First Russo Movie Reviews

The first reviews of Aaron Russo’s new documentary, America: From Freedom to Fascism, are in. With two good ones, and one bad one, I think I’ll create a review sandwich with a sampling from each of them.

Michael C. Ruppert:

A Jewish guy from Brooklyn who made good in the movie business winds up at the end of this movie getting told by another Jewish guy who used to head the Internal Revenue Service, “Gornished von hellfin.” Translated, the Yiddish expression means, “Nothing can help you.” As former IRS Commissioner Sheldon Cohen says it to Russo at the end of America: From Freedom to Fascism, one thing is crystal clear, Cohen is speaking to everybody. Every American of every religion, gender, color, stripe and cholesterol count is directly, personally, and tangibly affected by the things that Russo so compellingly shows us in this movie. What happens in between the beginning and the end has nailed sneak-preview audiences in more than a dozen cities to their seats in (according to Russo and others) larger numbers than those for (gag) Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. […]

In the end Aaron Russo does fall short because, not surprisingly, he fails to come up with a quick, easy, silver-bullet solution that Americans have been trained to expect. Is that his fault or ours? Filmmakers like Aaron Russo have been wrongly perceived by many Americans as silver bullets in their own right. Perhaps unintentionally, the film documents Russo’s (continuing) discovery that the appearance of American democracy and economic liberty is a cynical façade.

Scott Moore:

Look out, Michael Moore: the libertarians are straight-up jacking your style. In his former life, Aaron Russo produced Hollywood films that entertained, like Trading Places. Now, he’s set his sights on pimping the idea that the American government has become a fascist state. How? Through taxes and spy chips, of course! This film wasn’t screened for critics, but if the trailer is any indication, the movie largely consists of anti-tax activists demanding to know what the constitutional basis is for income taxes. Not surprisingly, that isn’t followed by questions of how we’d fund healthcare for the poor and elderly, or keep people from starving to death, without taxes. Then again, topics like “compassion” and “other people” have never overly concerned libertarians.

Lindsay A. Gerken:

Throughout the documentary, the Ashland crowd laughed and whistled at the points Russo made, while swimming through a range of emotions brought on by Russo’s logically sequenced argument. The music accompanying the film was accurately in step with the topic, including songs like The Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth (Stop, hey what’s that sound),” the Beatles’ “Taxman,” and Pink Floyd’s “Money.” In addition to Russo’s mosaic of interviews with experts, interspersed intelligently between film clips were significant quotes made by famous people about the state of a government run by its people. […]

A flurry of networking occurred after the film ended, bringing numerous representatives of ecologically-aware groups and tax-reform advocates together to chat and exchange names and ideas.

The film makes several powerful suggestions for action that Ashland viewers cheered for, including not to accept a national ID chip or card, and to vote for representatives that will sign an affidavit to question and possibly extinguish the Federal Reserve System. The film leaves our bi-partisan viewers with the suggestion to stop being good democrats and good republicans, and join together.

As Aaron Russo’s documentary, America: From Freedom to Fascism, circulates throughout the country, overflowing auditoriums and receiving standing ovations, our fingers and many others’ are crossed in the hope that Russo’s film will actually screen in a theatre near you.

There’s more at the IMDB (registration required).

UPDATE: Russo’s been on the phone today. Apparently he called Michael Ruppert, who made this correction to his review. He wanted me to insure that everyone knows that the middle review (the socialist one) was of the trailer, and not the complete documentary. I think y’all already figgered that out.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I noticed that Michael Ruppert did one of the reviews. I used to be a bigger admirer or Ruppert until I came across a lot of information that says that the “Peak Oil” theory that he pushes is a scam. I agree that oil is certainly a major factor in global affairs, but Ruppert paints this doom and gloom scenario that we are running out of oil and that there are no alternative energy sources that can replace it and therefore we’ve got to accept global depopulation. There is a lot of evidence that we are not running out of oil and that there are several alternative energy sources that are not being utilized and that the elite (who control the government and the oil companies) want people to accept “Peak Oil” because it fits in with their agenda of a global police state and forced depopulation.

  2. So, one bad review from someone who watched the trailer and two good reviews from the same fringe website. Not a whole lot of “there” there, if you know what I mean.

  3. It always concerns me when people use the words “compassion” and “government” in the same sentence. How can stealing money from someone and keeping some for yourself and other cronies and then giving what is left to supposedly poor people or heck even rich people be compassionate. I always thought that compassion had to be done voluntarily and from the heart. Only individuals can do that. I mean just look at Katrina, people left and right were being compassionate with their time and money, but the gov’t was making it very difficult for these individuals or groups of individuals to bring their compassion to the people affected by Katrina.

    I guess I would like to know what is Scott Moore’s, as well as President Bush’s, definition of compassion?

    I believe that most libertarians are very compassionate. They just feel that it needs to be done on an individual and voluntary basis.

  4. Is the second reviewer, Scott Moore, related to Michael Moore?

    There’s nothing worse than trying to do a book report without reading the book…it’s painfully obvious. This review reads like the dust jacket that is the trailer on the website.

  5. It was an amazing experience to watch. The kind that made the audience buzz.

    I used to manage movie theatres, and if the audience is buzzing like a hive of bees when it comes out of the theatre (or is reluctant to leave), then you have a word-of-mouth movie.

    What you need is candidates standing outside at the exit with libertarian solutions to the question of how to care for the needy, etc., and who understand what needs to be done to fix the problems.

  6. I have seen then movie, and I can say that most people would do well to watch it and consider Mr. Russo’s points. Certainly the core argument, that the government is dangerous and that the IRS is a key enabler of that threat, are ideas that I am happy to see spread far and wide.

    There are a couple of problems with “Freedom to Fascism”, though:
    1) A fair amount of it is devoted to useless arguments, such as the debate over whether the 16th amendment was ratified. The courts have spoken on that question, and they’re not going to change their minds.
    2) Its target audience appears to be those of us who are already strongly libertarian. Thus I had a grand time watching it, but three friends with whom I watched the screening were left cold. I had hoped that watching would help them become clued-in.

    I’m grateful to Mr. Russo, and I intend to add the DVD of this film to my arsenal of cluification tools, but I’d hoped for more. I’d hoped for something that would convince normal people.

  7. Terry,

    What I find most annoying about the tired, old libertarian criticisms from those like Scott Moore is their implication that healthcare for the poor/elderly and feeding the starving has always and forever been provided by government. Obviously this is ridiculous; would such critics opine that all Americans in the pre-New Deal era were lacking compassion and unconcerned with others simply because government had not yet co-opted these functions?

  8. Well said, Robert. I beleive the number one health problem of our poor and indigent is obesity. Look around you. There is nobody starving. All these bleeding hearts want to look out for people that don’t exist and they also presume that only government is capable of providing for them and that it does provide for them and that it is morally acceptable for that provision to me made by government.

    Don’t worry. People like that will get what they deserve. I can’t wait to see what they will say when it will be a struggle for them to feed themselves as a result of their own proposed policies. Americans are fat a need a good trimming down both at the waist line and government line. And it will happen the (relatively) easy way or the hard way, but there is no silver bullet. No magic pill. The attitude of everything for nothing must and will end. I can’t wait!

  9. Any reduction in starving that may have occurred during the past century would surely be attributable to technological advancements resulting in production efficiencies which in turn result in higher standards of living for all. Government redistribution mostly just creates classes of 1) dependent people who are incentivized to not be productive, and 2) bureaucrats who who are incentivized to do whatever is necessary to maintain their non-productive careers.

  10. People actually worked hard for a dollar prior to 1913. There was no need to depend on the government, it wasn’t in their vocabulary.

  11. Me and my family are going to St. Charles IL on Saturday to see the movie. I am going to write a review and post it on my blog when I get back.

  12. Any reduction in starving that may have occurred during the past century would surely be attributable to technological advancements resulting in production efficiencies which in turn result in higher standards of living for all.

    Which government greatly impedes.