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Overheard: ‘Sicko’ Lives Up to the Hype

Michael Moore’s Sicko debuted today at Loew’s Lincoln Square, and Vulture was on the scene. The crowd in attendance was diverse, as were the people who refused to answer our questions: One no-commenter was a relaxed, T-shirt-clad man with the Weinstein company, another a tall man in a slick suit. (Was he one of the health-care reps rumored to be attending the screening?) Meanwhile, insurance-rights organization waved banners as We Be Illin’ did its best to court the youth demographic. We polled people after the screening to find out about why they came, what they’d learned, and whether they thought Moore was an idiotic blowhard — or America’s most tireless patriot.

Spencer Ross

M.B.A student at St. John’s, Democrat

“I think what Moore does is start a national debate and bring up issues that need to be discussed. He is self-promoting and he does have his own agenda, but if you can accept the fact that that’s what he does, I think it’s worth seeing it just to get people talking. I made a note that you didn’t actually see him onscreen until about 45 minutes into the movie, which I thought worked in his favor.”

Lauri Straney

Unemployed, Democrat

“I liked his other movies, and I wanted to see this one. I didn’t know how low we are on the world chart for mortality and health care. I didn’t miss Moore’s presence at all. I didn’t come here to see him onscreen. I came here to see how he dealt with health care in the United States.”

Damien Corboy

Associate film producer, Independent

“I’ve been waiting to see it for a long time. I have my own problems with the health-care industry and come from a long line of politicians, so nothing surprised me. I don’t think Moore’s an idiot, I think he’s trying to point out problems.”

Doug Booth

Musician, Democrat

“I knew a bit about the health-care industry already; I don’t have insurance so I’m familiar with the issues. I’ve had injuries that I haven’t had taken care of, and I still owe bills for others. And I think this is an absolutely amazing and brilliant film. I imagine he’s promoting himself too, but he has heart in what he does.”

Rosemary and Steve Parker

Retired, both Democrats

Steve: “We came to the first screening because we’re faced with huge costs now that we’re retired, in terms of medical insurance. We’ve always felt that the insurance industry, ever since they’ve gotten into medical insurance, is a huge profit-maker and a lot of the money is going to them rather than the caregivers involved.”

Rosemary: “We’ve always known that.”

Steve: “And we’re very concerned about the number of people in this country without health-care insurance.”

Rosemary: “I didn’t know how well insurance was handled in France and Canada and even in Cuba.”

Steve: “…England, the British Islands…”

Rosemary: “That was astounding.”

Steve: “It’s good that the people told the story, rather than Moore.”

Rosemary: “The story told the story.”

—Michael Gsovski

Related: The Treatment [NYM]
Medicine Man: Michael Moore [NYM]

Overheard: ‘Sicko’ Lives Up to the Hype