Release Date: June 29, 2007
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Movie of the Day for Friday, May 4, 2007
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He is very, very upset with your pharmaceutical company.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
11/50 Michael Bentley If you aren't angry at the American health care system after watching this, then you are either part of the problem or something is seriously wrong with you.
12/46 Les Winan Ridiculous yet effective. Made me want to move to another country.
15/33 John Seal Michael Moore's best yet
21/94 Shane Jenkins I think this is much more powerful than Farenheit 9/11. Devastating and thought-provoking.
25/34 Dan Krovich It has a good point, but it's just sloppy.
57/214 Max Braden I would have liked more numbers for comparative health costs, because it's otherwise anecdotal on what most people already know. Still, this serves as a good reminder piece.

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For a self-proclaimed slacker, Michael Moore is sure keeping himself busy these days. In addition to his political activism and the book he recently published, he now has another movie set for release. Quite the little worker bee, he's become.

Even before the release of Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore was one of the more successful documentarians in Hollywood. Bowling for Columbine made an impressive amount of money for a documentary, but F9/11 made an impressive amount of money for a film; that it was a documentary - or, as Moore himself pointed it, it is more properly classified as an op-ed piece - made its box-office performance all the more amazing.

So what's next up to be the focus of Moore's unblinking eye? The American healthcare system, focusing on business practices within the industry, especially the managed care system and pharmaceutical companies.

One disadvantage Moore has now that his work has become better known is he can no longer just go somewhere and start filming; the element of surprise, often the best tool for investigative journalists and exposé documentaries, is largely lost. In fact, some of the nation's biggest drug manufacturers circled the figurative wagons, warning their sales representatives and employees not to talk to Moore or suffer dire consequences. And Moore, taking a page from the pharmaceutical companies' own playbook, was rumored to be offering cash to sales representatives who were willing to wear wires and doctors who would allow hidden cameras to be placed in their offices; the alleged amounts were as much as $5,000 to the reps and $50,000 to the doctors.

One can certainly understand the pharmaceutical companies' concerns, particularly given what information is already available regarding some of the less savory practices engaged in by the manufacturing giants. And no one paying any attention to the state of healthcare in America can argue that the system isn't seriously broken and needs fixing, which is perhaps why the drug companies and insurance company lobbyists give so much money to political campaigns; one sure way of preventing any reform at a government level is to provide funds to elect or re-elect people who are going to vote down any legislation that might infringe on the virtual license print money drug manufacturers, managed care outfits and insurance companies currently have. Costs keep going up; fewer and fewer procedures and drugs are on approved insurance company lists; and more and more employers either raise the cost of premiums charged workers to exorbitant levels or stop offering coverage altogether.

It will be interesting to see how Moore handles this subject and what fresh viewpoints he uncovers, but one thing is certain: It will stir controversy. It is also nearly certain that those in the drug and managed care industries will decry the film as biased and manufactured to support Moore's views, and those who seek to insure the 40 million+ Americans without healthcare insurance and rein in the rising costs of medical care will laud it as a breakthrough look at a broken system. And the audience will learn quite a lot in the process. (Stephanie Star Smith/BOP)

Vital statistics for Sicko
Director Michael Moore
Distributor Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company
Rating PG-13
Screen Count 441
Awards Awards page for Sicko
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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