Last night, I caught a screening of The Clearing , which stars three of my favorites: Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, and Willem Dafoe. It starts out like a thriller, but it is far from thrilling.

Pieter Jan Brugge’s directorial debut is watchable only for its talented cast, a trio of formidable actors who make you wonder what drew them to this particular script. It’s a kidnapping yarn that raises a lot of interesting questions and suggests myriad possibilities for conspiracy and surprise, only to cast off those concerns entirely. It ends by slumping into the territory of simple morality plays — you know the kind, where the captive rich man suddenly realizes that a few of his priorities are out of whack.

My review will be up at CT Movies on Friday.

Now, Newsweek is listing the lies and distortions of Fahrenheit 9/11.

Then there’s this increasing series of fact-checks: Here, and here,

But best of all, there’s Buzzmachine:

This is why I have such a problem with Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11: It seeks to divide.

It demonizes. And it picks the wrong demons. It’s us vs. them, but the them is us.

I hated it when the right wing demonized Bill Clinton. So, you know what? That pretty much makes me honor-bound to hate it when the left wing demonizes George Bush. For I do not believe that the half of America that elected the one is evil while the half that elected the other is angelic.

I can’t stand Michael Moore for looking at America as inspiration for leftist invective just as I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh for looking at America and spewing his right-wing rants.

I hate it when my colleagues in media talk about how we all hate each other when I see absolutely no reporting that backs that up; I can’t stand being turned into a one-dimensional fool by my own business.

Am I going to light a candle and ask, “Can’t we all get along?” No. The issue isn’t us. The issue is how we are portrayed by politicians, political activists, and media. They’re wrong about America.

So it’s time to turn the tables and treat them as they treat us: Let’s cut them out of one-dimensional cloth, for they truly deserve it.

It’s time to treat Michael Moore as the extremist that he is. Simple-minded, simplistic, mean, venemous, a hate-monger who does nothing to advance the debate and aims instead to divide. Add your nominees on the left.

And the same goes for Rush and Jerry Falwell and others who spew their hate and half-facts and bile and intolerance. Add your nominees on the right.

They are extremists.

We’re not.

And media are their dupes or, worse, coconspirators.

But we the people now have a medium to call our own. We need to use it to reclaim the reasonable middle.

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