Roger & Me (1989) is a movie about small-town Michigan, and some may even say small-town America. General Motors (the company that was once so important they used to say ‘what’s good for GM is good for the U.S.’) is closing its factories in Flint (MI) and moving production to Mexico. The closing of GM, accompanies with the inevitable closing of the local factories of its suppliers, has a big impact on the community- loss of jobs, loss of homes, decrease in quality of life etc. Michael Moore, arguably the most controversial documentary film-maker in the U.S., tries to get General Motors chairman Roger Smith to come to Flint and see the devastation his decision has caused in the town. Michael Moore fails in persuading Roger Smith to visit Flint, but succeeds in making a good movie.
Many critics argue that Roger & Me is Michael Moore’s best movie. Regardless of whether it is or it is not, Michael Moore effectively highlights the pain caused by relocating factories or outsourcing jobs. Though the movie was made in 1989, the issues Michael Moore discusses in the movie continue to be valid to this day in Michigan. Anyone who heard Governor Romney and Senator McCain battle it out in Michigan last month knows that the people of Michigan would really like to get back those jobs they lost to other countries. The economy being what it is and corporate downsizing refusing to slow down, the movie is a great teaching tool for issues related to globalization, the impact of layoffs, role of big business, automobile industry, competition, top management decision-making, business leadership, public policy, and many others.