Roger & Me (1989) Movie Script

I was kind of a strange child.
My parents knew early on
that something was wrong with me.
I crawled backwards until I was two...
but had Kennedy's inaugural address
memorized by the time I was six.
It all began when my mother didn't
show up for my first birthday party...
because she was having my sister.
My dad tried to cheer me up
by letting me eat the whole cake.
I knew then
there had to be more to life than this.
When I was a kid, I thought only
three people worked for General Motors:
Pat Boone, Dinah Shore and my dad.
Our hometown of Flint, Michigan,
was the birthplace of General Motors...
the largest corporation in the world.
There were more auto factories and
workers here than in any city on Earth.
We built Cadillacs, Buicks,
and Fisher bodies...
GM trucks, Chevrolets,
and AC spark plugs.
We enjoyed a prosperity
that working people had never seen.
And the city was grateful to the company.
With the whole city rocking,
Flint, Michigan, throws a birthday party.
It's for the people of General Motors
on their 50th anniversary.
Pat Boone celebrates with a song.
The promise of the future is the keynote
set by GM President, Harlow Curtis.
From the world of TV
comes Sergeant Garcia...
and the swordsman known as Zorro.
But the big hit of the parade...
is the lively marching
of the Elks junior drill team.
The citizens of Flint,
birthplace of General Motors...
also see the radiant Miss America.
This was Flint as I remember,
where every day was a great day.
It's a great day, all right.
A salute to Mr. And Mrs. America.
My dad worked on the assembly line at
GM's AC Spark Plug in Flint for 33 years.
In fact, as I grew older, I discovered
my entire family had worked for GM:
Grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters,
aunts, uncles, cousins. Everyone but me.
My uncle Laverne
was in the Great Flint Sit-Down Strike.
Just hours before the year's end in 1936...
he and thousands of other GM workers
took over the Flint factories...
and barricaded themselves inside,
refusing to budge for 44 days.
The National Guard was called in,
and the eyes of the world were on Flint.
On February 11, 1937,
General Motors gave in...
and the UAW was born.
The GM employee
has made great advances.
It is our wish that he continue to prosper.
Most of our employees,
even those who at times cause problems...
are conscientious
and hardworking men and women.
Men and women to whose imagination,
ingenuity, energy and dedication...
our country owes
its industrial leadership in the world.
That all sounded fine and good,
but the assembly line wasn't for me.
My heroes were the Flint people
who'd escaped the life in the factory...
and got out of Flint,
like the guys in Grand Funk Railroad...
Casey Kasem, the women who married
Zubin Mehta and Don Knotts...
and perhaps Flint's
most famous native son, Bob Eubanks...
host of TV's hit show
The Newlywed Game.
I figured if Bob Eubanks
could make it out of here, so could I.
After 10 years of editing my own paper
in Flint...
a California millionaire
asked me to be the editor...
of his muckraking magazine
in San Francisco.
It didn't take me long
to figure out what to do.
The final issue of the Michigan Voice
is being printed.
Ten years after he began it, Michael Moore
is moving to San Francisco.
What would you do?
I mean, this was San Francisco.
But San Francisco was on
the other side of the world from Flint.
Everyone there had a job,
yet no one seemed to be working.
The cafs were filled with people
at 3:00 p. M.
I was told there's one restaurant
for every 44 people in San Francisco...
but most of them
seemed to be dessert places.
Trying to get a simple cup of coffee
became a nightmare for me.
Espresso, double espresso,
cappuccino, double cappuccino...
latte, double latte, mocha, double mocha...
caffe con panna, macchiato,
double macchiato...
caffe bianco, or house blend.
I was feeling disoriented living in a town
that didn't carry any nondairy creamer.
I went to work and announced...
that I was going to give a monthly column
to a Flint auto worker.
The owner instead told me to run
an investigative report on herbal teas.
I told him I had a better idea:
Let's put the auto worker on the cover.
The owner wasn't amused and declared
that California and I were a mismatch...
just before he offered me
my free U-Haul back to Michigan.
- Hello, Dad.
- Hello, son.
- t's been a long time.
- t sure has.
- Where's Mom?
- n the kitchen.
Why, your hands are filthy!
- Go upstairs and wash them.
- Okay, Mom.
Okay, so my homecoming
wasn't quite like that.
In fact, I wasn't back in Flint more than
a few days when the bad news hit.
This is the CBS Evening News,
Dan Rather reporting.
Good evening.
General Motors confirmed it today.
It is going to close plants
employing almost 30,000 workers.
Today we are announcing the closing...
of 11 of our older plants.
While Detroit and Pontiac
will certainly be hurt by the shutdowns...
the effect on Flint
is absolutely devastating.
Devastating wasn't the half of it.
Maybe I got this wrong...
but I thought companies lay off people
when they hit hard times.
GM was the richest company
in the world...
and it was closing factories
when it was making profits in the billions.
We do not have any plan
to cut our workforce by 80,000.
That was kind of
a what-happens-if type of thing.
So this was GM chairman Roger Smith.
He appeared to have a brilliant plan:
First close 11 factories in the U. S...
then open 11 in Mexico, where
you pay the workers 70 cents an hour.
Use the money you saved by building cars
in Mexico to take over other companies...
preferably high-tech firms
and weapons manufacturers.
Next, tell the union you're broke...
and they happily give back
a couple of billion dollars in wage cuts.
Then take that money from workers...
and eliminate their jobs
by building more foreign factories.
Roger Smith was a true genius.
I think our employees
have got a new emphasis on job security...
and we want to try
and help them with that.
- What do you have to say to Roger Smith?
- t's gonna be rough.
I can't mention it on television.
This was to be
the first of many layoffs in Flint...
the final day for the GM truck plant.
I think most of you are aware...
that this is the first major plant closing...
to take place in Flint.
Let me rephrase that.
This isn't a plant closing.
It's a loss of one product line.
My friends and I decided to pose
as a TV crew from Toledo...
to sneak inside the factory.
I wasn't exactly sure
what a TV crew from Toledo looked like...
but apparently the ruse worked, as we
filmed the last truck going down the line.
What's everybody so happy about?
We just lost our jobs.
Everybody's applauding.
They just lost their jobs.
We're trying impress upon the employees
that are being laid off...
that there is nothing out there for them...
to depend upon for the future.
The best thing Michigan and GM can do
is get rid of Roger Smith...
and them other sons of bitches.
That seemed to be
the general consensus...
as I talked to many GM workers
about their chairman, Roger Smith.
- What would you like to tell Roger Smith?
- 'd tell him to retire.
He can't look an auto worker
in the eye, because...
- He should be feeling guilty.
- Most people are hungry. He's not.
I'd tell him to get off his big bucks...
and start giving some of it
back to its workers.
I'm sick and tired of these damn fat cats.
I could say a few choice words,
but I'm a lady and I was raised a lady...
so I won't say what I really feel...
but I could use some unsavory language
as far as the fat cats.
Fire Roger Smith!
There were those
who had a different opinion in Flint...
like Tom Kay,
a spokesman and lobbyist for GM.
I'm sure that Roger Smith...
has a social conscience
as strong as anybody else in the country.
Because a guy is an automobile executive
does not make him inhuman.
I've talked to enough of them.
I know what their concerns are.
He has as much concern
about these people as you or I do...
and nobody likes to see anybody laid off
or put in a hardship situation.
- Have you ever talked to Roger Smith?
- Sure.
What kind of man do you find him to be?
A very warm man. I have...
A warm man?
Did I have Roger Smith judged all wrong...
simply because he was eliminating
30,000 jobs from my hometown?
I decided to find out.
I wrote. I phoned. I faxed. I tried
every means of communication available...
but nothing got me any closer to Roger.
I was left with no choice.
I got in the car and drove
about an hour south of Flint to Detroit...
to the world headquarters
of General Motors.
My mission was a simple one:
To convince Roger Smith
to spend a day with me in Flint...
and meet some of the people
who were losing their jobs.
Everybody in?
- Can I help you gentlemen and ladies?
- Yes, we're going to the 14th floor.
- Do you have an appointment?
- No, we don't.
- think you need an appointment.
- To go up there?
- How can we make one?
- You want to step out...
- First of all, anything above...
- We came down from Flint.
Anything above the first level here
is private property. That's off-limits.
- This is all off-limits. It's a security area.
- This is? All right.
Listen, who did you want to talk to?
- want to talk to Roger Smith.
- 'll get a PR man and we'll see.
- What kind of movie are you making?
- t's a documentary on Flint.
On the labor problems?
The whole situation,
the plant shutdowns, the layoffs.
We'll try to have someone contact you
as soon as someone's available.
- All right, I'd appreciate it.
- Have you got some kind of credentials?
- Where they can contact you?
- What's your name?
Herb Slaughter.
I'll give you a business card.
Let's see, I've got a frequent-flier card...
I was having a hard time finding my
business card, because I don't have any.
So I gave Mr. Slaughter my discount pass
to Chuck E. Cheese...
but he said that wouldn't get me in
to see Mr. Smith.
So I headed back to Flint for further
guidance from GM lobbyist Tom Kay.
General Motors wouldn't be doing
anybody any service if it goes bankrupt.
It has to do what it has to do...
in order to stay competitive
in today's economic climate.
Even if it means eliminating 18,000 jobs?
Even if it means eliminating 20,000 jobs.
- Or 30,000?
- Whatever.
How about all the jobs here in Flint?
It could feasibly happen.
Good evening, I'm Sue Zelenko.
Bill Harris has the night off.
It was where the UAW was born.
Tonight 3,000 people are trying to decide
what to do with their lives.
Nobody was ready for the announced
plant shutdowns today...
least of all, the 1,350 workers.
The last truck chassis headed
down the line this morning.
Virtually all the 3,400 people are on layoff.
Larry Elliot was at the plant today...
as that last car was making its way
down the assembly line.
Will this plant build engines again
if the rush back to small cars occurs?
The answer is no.
In Flint, Joe Weaver,
Channel 2 Eyewitness News.
More factories had closed...
and I began to see the effect
this was having on my friends.
Ben was the worker I'd put on the cover
of that magazine in San Francisco.
He'd been laid off
five times in five years from GM.
Expecting to be laid off again, he cracked
one night working on the assembly line.
He was now shooting hoop
at the local mental health center.
I couldn't take it. I told the guy next to me:
"Tell the foreman I'm sick.
I don't give a shit what you tell him."
I grabbed my coat, flew out the door,
passed the guards...
jumped into my car,
got onto Bristol Road...
and was flying toward my apartment.
I turned on the radio,
hoping that might cheer me up...
I had tears coming out of my eyes...
and I strike right into the middle
of Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys.
And I'm thinking, "What a horrible song...
"to have to hear
in the midst of this panic attack."
A song that I'd usually
get a groove going with.
I'm trying to sing the lyrics,
and I've got an apple in my throat.
I'm trying to rationalize with those lyrics...
trying to think, "Wouldn't it be nice?"
And it just wasn't working.
Some disturbing news today from
the Genesee County Health Department.
It announced the rat population in Flint...
has now surpassed
the human population by 50,000.
Health officials say it's due
to massive numbers of people leaving...
and the city cutting back
to twice-monthly garbage collection...
due to budget constraints.
Just when things were looking bleak,
Ronald Reagan arrived in Flint...
and took a dozen unemployed workers
out for a pizza.
He told them he had a great idea.
If they tried it, they'd all be working again.
He suggested that maybe some of us...
could find better jobs elsewhere...
like in Texas, or in the southern states.
That's when I spoke up...
because I have a son, a home.
I'm trying to do it by myself. I can't just
pull up stakes and take off by myself.
We don't hold public office,
we're nobody special...
but he wanted our opinions and views.
It was at a level I could understand,
and I liked his ideas...
that he voiced to us.
None of Reagan's luncheon guests
got back into the factory in later years.
The only bright spot of the whole affair...
was the individual who borrowed
the restaurant's cash register...
on the way out the door.
Meanwhile, Flint's more fortunate were
holding their annual Great Gatsby Party...
at the home
of one of GM's founding families.
To show they weren't totally insensitive
to the plight of others...
they hired local people
to be human statues at the party.
What's it like in Flint these days?
Things are tough here
for the people that are laid off.
There's still people working.
I don't think it's as bad
as people may believe.
We started something,
and we're gonna finish it.
- We're gonna be the leaders.
- What did we start?
We started the industrial revolution...
an art form that's never been created
in the history of mankind.
- What was that industrial revolution?
- The cars. Steel.
It took off from there.
We invented the wheel again.
We're off again and running.
What advice do you have
for those having a rough go of it?
Get up in the morning
and go do something.
Start yourself. Get your own motor going.
There's things to do out there.
I don't think it's fair to pick on
the negative things and publicize them...
and not pick up
any of the good aspects about Flint.
What are some of those good aspects?
- The ballet. Your kids were involved in it.
- Ballet. Hockey. It's a great place to live.
Sheriff's department. Anybody home?
I had found one man in Flint
with a secure job:
Sheriff's deputy Fred Ross.
I treat a person
the way I would like to be treated.
You know, I explain to them
that I got a job to do.
The court issued the order, not me.
If you can make peace
with your landlord, good.
If you can't, you've got a problem.
I've put out some good people.
You have a lot of people in this town
paying $800 to $900 a month house note.
That's a lot of money
to try to pay on unemployment.
Some of these people
don't want to leave...
especially older people.
Some of them have retired from the shop.
Taxes catch a lot of them, too.
So if things go down,
they close up some plants here...
this town is gonna be a rough place.
I continued my search for Roger.
I scoured the neighborhoods
of Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Woods...
Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park...
Grosse Pointe Shores,
and Bloomfield Hills.
I tried in vain to locate his house...
but the name Smith
was a common one among these people.
I then read that Roger was going to be
at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.
I decided to drop in on the affair.
I haven't seen him.
- You haven't seen him here yet?
- Just a moment.
- Are you calling him?
- Who, Roger Smith?
You want me to call Roger Smith?
I'm trying to get the manager to see
if anybody knows anything about him.
I'm sure he said the Grosse Pointe.
I mean it wasn't him...
Who, his office?
- Why don't we call his office and find out?
- We could do that.
I have a television crew down here
with Michael Moore.
He's supposed to meet Roger Smith
at noon. I have no information.
How often does Mr. Smith come here
for lunch or dinner?
Last time I saw him here
was for Sportsmen's Night.
- What's that?
- t's a wild game dinner.
- You go and shoot your own animal?
- Pardon me?
You go and shoot your animals
and bring them here to eat...
Some of the stuff is donated.
There are foods like rattlesnake...
Let me think of some real exotic foods.
- You eat this stuff here?
- Roast beef.
That sounds better.
I obviously had the wrong yacht club,
because Roger was nowhere to be found.
I didn't have more time to waste here,
because back at Flint's county fair...
thousands of people were being
entertained by the diving donkeys...
anxiously awaiting the return
of our boyhood hero...
as he made his triumphant return
home to Flint.
From Genesee County Fair,
the newlywed capital of the world...
here come the newlyweds!
A big hand. This is your part...
There they come.
Yes, it's The Newlywed Game...
and these are
our newlywed couples for today.
Let's all meet the host and star
of The Newlywed Game:
Bob Eubanks!
Hello, everybody. Welcome.
How nice of you to come here today.
Welcome to the opening of...
Hi, Mom. How are you doing?
You devil, you!
What about questions like,
"How heavy are your wife's breasts?"
I never ask that. I say,
"What does your wife's chest weigh?"
There's a lot of difference
in that question you just asked...
A hell of a lot of difference.
That's where I think we get a bad rap.
People like yourself
will quote a question like that.
I wouldn't ask that question for anything.
I wouldn't even say "breasts."
First question. These are easy questions.
Ladies, how much did your husband say
your chest weighs?
- Gladys, what do you say, sweetheart?
- Two pounds.
Two pounds!
He said six-and-a-half ounces.
I said, "Both of them."
He said, "That is both of them."
I said, "I'm sorry."
He said, "Not as sorry as I am."
Bob was right. He didn't say "breasts"
and I considered apologizing...
for implying that his show
wasn't wholesome family entertainment.
You know why
Jewish women don't get AIDS?
Because they marry assholes,
they don't screw them. Pardon me.
Ladies and gentlemen,
that's all for this afternoon.
If I made you smile one time, I'm happy.
I had a good time. I hope you did, too.
Until next time.
We'll be back every night...
I'm Bob Eubanks. So long, everybody.
See you then.
I was born here in Flint,
but I don't know anything about it.
I can only tell you this about this town:
It's pretty...
and the people are nice.
I don't know much about the economy,
but I can take you to places in the U. S...
much worse off than Flint, Michigan.
I don't think it's such a bad town.
With 30,000 jobs now eliminated,
the city decided to turn to the one event...
that had always made us so happy:
The big parade...
this time honoring the surviving
Flint Sit-Down Strikers.
The highlight of the parade
was Miss Michigan, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko.
Passing by dozens of boarded-up stores
and hundreds of jobless Flint citizens...
she was an inspiring sight to all present.
How do you feel
about the economy in Flint?
The factories all shutting down?
This isn't my interview yet.
This is my time for enjoyment.
All kinds of important people showed up
to march in the parade...
like the governor of Michigan,
James Blanchard.
How do you feel about General Motors
closing up these factories in Flint?
It's tragic.
Do you think
we need another sit-down strike?
That won't do any good.
That's the problem.
Is this a great time for a parade?
I think so, too. Let's have a fun time!
Give your life to Jesus today.
Jesus Christ loves you.
Give your life to Jesus.
Tell your viewers they need Jesus!
Give your life to Jesus.
How could you have a parade
for the founders...
without inviting the current president
of the United Auto Workers, Owen Bieber?
I don't know that
we need another sit-down strike per se.
A sit-down strike today
would not necessarily resemble...
or be able to bring about
the same thing that it did in 1937.
The union is getting weaker.
We're losing power.
Why? Because there's
too many guys in the union...
that are friends with the management.
Some plants that are announced
to be closed obviously will be closed.
We have to accept the reality
that they're just not going to remain open.
I think that with the spirit here...
Flint will continue not only to survive,
but will continue to grow.
Some people know what time it is.
Some people don't.
Miss Michigan, could we talk to you
for one second?
Your face looks familiar. Was this
when you caught me on the road?
Yes, back in the parade. How does it feel
driving through Flint, Michigan, today...
and so many people being laid off,
so many plants being shut down?
- How does it feel? feel like a supporter.
- Of?
- Does it matter of what?
- A supporter of General Motors?
Of just being here for the people.
Is it the parade?
When you pass stores that are boarded-up
and people that are laid off...
how does that make you feel
on a personal level?
A little sad.
Of course, I'm for employment...
and working in Michigan.
And, hopefully, it's just temporarily.
So, I just keep my fingers crossed
that they'll be back working soon.
I'm trying to stay neutral. I'm going to
Miss America in two weeks, and I don't...
- t's a great day for a parade, isn't it?
- t's beautiful. I can't believe the crowd.
It's the largest parade I've been in...
and I've been in over 20 since June.
It's wonderful. I love coming back to Flint.
It's my third trip here, and I love it.
Any message to the people of Flint?
Keep your fingers crossed for me
as I go for the gold in two weeks...
and hopefully bring back a crown
for Flint and the Michigan state.
Two weeks later, she got her wish.
Our new Miss America...
Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, Miss Michigan!
This is probably Number 15
I've been here and evicted someone.
- From this house?
- Yes.
Daryl? Sheriff's department.
Get your clothes on.
We're here to put you out.
- Here to do what?
- Evict you from the house. Right now.
People stay up all night and sleep all day.
Deputy Fred seemed
especially busy these days.
After doing 24 evictions in one day...
he arrived to evict a woman
who was a month behind in her rent.
She quickly got the landlord on the phone.
After telling him that
a film crew had arrived with the sheriff...
the landlord told Fred
not to evict the woman and her children.
It had leaked so much,
this whole area was bulging down.
My oldest son... I moved his bed,
I was scared the ceiling would fall.
But nobody was there at the time it fell.
It needed to be painted outside.
The aluminum siding outside, I put on.
I paid for it and had it put on.
See my new siding? t does look better.
You put that on since last time I was here.
You've spent a lot of money.
It looked like
the raggediest house on the block.
These houses look nice
and I was embarrassed about it.
The deal was pretty good,
so I worked with it.
- What will happen to this woman?
- End up putting her out...
unless her new husband
comes up with the money.
I can't imagine somebody getting married
to someone as poor as you.
It gets kind of rough.
Put two poor people in the same house...
I always tell women, "You can be poor
by yourself, you don't need help."
And she just got some help being poor.
Three days later,
Fred put the woman and her kids out.
- Hi, can I help you?
- We're looking for Roger Smith.
We're wondering if he's here.
I have no idea if he's here or not,
but you'll have to leave the club.
- Why's that?
- t's a private club.
- Has he been here today?
- To my knowledge, he has not.
- Does he come here often?
- really don't know.
- s he a member here?
- He is a member.
But you don't know if he's been here?
We don't keep track of our membership.
You'll have to leave the club, sir.
- t is a private building.
- You'd know if he...
- Sir, we'll have to ask you to leave.
- just want to find out...
Sorry, you'll have to leave the club.
Call General Motors. Check with them.
We have called GM. We can't get in there.
If you can't get in there, you can't
get in here. Would you mind leaving?
- We could just wait.
- No, you can't.
They say you must leave the building, sir.
You have to step outside.
We'll come back.
I'll be right here.
They told me to take you outside.
You may wait outside. If he comes in,
you can interview him outside.
You may not interview him in here.
You don't remember the last time
he was here?
- That means nothing.
- When the chairman of GM is in here?
That doesn't impress me.
It doesn't impress you?
The chairman of GM?
The chairman of General Motors is just
another member of our organization.
He's an important individual, but no more
important than any other member.
I wasn't having much success
bringing Roger to Flint.
The mayor, though, was having better luck
with an even higher authority.
He paid TV evangelist
Robert Schuller $20,000...
to come to Flint and rid the city
of its unemployment plague.
Tough times don't last,
but tough people do.
Thousands filled the city's hockey arena
to hear his message of hope.
Pull your way out of poverty!
You won't pull your way
from poverty to prosperity...
until you realize you have to be
humble enough to say, "I need help."
By then what happens is
you can turn your hurt into a halo.
The sorrow becomes a servant.
Just because you've got problems...
is no excuse to be unhappy.
Maybe Reverend Schuller was right.
Things could be worse,
and there was much to be thankful for...
like the Star Theatre of Flint...
funded with GM money
to provide entertainment and escape...
during Flint's hard times.
Buick City, this is called.
Rednecks, hardhat automotive workers.
We bring Broadway
and the theater to them...
in this beautiful edifice.
But that takes money, time, effort, energy.
Bobby Vinton opened our season.
It was 90 percent sold out. It was a big hit.
He has charisma. Came into the audience,
spent about 15 minutes with them...
fussing with the ladies, kissing,
and they loved him.
He got standing ovations every night.
Peggy Lee came.
She wasn't the greatest hit.
But she had her cult
from surrounding areas.
Her cult love her.
Those who came absolutely loved her.
Standing ovations, bravos, cheers...
They were crazy about her.
Last year, Mitzi Gaynor came here
with her show.
She brings 10 wonderful
boy dancers with her.
She makes 16 changes. The boys make 14.
When they're on, she's off.
She's on, they're off, changing costumes.
One production number after another.
You'd be surprised. Some of those
hard-hat factory workers say, "Hey!"
They present their badge or identification,
so they can come at a half-price ticket...
to keep them coming
when they're having hard times.
Long before she sold orange juice...
Anita Bryant sold spark plugs
for General Motors' AC division.
She used to perform for General Motors
when I was a child.
I remember her carrying around
a giant spark plug...
and singing You'll Never Walk Alone.
Now she was back in Flint,
offering advice to the unemployed.
Opportunities are still in Flint, Michigan.
They're still in America.
Hang in there. Take a day at a time.
Go forward and be positive about life.
Don't feel regretful or guilty
about the past, or worry about the future.
You have today. Today's a new day.
It's an opportunity for you
to look about you...
and look at the positive within yourself
and within your community.
I read something interesting.
Margaret Thatcher says:
"Cheer up, America.
You live in a great country.
"You're a free country.
You have a great President.
"Not everything's perfect, but cheer up,
because you live in a free America."
So, we live in a free society.
Today is a new day, an opportunity
to do something with yourself.
If nothing else,
thank God for the sunshine...
and for the fact
that you're not starving to death.
Go out and do something with your hands.
I don't know.
Flint is bedrock America.
People here don't quit or give up.
They know there've been many good times
in the past, and there's more...
of good, productive time ahead.
It was like I was reliving my childhood.
First Anita,
and now "Mr. Chevrolet" himself.
Pat Boone had arrived in Flint
just when we needed him.
I look the same.
I liked you the moment I saw you.
More people identified me
with Chevrolet...
than any other sponsor,
and any other spokesman.
Since my family was getting bigger,
we were having a baby a year...
I needed a station wagon.
So each year I worked for Chevrolet...
I had a Corvette
and a station wagon to use.
That strengthened my feeling that this
was a great sponsor and a great product...
which I could whole-heartedly endorse
on television, and did.
Take a look at Chevrolet's'58 Corvette.
What a beauty!
I own and drive one of these myself.
I can vouch for them.
The sweetest-handling baby
on the road today.
Chevrolet's completely new in style.
It's the longest, too.
Have you ever met Roger Smith,
the chairman of General Motors?
I haven't. At least, I don't think I have.
If I had, it would have been
before he was chairman...
years ago, during my involvement.
I don't think we've met.
So you don't know much about him?
I don't know much about him. He seems
to be a very optimistic, can-do kind of guy.
He's not a quitter.
I knew you'd rather have a Buick.
See you later.
Who's to blame
for what's happened in Flint?
I don't think it's anybody's fault.
In a free society,
in a capitalistic, democratic society...
things do change.
There are shifts and trends.
I'm sure General Motors
doesn't have any desire...
to either close down a plant
or put people out of work.
The key becomes the attitude.
Folks wind up saying, "It was
the best thing that happened to me...
"when my job at the plant phased out.
I was only gonna go so far at the plant.
"Now I've got my own business,
whatever it is."
It's maybe no accident...
that the Amway business, for one,
is in aid of Michigan...
offering anybody, for very little money,
a chance to start earning dollars...
having their own store in their home.
If you have a dream, and you
go after your dream, you can do it.
If you do it full-time,
you can really make good money.
You can make a lot of money off of these.
Janet was one of hundreds of
Flint's citizens who had taken Pat's advice.
Although her husband
was still working at GM...
she'd seen many of her friends laid off,
and didn't want to take any chances.
She'd been the founder and host
of Flint's feminist radio show.
Now she was a distributor for Amway.
Color is my main love.
I got color-analyzed myself a couple
of years prior to learning color consulting.
As soon as I found out
what season I was...
it changed my outlook. I went around
draping everyone with my eyes.
I really wanted to get into this business.
It was exciting to me.
About 80 percent of the world's population
is winter or summer.
Blacks, Jews, Italians
most often are winters.
I start with the orange and pink drape.
The reason is
because I want to put you into a family:
The warm family or the cool family.
People who are warm
have a yellow undertone to their skin.
The orange drape
brings the yellow undertone out...
and makes them look really good.
If you put orange
on someone who has a blue undertone...
which would be the pink, or cool, family...
then their face will get real pale...
or they'll look real tired...
or they'll get a lot of ruddiness
come out on their face.
So I like to put what I think
is the wrong color on you first...
then I can compare it to the right color.
That way it will really improve
how you look.
What usually happens
is what I'm seeing happen to her.
She gets jaundice
when you put orange on her.
She turns yellow, looks a little bit sickly.
You might not even see it that much now,
but let's compare it to the pink.
I get a small commission
on every account.
Join up and find out. It's good!
Three months after we attended
Janet's Amway meeting...
she phoned in a panic
and asked that we come back...
as she'd made a terrible mistake.
I've very recently learned
that I am not an autumn.
I was color-analyzed
by someone in the IMS line...
who are the people
who taught me to do colors.
I've discovered that I am another season.
It's a warm season, like autumn,
but it's spring instead.
The colors that I wear
are basically the same color family...
but they're lighter and brighter.
It's really a shock to me,
because I am out there...
color-analyzing women all the time.
Little did I know...
that I was not the season
that I was telling people I was.
I felt sorry for Janet.
So, to cheer her up, I let her do my colors.
As it turned out,
we were the same season.
There were other ways to survive in Flint.
Taco Bell was one.
The local Taco Bell
was retraining laid-off auto workers...
to assemble tacos and chicken fajitas.
The local paper said
this would be their dream job.
When I stopped by to see
how they were doing...
the manager told me
why all the ex-GM workers had been fired.
Many of them say
this is a lot of hard work...
because assembly work is easy.
It depends on what you make it.
At Taco Bell, every day's a new day.
Every time you turn around,
it's a different challenge.
- Taco Light.
- One Taco Light.
- Would you like Cinnamon Crispas?
- Yeah, you make it sound so good.
Dining here today?
Fast food is one of the most
stressful environments...
because of the demands on you.
Fast food demands a fast pace...
because we want to present a food item...
within so many seconds, if we can do it.
The transaction from assembly work
and the fast pace at Taco Bell...
Some of them
just couldn't develop that speed.
There's a number of small manufacturing
companies that have done very well.
One I like to look at is Helmac Co.
Are you familiar with them?
They invented a lint roller.
Now they ship lint rollers
all over the world...
and have a very profitable,
nice business operating.
Maybe there's a...
- There's all kinds of opportunities...
- Tom, wait a minute.
Lint rollers?
That's the solution to an auto industry...
That's an example.
A giant auto industry
that had its birthplace here in Flint?
Lint rollers will pull us
out of this depression?
There's as much opportunity here...
as when Billy Durant started
the motor company on Water Street.
Maybe more opportunities.
- You believe that?
- Yes, I do. Absolutely.
I saw the sign down on the street...
that said you're selling
rabbits and bunnies here?
- For sale?
- You want pets or meat?
Pets or meat?
Meaning I can buy the bunnies
to have as a pet...
or I can buy them for...
Meat. They're already dressed
and cleaned.
I butcher the babies
when they are four or five months old.
That's good.
If you butcher the older ones,
like these guys...
then they're stewers. They're not fryers.
A lot of people like fryers
better than they do the stewers.
- That makes sense.
- So I keep my personal stock.
When my babies get four or five
months old, and I have 15 to 20 babies...
you've got to get rid of them some way.
If they don't sell as pets,
you got to get rid of them as meat.
Them guys are all meat.
- See, they start doing this to each other.
- What's that?
Peeing on each other and stuff like that,
when they get older.
If you don't have separate cages for them,
then they start fighting.
Then the males castrate the other males.
They do. They chew their balls right off.
Then you have a bloody mess.
That's why you got to butcher them
when they're a certain age...
or you have a heck of a mess.
I'm on social security.
The only other income I have
is my rabbits...
for groceries, bills, and my dogs.
I also raise Doberman pinschers.
Because sometimes
I only make $10 to $15 a week...
but that's better than nothing. At least
I can buy $10 to $15 worth of groceries.
'Cause you only get paid once a month
from social security...
and that's not very much.
It's really popular.
A lot of people come down here.
Usually some people come down.
They're only open on Mondays, Tuesdays,
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Saturday and Sunday, they're closed.
On the holidays, they get...
like, $1 to $2 bonus here and there.
If you're doing this every day,
isn't your arm filled with needle marks?
They only keep it in one certain spot.
You keep it right there. Doesn't look bad.
I take some rubbing alcohol
to get the scar tissue to heal up.
Can we see it?
I only do it in my right arm.
It's not so bad.
They only do it in a certain place,
in a certain spot.
It's right here.
They don't track it up.
They only do it in two places.
No! My baby!
Oh, God!
Flint is best known
for its principal industry.
But it's quickly gaining notoriety
as a major crime center.
It's a record year for homicides
in the Vehicle City.
According to the FBI, Flint now has
the highest violent crime rate in America.
... crime rate is one of the highest
on the continent.
A big part of the problem
is there aren't enough jail cells...
for all the criminals.
- got it.
- don't think that target would have lived.
I got two out of the ring there.
- You got three out the ring, son.
- Yes, sir.
Where is my third one?
Here's two here.
Where's the third one out of the ring?
Okay, that one's out of the ring.
Your biggest problem
is your barrel length.
We usually tell them that probably
their best protection for home...
is the short-barreled shotgun.
- Why is that?
- t's easy to handle...
and if you do have to shoot,
you're not liable to miss.
And when they hear that pump gun...
when you rack that,
there's no other sound like it.
Usually you don't have to fire it.
They get moving pretty fast.
They'll move away.
They don't like the sound.
They know exactly what you have.
You don't have to say,
"I have a gun in my hand."
They know it'll really tear them up.
With higher unemployment
creating more crime in Flint...
General Motors and the United Auto
Workers' union came up with a novel idea.
Train the ex-auto workers to be prison
guards and give them jobs in the jails...
now filling up
with their former line mates.
It's kind of sad in a way
to see somebody that you know...
or had done something with
on the outside being in jail...
or sentenced to prison
or something like that.
But I guess it's, you know...
The theory goes, you play, you pay.
And you get over it.
I'd have a possibility to move on.
That's what this 160-hour program
was all about.
I have a certificate now, stating that
I can apply anywhere in the United States.
The money's not an object right now.
If I can improve myself, morally,
the money will come later.
It's almost half
of what I was making at General Motors...
- But I like the work a lot better.
- You'll do what?
It's not as hot.
You don't scare me by saying that.
I'll screw your fucking ass!
I don't care what you think! 'll screw you!
You'll cope with me in a few days,
I'm telling you that now!
You don't scare me! know my rights!
- went to school, okay?
- What's going on?
Someone in a heated discussion
down there, I guess.
I'm going to jump you! 'll get you, man!
...a staff member is a violation of that rule.
I don't respect you!
When you give me respect, I'll respect you.
- Take it easy.
- know my rights!
I really don't know the answer.
I feel sorry for people...
but you can't help them. I mean,
you have such a good welfare program.
So, they just don't want to work.
I don't think so. I really don't know.
- Good shot.
- That's nice.
All four of us have always lived in Flint
and gone to school here.
We just love it so.
- What do you love about it?
- personally love our friends, you know.
And we like our club, and we like...
all the stores and...
you know, what's left of them.
I think everybody should...
try to find another job, or do
something else in training, or something.
You think a lot of people are being lazy?
I think some of them.
I think a lot of them
take the easy way out.
Judge issued the order
to vacate the house.
- Right now?
- Yes, ma'am.
Okay, that's the least he can do.
I'll go get a truck.
- Today?
- Right now.
Can't you wait till we get a truck?
You can get the truck,
but they got a crew on the way here.
They stopped at the store to get a pop.
I'd get dressed if I was you.
We got to vacate the house.
We're doing more evictions,
more repossessions, and everything...
way behind, trying to catch up.
A lot of these people bought
school clothes and didn't pay the rent.
The system's got to change...
because if they didn't have enough money
to pay rent and buy clothes...
they're in trouble, anyway.
I've put out some of my best friends,
but it's nothing personal, you know.
They know me, they know what I do, so...
If they're lucky enough to draw me...
at least they got somebody to talk to.
These people couldn't find a truck.
They called two or three different places.
They called U-Haul...
and they said all their trucks
were out for today.
They called Ryder Truck, and they said
all of theirs were out for today.
A gentleman came by, we hauled him
down, and he didn't want to get involved.
So now I assume they're on the phone,
trying to get a trailer...
from Mark's Trailer Rental
up on Carpenter Road.
Why are all the trucks being rented here?
People are probably moving.
With GM closing,
there are so many people leaving town.
We've handled
over 82,000 address changes.
We're having a lot of people
just abandon their house sometimes.
Thank God we're getting
new equipment here.
We're getting new higher-tech computers
that will be able to process more mail.
I don't foresee this job evaporating.
I feel we're secure in forwarding mail.
Usually we see somebody every day
that we know...
that's moved on, left town.
A lot of people are looking
for work elsewhere.
My husband's currently laid off, and we're
giving some thought to it ourselves.
The GM layoff.
We have been having so many trucks...
go one-way to places like Florida...
and places south of here.
We have a very hard time
keeping trucks in the Flint area.
It's expected we'll get some
of our fleet back towards midsummer...
but with the layoffs coming heavier...
it's going to be very hard
to keep a truck around here.
I continued to dog Roger
all over the country.
From Detroit to Chicago...
to Washington, D.C., to New York City.
I followed a trail of three-martini lunches
in pursuit of the chairman.
I finally found Roger at the
Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City...
where he was getting an award
for the car of the year.
We weren't in the hotel five minutes...
when GM security recognized
one of our crew members...
as a relative of their arch nemesis,
Ralph Nader.
They called the New York City police
and carried him out...
chair and all,
down to precinct headquarters.
As soon as I could,
I headed to Detroit to Roger's office...
where I was determined this time
to get on to the 14th floor.
Excuse me.
- Where are you guys going?
- We're going up to the 14th floor.
- Do you have an appointment?
- We're going to see Roger Smith.
No, you're not. You're not getting
on one of those elevators.
- Why's that?
- You're not going without an appointment.
Can we go up
and try making an appointment?
I need Tony or Denise.
- The reason to talk to Roger Smith?
- Michael Moore.
No, what's your reason
for seeing Roger Smith?
- Excuse me. I need to see you.
- We're making a film...
I quickly sized up the situation:
Three guards in the booth,
plus the one with the corsage...
a dozen security cameras...
and four new cars with inflated
sticker prices parked in the lobby.
If I made a run for it to Roger's office,
what's the worst that could happen?
Before I could fully explore
the consequences of such an action...
my escorts to the 14th floor finally arrived.
Mr. Smith is not in at the present time.
We'd be happy to take your request under
advisement, as with all appointments.
I've been told that before. I've called,
written, and I've been here before.
- Have you written?
- Yes, I've written.
- To whom?
- To Roger Smith...
General Motors building,
Grand Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.
John, how about we have a letter
sent to your office?
Why don't you send a letter to us...
and we will be happy to,
as I say, take it under advisement...
just as we do all requests
to see the chairman.
It's just that I've been waiting for a year
to get this.
It's been under advisement for a long time.
What I'd like to do
is just go up to the 14th floor...
and set up an appointment
with his secretary.
That would be impossible.
Obviously, I was getting
the big blowoff once again.
Meanwhile, things weren't getting better
back in Flint.
More jobs had been eliminated.
The city had become
the unemployment capital of the country.
The visits from the stars
and the creation of new jobs...
had failed to pull Flint
out of its depression.
Just when it appeared
that all hope was lost...
the city fathers came up
with one last great idea.
You don't usually think of
tourist attraction when you think of Flint...
but people here in Flint
would like to change that.
And they're willing to go
to some pretty extreme lengths.
Flint officials would like to see
the local tourist economy explode.
Flint's Convention and Tourism
Bureau president...
says visitors should take advantage
of Flint's convenient location.
Millions of travelers pass by our doorstep.
Now, with this active
and aggressive promotion...
we'll be able to draw them into our city
and experience what we have to offer.
As part of the plan
to attract tourism and conventions...
the city spent $13 million in tax funds
to build a Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Although most people in Flint were now
too poor to afford a room at the Hyatt...
the hotel allowed the public
on opening day...
to come and ride the city's only escalator.
We put a luxury hotel
in the heart of our city...
just like other cities
with their luxury hotels...
with everything from the fountains
and high ceilings...
the atrium lobby, to the large windows,
the large plants.
The quality is there...
what you would find
in Chicago, or Atlanta, or San Francisco.
We've got some great facilities,
as far as places to stay...
interesting places to see, museums...
And it's a nice community to visit.
Meet Mr. And Mrs. Roberts.
They're two of the thousands of people...
who decide to spend some time
at Genesee County each year.
There's the sign. We're almost there.
I can hardly wait to see some of the places
in the brochures.
Let's pull off and fill up first.
- You from out of town?
- Yeah, we're on vacation.
Welcome to Flint. You staying here?
Yeah, we are. Lots to do?
Sure, there's lots of attractions here.
Have you seen Crossroads Village?
See how a little hospitality, right
from the start, really makes a difference?
Suggesting things to see and do
builds our own image...
and it creates
positive word-of-mouth endorsements...
the most inexpensive, yet most valuable
type of advertising there is.
Once again, you see our slogan:
"Flint: Our new spark will surprise you."
Capturing a lot of enthusiasm.
Letting people know there are some
new and surprising things in the Flint area.
This is our visitors' log book.
I see West Germany here, Australia.
Jackie, what are some of the things
that visitors ask us?
First off, "Where is the bathroom?"
That's the question I get asked most.
Then, "What is there to do in Flint?"
The city had a hard time attracting
major conventions to the Hyatt.
It settled for groups like the Michigan
Ready Mix Concrete Association...
and the statewide organization
of Scrabble players.
On this last game,
I made a seven-letter word, "partier."
P- A-R-T-l-E-R.
So we looked in the Scrabble bible,
which is this dictionary...
and it isn't allowed there.
They allow "partied," P-A-R-T-l-E-D...
and "parties," P-A-R-T-l-E-S...
but no "partier."
So don't claim you are one ever.
Flint's leaders needed more tourists.
They hired the company that built
New York's South Street Seaport...
to come to Flint
and create Water Street Pavilion.
We took a four-square-block area,
tore it down...
and built this new facility...
which is a lot of glass and steel,
as well as plants...
and different colors
to make it festive, fun and exciting.
Also, a major parking ramp...
and some other facilities
connected with the building.
It's more than just another building
in downtown Flint.
I like the color and the excitement of it.
It's very good for tourism in our area.
A major stop for the bus tours
that come to our area.
They pull up, park the bus,
and unload 40 senior citizens or so.
Water Street brings a fun atmosphere
that comes with a festival marketplace...
much like other festival marketplaces
around the country.
But the crowning jewel in Flint's plan
to attract tourists was Auto World...
hailed by city officials
as the world's largest indoor theme park.
Today is the first day...
of the rebirth...
of the great city of Flint.
The governor had reason to be excited.
Donny and Marie had come
to celebrate the opening of Auto World...
constructed at a cost
of over $100 million...
and dedicated to the belief
that the automobile made America great.
I paid my $8.95 and saw something
I hadn't seen in a long time...
downtown Flint, rebuilt exactly to scale...
under the glass-enclosed dome
of Auto World...
to look like it used to
before the factory closings.
They predicted
a million tourists would come...
to ride the world's only
indoor Ferris wheel...
to gaze at the world's largest car engine...
and to meet the official sponsors
of the American dream.
My favorite was the exhibit sponsored
by General Motors.
A puppet auto worker...
singing a love song to the robot
replacing him on the assembly line.
The song was called Me and My Buddy.
Auto World will make
a major contribution...
to our important
tourism and travel industry.
It's not only a contribution to that,
but as the mayor said:
"To jobs for our people,
our children, our neighbors."
The million tourists never came to Flint.
The Hyatt went bankrupt
and was put up for sale.
Water Street Pavilion saw
most of its stores go out of business.
And, only six months after opening...
Auto World closed due to a lack of visitors.
I guess it was like
expecting a million people a year...
to go to New Jersey to Chemical World,
or to Valdez, Alaska, to Exxon World.
Some people just don't like to celebrate
human tragedy while on vacation.
It started to get looking like Toronto...
upper middle-class
black and white people...
and everybody was dressed nice.
We thought it would be
the entertainment center of the county...
in all truth.
That may be naive, but that was my goal.
Let's make it the entertainment center...
so that everybody wants to be
in downtown Flint.
We're going to have
entertainment and art.
It's going to be very cultural,
it going to be very upbeat.
Somebody said something to me,
and maybe it's true.
They said, "Look, Maxine...
"you can't make Palm Beach
out of the Bowery.
"You want to make Palm Beach,
you got to go there."
Half of Flint was now receiving
some form of government welfare.
Meanwhile, Roger Smith
gave himself a $2,000,000 raise.
GM lobbyist Tom Kay tried to explain.
I don't understand your connection,
that by saying...
because General Motors was born here,
it owes more to this community.
- don't agree with that.
- Why not?
Because I just don't agree with it.
I believe it's a corporation.
It's in business to make a profit.
It does what it has to do to make a profit.
That's the nature of corporations
or companies.
It's why people take their own money
and invest it in a business...
so they can make money.
It isn't to honor their hometown.
What's going on here?
They're evicting somebody from his home.
I was just wondering.
It turned out that the guy Deputy Fred
was evicting had gone to my high school.
His name was James Bond.
As if that hadn't
caused him enough grief...
he was now being thrown out of his home.
Where can I go to stay?
We had five kids
at the place where I was this morning.
And you went over there
and evicted them?
- Set them out on the ground.
- Why is that?
Because they didn't pay the rent.
You think I like this?
I got other things to do.
- You've been doing it a long time.
- t's a job.
- What can I say? t's a job.
- t's a job.
Somebody's got to do it.
I feel sorry for the people that have kids.
What will they grow up to?
What do they look forward to?
- Lf I was a young man, I'd keep working.
- Look out there. It's nothing.
- They got a bleak future.
- know. I worked over there for 17 years.
- quit. I worked there.
- Why did you quit?
Got tired of the system.
It was like a prison to me, so I quit.
It was like a prison?
That factory played tricks on your mind.
- Where are you going to stay?
- 'll probably stay at my brother's tonight.
The thing is,
I don't want to stay with somebody.
I want a chance
to have something of my own...
which doesn't look
like it's going to happen, ever.
Not in this town.
These are rough times.
Really rough times.
I got thrown out of my house once.
The health inspector came out...
and told me that I was dressing my rabbits
in a unsanitary condition.
So now I have to build me a building...
where there's washable walls,
washable floors...
and an unbreakable light.
I have to have a scale
that weighs properly...
and I have to have three sinks
where I dress the rabbits.
- What's going to happen to him?
- He's going to be eaten.
He's going to be our supper
on the supper table.
What's the matter?
What are you guys crying about?
How do you slaughter them?
Hung them upside-down
and stripped their fur off...
and gutted them.
Quit biting.
And chop their heads off.
Quit it.
What happened to your brother
who worked at the factory?
He got laid off.
Now you know what I'm talking about.
He's dripping.
My girlfriend out in Fenton, we tan them...
and we try to make coats,
gloves and animals out of the furs.
- What kind of coat does rabbit fur make?
- A rabbit coat.
- What else do you think it makes?
- s it a nice coat? Warm?
I don't know. We ain't made one yet.
We got to get enough furs.
- How many do you need?
- A lot.
You need lots and lots of furs.
Right now, we've only got 135 furs...
with all the rabbits I've done so far...
before I got in trouble.
That's why I'm not actually
supposed to be doing this.
I was brought up to learn to survive.
If you were out in the wilderness...
I'm getting ready to gut him.
You think it's hard
to survive in Flint these days?
The shops are all going down,
and people just ain't...
got the money like they used to anymore...
and you can't be buying things.
That's why I said
my rabbit meat usually went...
The people of Flint
had been through the wringer.
Then came the lowest blow.
Money magazine declared Flint
the worst place to live in all the country.
The chamber of commerce and local
beer distributors decided to take a stand.
They would burn Money magazine.
I came to burn Money magazine,
because Flint's my adopted city.
I've lived in plenty of cities,
and this is one of the best.
There's plenty of things to do.
The economy isn't that bad off.
We're all hard workers and survivors,
and I support Flint.
This is to tell people
that Flint is our hometown.
There's no way on God's green earth
it's the worst place to live in the country.
A lot of people say
there's nothing to do in Flint. "Ha!" I say.
I mean, how many cities
have their own PGA Tour event?
Not that many. We have one right here.
How many cities have an air show
the size we have?
How many people have parks,
rivers and trees...
and huge colleges like this over here?
Not that many.
We've got a lot going for us,
and don't ever forget it.
One good way to start out
would be with a song...
about another industrial city
that has seen hard times.
The Boss, Bruce Springsteen,
singing a song about his hometown.
Burn, Money, burn!
That smells like Gary, Indiana.
Don't let anybody tell you
you live in the country's worst place.
They're wrong!
Good evening.
I'm Ted Koppel, and this is Nightline.
Flint was now in the national spotlight.
The biggest event was to come...
when Ted Koppel announced
he'd interview city officials live...
in front of city hall, on Nightline.
The trouble started...
Here's what we know so far.
The ABC news program Nightline
was to be broadcasted live...
from in front of city hall tonight.
The reason? The closing
of the historic Fisher One Plant.
Apparently, moments before
the broadcast...
someone got in the satellite truck
and drove it off, cables and all.
Nightline has had to cancel their segment
from the city of Flint...
and police are looking for a suspect.
Reporting live from city hall in Flint,
I'm Barb Schroeder, TV 12 News.
They caught the unemployed worker
who made off with the Nightline van.
But crime in Flint continued to grow.
One guy thought he was Superman's
cousin and decided to save the town.
He didn't get very far.
He just wanted us to call him Captain Dah.
He said, "You can call me Dah-Dah,"
whatever that meant.
The old jail couldn't hold...
the increasing number of inmates
the judges were locking up.
So the county built
a new, state-of-the-art jail...
that was five stories high
and filled a city block.
The night before the jail was to open,
the city threw a party...
where couples paid $100
to stay overnight in jail.
When you first come in
from the limo ride...
from the pub-crawling before you get here,
they book you...
they give you a free Breathalyzer test,
and a mug shot...
complete with your fingerprinting.
Why do you want to spend the night
in Flint jail?
- Just for the experience.
- Yes, I've never been in jail before.
Let's fight.
And we're having a fantastic time here.
It was time to confront Roger face to face.
Posing as a GM stockholder, I got into
the annual GM shareholders' meeting.
I sat patiently as stockholders
aired their grievances to the board.
Finally, it was my turn at the mike.
Microphone number 40 is somebody
who hasn't had the opportunity to speak.
Mr. Chairman, I have Mr. Michael Moore...
a stockholder from Flint, Michigan.
Mr. Gilbert, I wonder
if you'd like to make a motion to adjourn?
I think we've answered all questions.
I think everyone
has had a turn at the mike.
I have one question.
All right. Moved and adjourned.
Thank you very much.
You've been a great audience.
I thought you said Louie was here.
- He's right there.
- He was sleeping.
He got up slow,
and didn't know what the hell to do.
I think he was surprised,
for whatever reason.
Me, too.
I'm going to leave this stuff here, okay?
They'll pick that up and bring it?
It was two weeks before Christmas.
General Motors was closing the factory...
where the great Flint Sit-down Strike
had taken place.
The UAW had promised...
that a massive demonstration would
be held on the last day of the factory.
Only four workers showed up
to protest the plant closing.
This is my second one I've closed.
It must be my destiny
to close all General Motors plants.
It's never pleasant when something
like this comes to an end...
but life goes on.
What are you going to do?
Excuse me a minute.
Where are you guys from?
We're making a documentary
about Flint, Michigan.
- From where?
- We're independent.
- We'd like you off the lot.
- Why?
Because this is private property.
We'd like you not to be here...
We thought it was a significant day
here today. The factory's closing...
It is a very significant day.
It's a very sad time,
a very private, personal time.
What do you think about General Motors
closing up this factory?
This is a very private, emotional,
family time.
- We would not let outsiders in the plant.
- We're not outsiders. We're from Flint.
You are outsiders. You don't work here.
This community
depends on General Motors...
Jerry, this guy, out.
I don't understand why we can't
talk to them for a couple minutes.
This is the factory's last hour.
What's the problem?
The problem is,
we were told to keep you on the sidewalk.
- You're hired by GM to do that?
- That's correct. On the sidewalk, please.
Mrs. McGee. There she is. Let me ask her.
Why can't we talk to you
if you're the spokesperson?
You can. I'll come outside and talk,
but not inside.
I've asked you to leave.
- We'll go, if you come and talk.
- don't think I'll talk to you.
You're the spokesperson,
and you won't speak to us.
That's correct.
You don't represent anybody.
You're a private interest,
and I won't speak to you.
We happen to be citizens
of this community.
That's not a private interest.
We're all citizens of the community.
On the sidewalk, please.
The 1,800 hourly workers at this operation
were sent home with flowers today.
Even union leaders
offered them bleak advice.
One worker told me, "You know when
they send you flowers? When you die. "
So, not a very merry Christmas.
In fact, as one man
walked out of the plant...
he told me, "I want to wish Roger Smith
a merry Christmas."
It was now Christmas Eve in Flint.
After three years of trying to bring
Roger here, I was ready to give up.
Deputy Fred had three evictions
scheduled for this day.
At the same time, in Detroit...
Roger Smith was beaming
his Christmas message...
to every GM factory throughout the world.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I'd like to welcome you to our traditional
General Motors Christmas program.
We're trying to clear up
all evictions today...
so it won't get into the latter part
of Christmas, which is tomorrow.
We don't want to do any tomorrow.
- Because it's Christmas?
- Right.
Ladies and gentlemen,
it's my pleasure to introduce...
the chairman of General Motors
with his annual Christmas message...
Mr. Roger B. Smith.
You know, the thing that strikes me
about Christmas...
is that it's such a total experience.
For a few weeks out of our year...
our whole environment is transformed.
There are the lights, of course...
that lift us out of winter's cold and gloom.
This bitch got his money
and sent my motherfucking shit out.
They remind us
of the warmth of human companionship...
and of the spring that's never far behind.
Try to lay it down.
The wind will blow it over if you don't.
We listen for jingle bells in the country.
We smell the pine needles on the trees...
and the turkey on the table.
We even dream of a white Christmas...
in the hope that nature will accommodate
our longing for a total experience.
Where are the motherfucking keys?
- That motherfucker got his money.
- They're setting us out on the street!
I paid this man his rent. Give me my shit.
... the individual dignity
and worth of each human being...
the more fully human
each of us will become.
He's got his money!
I showed you the paper!
All I owe that man is $150.
Now let me close with an observation...
that I consider
by a real leading authority on Christmas:
Charles Dickens. Here's what he said:
"I have always thought of Christmas...
"as a good time..."
Get your goddamn coats on!
"...a kind, forgiving,
charitable, pleasant time..."
Set my shit out, and I done paid the bitch!
I only owed the bitch $150, and
I was going to give it to her stinking ass.
"...the only time I know of,
in the long calendar of the year...
"when men and women
seem by one consent...
"to open their hearts freely.
"And therefore...
"though it has never
put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket...
"I believe that it has done me good...
"and will do me good.
"And I say, God bless it!"
Mr. Dickens, I couldn't agree more.
So I say, "God bless Christmas,
and God bless all of you."
Thank you for coming.
Thank you, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith, we came from Flint...
where we filmed
a family being evicted from their home...
the day before Christmas Eve.
A family that worked in your factory.
Would you be willing to come with us
to see the situation in Flint?
I've been to Flint, and I'm sorry for them,
but I don't know anything about it.
Families being evicted on Christmas Eve...
General Motors didn't evict them.
- Talk to the landlord...
- They used to work for GM.
- Now they don't work there anymore.
- 'm sorry, but...
- Could you come to Flint?
- No, I cannot. I'm sorry.
What's Christmas going to be like
for you this year?
I get a couple of days off.
That's the good part.
I get a chance to rest.
But come Tuesday morning, I'll be back.
I failed to bring Roger to Flint.
As we neared the end
of the 20th century...
the rich were richer, the poor poorer...
and people everywhere had a lot less lint...
thanks to the lint rollers
made in my hometown.
It was truly the dawn of a new era.
If you're espousing a philosophy,
which apparently you are...
that the corporation owes employees...
cradle-to-the-grave security,
I don't think that can be accomplished...
under a free enterprise system.
Many of us are proud to be here...
and it will continue to be a good place
to live and raise a family...
and have a good place to work.
- Where are you going?
- am going to Tel Aviv.
Maybe someday
I'll be the Ministress of Tourism.
I mowed the lawn with my shirt off,
made my back stiff.
My wife asked me to mow the lawn
with my pants off next time.
I'm planning on going back to school
in January...
for veterinary assistance,
and also for dog grooming...
'cause there's a lot of animals
that need taking care of.
It's great to have you guys here.
It's been fun having you around.
You see all the craziness that goes on.
If you decide to go for it, you'll make it.