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It used to be that you had to travel to small towns, to read small-town newspapers. Now the Internet brings them to us. Small towns across the country are celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend. Some of the people who live in small towns (and not-so-big cities) will be going to the movies. Others will just be reading about them in the newspaper.

 

I spent some time this morning checking out how the second wave of openings of Fahrenheit 9/11 has been reported. I'm pretty sure Michael Moore was doing the same thing. I'm also pretty sure that George W. Bush isn't going to read any of these stories.

 

 

From the Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, Tennessee:

 

Moviegoers weren't disappointed with Clarksville's premiere of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" -- those that would talk to the media, at least.

 

Several military members interviewed by The Leaf-Chronicle refused to give their names because they feared they could be punished for speaking against the movie's star, President Bush.

 

Watching the film reaffirmed Deborah Ware's opposition to her son's possible return to Iraq. With tears in her eyes, she said the film showed that the U.S. mission in Iraq was making little progress. "(Iraqis) are not doing enough to show us they want us over there," she said. "The news (media) didn't show everything -- it showed a lot of what (government officials) wanted," she said, comparing the film with media coverage.

 

Released nationally June 25, Clarksville's The Great Escape picked up the $6 million film because of its popularity nationwide. Great Escape General Manager William Geltbaker said the theater is geared toward families and doesn't typically show independent films. Friday's local opening day wasn't impressive, Geltbaker said after the movie's first two showings.

 

Betty Clark went to Friday's 7:15 p.m. showing with her husband, Daniel, who is retired from the Navy. Prior to the movie they said they expected the movie to only affirm her already negative opinion of Bush. "I think it'll be pretty close," said Mr. Clark.

 

Austin Peay University student John Dix was shocked by some of the footage, including the "innocent killing of children," he said. "It was great -- very informative," Dix said. But he added,"Some parts may be propaganda."

 

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From the Sun News of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina:

 

A packed house broke into applause Friday after viewing "Fahrenheit 9/11," filmmaker Michael Moore's scathing critique on the Bush administration, at Broadway 16's first showing.

 

"I cried from beginning to end," said Kelli Clark of Virginia, who watched the film with her husband, Tom Clark. The film debuted Friday on the Grand Strand. It has fueled intense emotions from people all along the political spectrum.

 

County Republican Chairman Duane Oliver said he has not seen the film and doesn't plan to. "It's a propaganda film that is just awful," he said. "It puts the whole country in an awful light. ... It's accusations, lies. It's a slap at our country."

 

Many at Broadway's afternoon showing were vacationers. Some came because they like Michael Moore, others because they do not like President Bush. The flick also drew those simply curious to see what all the hype is about.

 

"[Moore's] right," said Emma Fries, 82, of Horry County. "Bush is a horrible person. I knew it before. I didn't need Michael Moore to tell me."

 

Tom Clark said by the end of the film the sight of Bush's face was enough to raise emotion. "Maybe it will have an impact on the election," he said.

 

Jane Johnson, 62, of California, watched the film during her visit to her family. "Since we live in the country, we have a right to both sides," she said. "Of course, it's going to be [Moore's] take on it. We've been listening to George Bush's take for awhile."

 

Mark Shickman, 22, of Maryland, said he's seen Moore's other films. "I don't like him at all, but I liked his first movie," he said. "I don't like the way he attacks people. Sometimes I think it's a little abrasive. But it gets people talking."

 

Emily Casto, 24, of West Virginia, said she came out of curiosity and for fodder for future political discussions. "It should give me some points for when I'm in arguments with my friends," she said.

 

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From the Tribune of Greeley, Colorado:

 

After months of speculation surrounding the new Michael Moore documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," 70 patrons -- more than any other matinee in recent memory of Greeley theater staff -- poured into the first showing at the Carmike theater Friday afternoon.

 

Shortly after, workers at the Carmike theater were explaining away their own controversy. The reel had jammed, and it took nearly 30 minutes before the movie restarted.

 

"Was it sabotage?" one patron shouted out in keeping with the theme of the movie.

 

But after passing out free popcorn, drinks and movie passes, the movie was back under way, and for he next two hours, scenes of deception, live beheadings in the middle east and satirical pictures of Bush filled the screen.

 

 

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From the American of Hattiesburg, Mississippi:

 

Many in the first Hattiesburg audience to see Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" documentary emerged from the theater Friday afternoon saying the film left them angry, unsettled and convinced the portrayal of the Bush administration could be a force in November's elections.

 

For what is proving to be divisive film, those interviewed from the crowd of 50 had high praise for the film.

 

Some, like Hattiesburg residents Latasha Taylor, 33, and Monika Hay, 31, stood by their cars in the Broadacres Cinema parking lot after the film was over, talking about Moore's criticisms of the Bush administration, which some have called mud-slinging and inaccurate.

 

"Even the Republicans that see this, it will make them think twice," Taylor said. "I don't know if it'll change their vote, but it will put things on their mind."

 

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From the Herald-Whig of Quincy, Illinois:

 

The rantings of a biased liberal filmmaker, or a searing expose of a president betraying a nation? Area residents can decide for themselves by watching Michael Moore's controversial film "Farenheit 9/11," which debuted in Quincy Friday at the ShowPlace 6. About 75 people attended Friday's 6:30 p.m. showing of the movie, a documentary about how President George Bush dealt with the Sept. 11 attacks and what Moore claims prompted the war in Iraq.

 

Moore has drawn fire and been accused of distorting the truth in the film and some critics say he is anti-military and anti-business. But most of the crowd broke out into applause at the end of Friday's 6:30 p.m. showing.

 

The film won the top prize at the recent Cannes Film Festival in France last month, and is considered by some to be in the running at next year's Academy Awards. But not everybody is planning on seeing the movie. "I wouldn't go to it simply because it would be a waste of time," said Lonnie Dunn of Quincy, who is secretary of the Adams County Republican Central Committee. "It's not even a movie, it's a commentary. I can read opposing commentary in the newspapers, so I'm not going to waste my time or money."

 

Jim Burns of Quincy says he is planning on seeing the movie soon. "It's my understanding what's gone on in the past year is the traditional press or established press has, at this point, admitted it's not been very good at reporting what was going on, and not challenging what was coming out as official information," he said. "I understand that some of the things he (Moore) says in the movie are stretches, but it's our job to get both sides of any issue and come to our own conclusion."

 

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From the Sun Herald of South Mississippi:

 

GAUTIER - A Bush whacking occurred at Singing River Mall's Village Cinema on Friday afternoon.

 

Linda Trautman, a political scientist from Boston now living in Gulfport, gave rave reviews to Michael Moore's highly anticipated and controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" and insisted that all Americans should see the movie if they want the truth about the war on terror. "The movie was astonishing," said Trautman, one of eight people attending the matinee of the film's Coast debut.

 

"After seeing what I saw, I think there should be further investigations of the president and all matters concerning the war on terror. I would also think this film should be used as a political education tool." She viewed the movie with Eva Gates of Gulfport. The two said they had considered driving to New Orleans to see the film because only a few theaters in Mississippi are showing it.

 

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From the Post-Tribune of Gary, Indiana:

 

After opening June 25 at 868 theaters, including Schererville’s Showplace 16 and the Portage 9, the film will be on 1,710 screens over the Fourth of July weekend, including the Village Theatre in Valparaiso. “It sold out about every show we had,” said Portage 9 manager Angela George. “I was really surprised. I thought it would do good, but not that good.”

 

Scott Cottingham, spokesman for Kerasotes Theatres, which owns the Showplace 16, said, “Most of the shows we had sold out also.” Cottingham, whose office is in Springfield, Ill., said that his impression is that the audiences for “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which attacks the Bush administration, are largely politically partisan. Moore seems to be “preaching to the choir.”

 

On Wednesday, the potential box-office juggernaut “Spider-Man 2” hit the theaters, but Cottingham said the “Fahrenheit 9/11” numbers for Wednesday and Thursday did not drop off, as might have been expected.

 

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From the Daily News of Longview, Washington:

 

 

The film did not arrive in Longview until Wednesday, after the film's distributors opted to expand its release following the successful opening weekend, [Triangle Cinemas General Manager Eddie] Francis said.

 

A smattering of applause followed Friday's early matinee, with approximately 25 in attendance. Francis said that the film's largest audience had been about 75, but he expects attendance to increase over the weekend. Most audience members interviewed responded that the movie was "enlightening" or "interesting."

 

"I though it was very interesting," said Mary Diedrick, 50, a staunch Democrat who stood in line 14 hours to see Bill Clinton sign his bestselling book in Issaquah, Wash., earlier this week. The Longview resident, a school bus driver, said that the late Friday afternoon audience applauded during the show, which played to a half-filled theater. Though she doesn't support the war in Iraq, she said that she didn't think that the film would change the minds of those who feel the war is necessary.

 

However, Moore's film has had that sort of impact on at least two audience members. Darryl and Kathy Murphy of Kelso, recently retired from the restaurant business, said that the movie influenced their opinions of both the Bush administration and the war in Iraq "quite a bit. I wish everyone in American could see this movie," said Kathy, 49.

 

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From the Daily Star of Oneonta, New York:

 

A missed flight delayed the first showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11" at the Southside Cinema on Friday, a cinema official said. As a result, the first showing of the documentary by director Michael Moore started about half-an-hour late, said movie theater supervisor Nathan Constable.

 

 

The first showing of the movie, which broke sales records during its first week of release, was supposed to start at 1:40 p.m., he said. But the reels coming from Technicolor missed the planned earlier flight, he said. They were driven by independent courier from Syracuse and arrived at about 2 p.m., he said.

 

 

"We were supposed to get it at 3 a.m.," Constable said about the print. "People were understanding," he said. There were about 80 people for the second show, including some who left after the first show was delayed, he said. When the woman carrying two orange movie-reel tins appeared, a cheer arose from the dozen or so people who were waiting to see the first show.

 

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From the Gazette of Billings, Montana:

 

 

Sara Hatfield had tears in her eyes Friday when she walked out of the Carmike 7 theater after seeing Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" on its opening-day debut in Billings. "It was amazing," Hatfield said. "It makes everything so clear, so heartbreakingly clear."

 

Hatfield, who was moved to tears by the film, grew up in Billings but now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she works as an actress. She was in New York City when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, she said, and is in town this weekend visiting her family.

 

There were no lines stretching around the theater on Overland Avenue, and ticket sales in Billings didn't appear to match the pace set in other cities where the two-hour film has been met with enthusiasm. A manager at Carmike 7 said he couldn't divulge specific ticket sales numbers. But the 7 p.m. showing had not sold out an hour before it was to begin. The line of moviegoers started forming about 6:40 p.m.

 

Emotions among some who were leaving the theater were high as they stopped to talk about the film. "I don't know how you could come out of that movie and still support George W. Bush," said 18-year-old Ben Halverson. "I went in there not liking George W. Bush, and I come out hating George W. Bush."

 

Jake Demaray, also 18, said the film changed his opinion about the war in Iraq, saying he was moved by interviews of U.S. soldiers. Demaray said the film has the potential to sway some middle-of-the-road voters against President Bush.

 

Both Demaray and Halverson said they were not surprised that more people in Billings didn't show up to see the movie on its opening day here. But the young men said the film crosses ideological barriers when it shows the destruction of war. "You can be a conservative and not like this war," Demaray said.

 

As he left the theater, Dean Frank said the film should make people "sit back and think. I don't think it was pro-Democrat or pro-Republican," Frank said. "I think it was telling about the power establishment."

 

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From the Morning Sun of Pittsburg, Kansas:

 

The audience watching the 2:15 p.m. showing of Fahrenheit 9/11at the Pittsburg 8 theater Friday applauded at the end of the movie, said Linda Knoll, 53, of Pittsburg. Knoll said Moore¹s film simply presented the facts from many different sides of the Iraqi conflict.

 

"It crosses all party lines because it hit on some chords of truth that we¹ve all been struggling with,"she said. "It is a powerful factual indictment of the mistakes we are making."

 

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From the Times of Marietta, Ohio:

 

VIENNA, West Virginia- The politically heated movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" has reached the Mid-Ohio Valley, one week since its release in larger cities.

 

Playing at Grand Central Cinema in Vienna, W.Va., the film may not be able to attract many politically neutral citizens in the area, though. Many area citizens already had their mind made up before watching.

 

Herald Rossiter, 73, of Beverly, saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" because he already disapproved of the Bush administration, and he said he would vote for the Democratic candidate this fall. "I wanted to watch it because I don't like George Bush," Rossiter said. "I'm for John Kerry."

 

Some were also interested in seeing the movie because of the controversy surrounding it. Jessie Knichols, 17, of Parkersburg, considers herself a liberal. "There was so much about it on TV, so I was curious to see it," said Knichols.

 

However, conservatives in the area may be hesitant to watch it. Critics call it angled and edited to fit Moore's opinion. Critics say lies and delusions are abundant in the film.

 

Matt Dole, 25, of Marietta, has not seen the movie and says he never will. He believed the film may convince others, especially a younger audience, to believe it is fact. "It's very disappointing to the young people because it doesn't say 'this is my point of view,'" said Dole. "It's an editorial and not news and commentary."

 

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From the Journal of Rapid City, South Dakota:

 

RAPID CITY -- More than 70 people showed up at the Carmike 7 Cinema here on a hot, sunny Friday afternoon to see the hottest documentary in America.

 

"This is the movie they said nobody wanted to see," author Elizabeth Cook Lynn of Rapid City said. "Isn't that just ridiculous?" Cook Lynn was standing in line for a ticket to the very first Rapid City showing of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11".

 

Last week, a Carmike spokesman said the movie wasn't scheduled to play here because the audience likely would be small. Last weekend, "Fahrenheit 9/11" was the nation's No. 1 box office draw, and Carmike Cinemas nationwide ordered a wider release.

 

Keith Anderson of Black Hawk, a retired electronics manufacturer, was happy Carmike decided to show the film. Anderson was preparing to rent a bus to take 48 people to Sioux Falls to see it. "Carmike succumbed to capitalism," Anderson said, smiling broadly.

 

Anderson, who is 75, served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy Reserve after World War II. "I'm not anti-American, but I'm definitely anti-war," he said.

 

The audience Friday also included a few non-Americans, including Blaise Clements, 23, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, who is visiting the Black Hills with his family. Clements said most of his family and friends in Canada opposed the war in Iraq, and he said he had already read most of the charges Moore's movie makes against the Bush administration and the Bush family. "I think, sometimes, it's easier to see those things when you're on the outside looking in," he said.Richard Thomsen, a student from Norway who is here studying the culture of Plains Indians, said he and other Norwegians resented the United States acting unilaterally as "world police." He also wanted to know, "Why weren't these questions raised here before the war?"

 

Moore's film also takes a couple of shots at Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Moore chides Daschle and other Democrats for not challenging the results of the 2000 presidential election and for voting in favor of legislation giving President Bush broad powers to wage war against Iraq.

 

Daschle spokesman Ted Miller said the senator still believed he voted correctly on the Iraq war vote. Daschle's office had no comment on the 2000 election except to say that people should make up their own minds about the Moore's movie.

 

How well the movie will do in the mostly conservative Black Hills remains to be seen. Democrats Dean and Charlyne Everson were first in line for the 1 p.m. show on Friday.

 

"As good Democrats, I think we ought to be here," Dean Everson said. Then, looking back at a line of 30 or so people, he joked, "I think all the Pennington County Democrats are here."

 

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From the Journal of Winston-Salem, North Carolina:

 

Dallas Brown walked into the Carmike Wynnsong theater yesterday already full of skepticism. He doesn't think the U.S. military should be in Iraq, he doesn't want President Bush in the White House, and he thinks Vice President Dick Cheney is a crook.

 

After watching the first Winston-Salem showing of Fahrenheit 9/11, Brown, 69, of Winston-Salem, said he only feels more strongly. "It's even worse than I thought. They're more corrupt that I ever realized,'' Brown said. "I'm a military veteran and a senior citizen, and I think Bush and his cabinet are a big bowl of corruption."

 

Filmmaker Michael Moore's political film quietly opened in Winston-Salem yesterday at the theater on Hanes Mall Boulevard, a week after opening in Greensboro and across the country to sellout crowds attracted by months of national media coverage. The last movie to generate such interest for political reasons was a few months ago, when Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ opened. Fahrenheit 9/11 was the top box-office attraction nationwide last weekend.

 

The movie nearly sold out its first two showings at Carmike, said Judy Potts, the theater's general manger. The 7 p.m. showing was sold out, and as of last evening, the film had made about $3,500 at the theater, she said. Because it opened a week late in Winston-Salem, Fahrenheit 9/11 is competing with Spider-Man 2, the sequel to the 2002 comic-book hit film starring Tobey Maguire. As of yesterday evening, Spider-Man 2 had made more than double - almost $8,300 in two theaters, Potts said. "This theater is not an artsy-type movie theater.... We cater to families and try and keep family entertainment. That's part of it. Part of it is people saw it last week," she said.

 

Most of audience at the 12:45 p.m. showing supported the film. Many agreed with Moore's anti-Bush politics and said they didn't want to miss out on the hoopla surrounding the film.

 

Susan Jones, 58, of Winston-Salem said that the movie reaffirmed her beliefs. "Even if one-tenth of the movie is true, it certainly warrants a lot of discussion," Jones said. "There was just something about seeing it with a full theater. (Before the movie), I felt very isolated. I've been called unpatriotic for questioning what's going on. Now I feel less isolated having gone to a movie like this. I feel more empowered as a person to take a more public stance."

 

Warren Jones, 66, of Winston-Salem, said that Fahrenheit 9/11 showed "a vivid discrepancy between what we've been told and what really happened" in Iraq.

 

Although most of the film's support comes from Democrats and liberals, Don Williams, a 54-year-old Republican from Kernersville, was among those who watched it at Carmike. "I'm here for the politics part of it," Williams said. "I'm a registered Republican, and I just want to see what's going on."

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