BEVERLY HILLS, California — Michael Moore is convinced "Fahrenheit 9/11" is the perfect summer movie for the MTV audience to check out.
"The film is full of Butt-heads," the director boasted Tuesday outside the premiere of the controversial documentary. "It's like invasion of the Butt-heads. They all go to D.C. and then another Butt-head, me, comes to try and save the day. And there's a tender love story somewhere in the midst of that."
That tender love story turned out to be a farce, but the film community, which turned out in droves for back-to-back screenings, was more than satisfied with the Butt-heads — Moore received standing ovations for the film, which is intensely critical of President Bush and his administration.
A staggering number of celebrities came out to support the Oscar-winning director, including the Osbournes (minus Ozzy), Drew Barrymore, Ellen DeGeneres, Larry David, Jodie Foster, Viggo Mortensen, Diane Lane, Spike Jonze, John Singleton, Michael Bay and David Duchovny and Téa Leoni, who attended the early screening and reception at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Some (presumably those with Lakers tickets), including Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, Matthew Perry, Jack Black, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Jessica Alba, Sharon Stone and Billy Crystal, caught a later screening at the Laemmle Music Hall across the street.
"I like his stuff, and a chance to see it early and see it for free? Count me in," said director Kevin Smith ("Mallrats," "Clerks"), one of the few who talked to reporters, adding that the film is being released at a bad time for Bush. "It seems like so many people are waiting to see an administration change that you don't even need this film to push it over the edge."
Marisa Tomei, who attended the early screening, said she hopes the film will impact the election, an opinion seemingly shared by many of her peers.
Moore, however, said that was never his intention.
"I'm hoping I'll have an impact on people going out and voting, but that's not why I made the movie," he said. "I made the movie because I want people to go to the movie and have a good time. If they decide to see my movie, I want them to leave going, 'Holy moly, that was something!' "
Part of the entertainment of "Fahrenheit 9/11," of course, is in the ridiculing of Bush. "This film displaces all authority," Moore said, laughing. "So if you're one of those people with a healthy disrespect for authority, this is your movie."
Moore would be more than happy, though, if the documentary did change the minds of Bush supporters or those on the fence. "I read one review where a critic said any swing voter who enters the theater swinging will leave the theater having swung," he said. "I kind of like that."
Before both screenings, Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein introduced the movie and commented on Disney backing out of releasing the film, joking that by putting it out themselves, he and brother Bob Weinstein could be looking for new jobs soon (see "Disney Blocks Michael Moore's Anti-Bush Flick").
After the long ovation that followed the film, Moore told the audience he was optimistic about the election in the wake of a recent book tour that took him to several dozen cities. "There has been a shift in this country. The average American is finally beginning to figure it out. We were duped [into supporting the invasion of Iraq]," he said.
"Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in theaters June 25 and is expected to reach 500 to 1,000 theatres nationwide, a high number for a documentary (see "Michael Moore's Embattled 'Fahrenheit 9/11' To Be Released In June").
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