from India. And John McEnroe is going to narrate the story. [ Laughing ] Right? I mean, if somebody wrote that to you, somebody even like with me just told you that, your first thought is, what is he doing narrating the story of a teenage girl whose parents are from India? This makes no sense and seems slightly wrong. And she says, “No, no, no the whole thing is written and created by Mindy Kaling. You know, who’s from Indian parents and grandparents. And, you know, she’s a genius. So, yeah, it would take a Mindy Kaling to come up with the idea to have John McEnroe narrate the story of this nerdy teenage girl.” Okay, actually Mindy Kaling, John McEnroe — two greats. I’ll check out an episode.
[00:13:01] Okay, I am — where am I at now? I’m somewhere in the middle of season three. There’s four seasons of this, alright. And I don’t know why I didn’t try this. I don’t know why more people hadn’t recommended this. But this is so good. Never Have I Ever is the name of it. It’s on Netflix and it’s different and weird and cool. And I would encourage you — it’s just a half hour show. It’s not a sitcom, but there’s great humor in it. And also it has great meaning. And if you are of an age where you’re older and maybe not as connected to the culture of the 21st century, well, here’s a good way to do that by watching this series, Never Have I Ever, on Netflix.
[00:13:53] Then I found four, I would call them sort-of political thrillers — you know, but not political in the sense where “Oh please, I don’t want to watch politics.” Not that and not Thriller, as in some kind of hyped-up nonsense. Really smart TV shows. And I just thought, I’ll just go through them with you. Maybe you’ve already seen some of them. The one that’s I think the most recent is The Diplomat. This is also on Netflix. It just came out a month or two ago. It stars Keri Russell. She’s appointed by the president to be the new ambassador to the United Kingdom and the sort of situation that this character finds herself in and just a lot of shit goes down. She’s also got her husband with her, who is very supportive of her being the American ambassador to the United Kingdom, but also you kind of see he wants the job, too, or he wants some job. I’ve watched all the first, you know, whatever it is now ten episodes of the first season. But it is fantastic. It is smart, the writers are great. And of course, Keri Russell, man, what an incredible actor. Just on fire. 10 minutes into it you’re not thinking, this is Keri Russell. We’re not watching Felicity friends. This is really a well-written, well-acted, well-directed, intense political drama that’s also a thriller. The Diplomat.
[00:15:32] Another one, this is also from this year, The Night Agent. The Night Agent stars Gabriel Basso and Lucianne Buchanan, two wonderful actors. It’s set in the basement of the White House where kind of a low level FBI agent that mans the phone in the basement of the White House overnight, and one night, a very strange and urgent call comes into this hotline phone. And that’s all I really need to tell you. And again, as you watch, I know I actually don’t like bingeing. I like to watch these one at a time once a week. I like there to be some distance. I like to sit with it, especially the good ones. I might want to go back and watch it a second time, but when they’ve got them all up, you cannot not watch the next episode of this, The Night Agent. It’s very powerful.
[00:16:34] Another one, though, this is from 2018. Again, I missed it back when it was out. The BBC produced it, I believe with Netflix. It’s called Bodyguard. Not The Bodyguard, but Bodyguard. It’s essentially a British show so already, you know, their better shows are classics, right? This stars Richard Madden, as he works for the security detail that protects government officials. So he’s been assigned to the Home Secretary, which is one of the top cabinet positions underneath the Prime Minister. His job is to guard her, essentially, and make sure she’s safe and nothing is what it seems to be, including with him. So right away, you know, you’re in for a ride. Richard Madden is the actor. You may remember him from Game of Thrones. He played the eldest Stark brother, Robb Stark. And it’s intense. It’s another thriller. The first scene in the first episode begins and he’s just riding the train back to London. He had taken his kids for the weekend, and bringing the kids back to the mother, and he opens up the restroom door to the restroom on the train, and there is a woman in the restroom. She has got a bomb attached to her body and her thumb is hovering above the trigger to set the bomb off. She’s there to blow up the train. And they take their time with that scene. My friends, I’ll bet you that scene, it must go for 15, 20 minutes. I love it when the Brits take their time with this stuff, and especially the BBC. They don’t have to worry about cutting to commercials. Anyways, Bodyguard, it’s on Netflix, another great political thriller that you don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 20 minutes. And I love shows like that.
[00:18:37] Then there’s another one set in London. This is from Apple TV. It’s called Slow Horses. And I don’t know if this is true or not, but the point of the show is that MI5 and MI6, those are the, you know, the secret services of the spies. And when they have a spy that messes up a lot, they send the spy to Slough House. It’s called Slough House. And it’s basically this beat up old building someplace in London that has maybe close to a dozen of these agents, spies who’ve just messed up for one reason or another. And so they’ve been sent to the British version of Siberia. They still show up to work and they don’t give them any work to do or they give them some kind of nonsense work. And at the beginning of this, this is a show that started last year so there’s already a couple of seasons of this, a couple of them decide, you know what we want to be spies and we should still try to be spies. And so they decide to start their own rogue efforts here to help save the United Kingdom. It also has some humor to it because they’re a bunch of, you know, kind of fuckups. But again, we’re stuck right in the middle of the time that we live in with all kinds of worldwide craziness going on. And I’m right in the middle of I think, what am I in now? I’m in season two. Slow Horses. It’s on Apple TV.
[00:20:18] Okay, So those are my, like, political mystery thriller type shows. Then there’s some comedy in addition to Never Have I Ever. Apple does have a new one called Platonic with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, two greats. They play platonic friends. They’re probably around 40 years old. They’ve been friends since college. They’ve never had a romantic relationship. And so far it’s worked out, though they have a lot of trouble with each other. It’s very funny. I mean, it’s Seth Rogen. And Rose Byrne is hilarious. It’s on Apple. So if you’re missing Ted Lasso or Shrinking or any of their other comedies, they’ve got a great one here in Platonic.
[00:21:07] Another, I think well, it’s funny and it’s not funny, but it’s called The Bear. It’s about this diner in Chicago. And this guy, you know, the main actor, is played by Jeremy Allen White. He comes back home to Chicago after being a successful chef in New York City to save his brother’s diner. His brother has died, and so he’s trying to put it back together with a group of Chicagoans that are a little well, let’s just say they’re funny. And it is funny, but it’s a really fast moving half hour. It’s really, again, well-written. You can’t believe that 30 minutes has passed by. The woman who plays the sous chef, Ayo Edebiri, another great performance.
[00:22:00] And then there’s another one called Beef. This is on Netflix. It has to do with kind of a road rage incident that happens like at a Home Depot parking lot between these two characters. One is played by Steven Yeun, the great actor from The Walking Dead. And the woman in the other car in the incident is played by Ali Wong, a very funny comedian and in this case, both with comedy and drama in this show called Beef. And what happens over the series is that this little incident in the parking lot with their two cars turns into some kind of revenge. This thing that just builds day after day, week after week, and they’re looking for ways to kind of mess up each other’s lives because of this thing that happened for, I don’t know, 5 or 10 minutes in the parking lot out on the streets of L.A.. It’s crazy. It’s very funny. And then it gets dark and then you don’t know where this is going. And isn’t that why you love a good book or good movie or a good show? Because you don’t know what’s going to happen 10 minutes from now. Because when you do, then you’re bored, right? So this is a really smart, fast moving, dangerous show. It’s called Beef. Like the meat beef except it has nothing to do with the meat. That’s also on Netflix and that’s just been on here this year, in 2023.
[00:23:39] Fleishman Is in Trouble. That’s on FX and Hulu. That was on last year. I guess they’re doing another season of it shortly, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Claire Danes there. What more do I need to say? They’re a couple that’s breaking up, getting divorced, and I won’t tell you anything else about it other than to just watch it. It’s set in New York City. Fleishman is Jesse Eisenberg. And again, things don’t go according to plan and leaves you hanging. And I love that feeling. Fleishman Is in Trouble.
[00:24:14] I think those are the main ones I really wanted to share. Listen, there’s others I haven’t talked about, and I will on future episodes. I had a Tom Hanks weekend a few weekends ago. I had not seen Elvis. This is an amazing film. I can see now why it was nominated for Best Picture last year. But really, as great as the music is and the actor playing Elvis and all this, it’s really a story about Elvis’s whacked manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Neither of those words are true or his name. But for decades this guy ran Elvis’s life, ran it into the ground as far as I’m concerned, ruined his rock and roll, and Tom Hanks plays this kind of weird sicko manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the movie called Elvis. If you haven’t seen it yet, I know it’s a little long. It’s 2 hours and 40 minutes, but it flies by. And they don’t belabor a lot of things in Elvis’s life that you already know about. It was so well done and Hanks was great in it. And so the next night I had not seen the American version of what was originally a Swedish film and a Swedish book. The American version is called A Man Called Otto. The Swedish version of that name is Ovre. I think it’s O-V-R-E. I probably have it wrong. Angry Swedes will now send me comments and letters. But A Man Called Otto about a grumpy old man basically, who can’t get over his grief and takes it out on everybody else. And it is also quite funny, but very powerful. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, that also is on Netflix. Elvis is on HBO, Max. A Man Called Otto is on Netflix. Both of these films, a high recommendation.
[00:26:22] So that’s what I wanted to share with you today. This is what I’ve been doing during the writer’s strike, just catching up on all this great writing. And grateful that my sisters and brothers in this union put out such incredible work. If you haven’t had a chance to catch these shows, I encourage you to do so. The strike will be settled and there will be more of this from so many, so many good writers out there. And I can’t wait to see their work here later this year and next year. And I can’t wait for myself to get back to work because I’ve got, I think, some pretty good stuff you’re going to like over the next year here.
[00:27:09] So that’s it for my podcast today. Thank you, all of you. Thank you for listening. I’d love to hear your comments. You can send them to me here, right here on the Substack comment section. Or if you just want to drop me an email at Mike@MichaelMoore.com. I read all my mail. I don’t have time to respond. I’m sorry about that. Otherwise I wouldn’t do anything. Well, I know what you’re saying, “You know, you could just binge a little less TV and write me back, Mike.” Yeah, I know. I know. You’re right. Ok, maybe I’ll write a few people back this week, alright? Anyways, thanks, everybody. My thanks to my executive producer and editor here, Angela Vargos, and to everybody else who participates in helping me with this and everything I do. Eternally grateful. We’ll talk to you next week. Take care. Look for my Substack later this week about the reasons behind the strike and what it really means about the dangerous situation that Hollywood is in. It is worth reading. If you care about the movies and you care about great TV. That’s it, my friends. This is Michael Moore. And this is Rumble.