Michael Moore’s eulogy of New York movie theater owner Dan Talbot turned into a polemic against what he calls an “evil, greedy 20th century form of capitalism” that he says is to blame for the closure of Talbot’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, a popular location for the Big Apple’s indie film scene.
Last month, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (LPC) announced that it would be closing after negotiations for a new lease fell through. Talbot passed away two weeks later. Milstein Properties, the company that owns the space, later announced that they would keep the space as a cinema after extensive renovations.
Nonetheless, Moore voiced his anger at Talbot’s memorial Sunday during LPC’s final day of operation, even warning at the start that his eulogy might make some uncomfortable. While Moore held back venom for some of his usual targets like President Trump, he saved most of it for Milstein Properties and for New York’s affluent liberal populace for not keeping the theater alive.
“[Milstein Properties] are part and parcel what this city and liberals have done for a long time — and that’s just to sit back and take it,” he said. “It’s so strange that this neighborhood, the capital of the left in America, would allow this theater to close. It’s shameful — it should be embarrassing.”
He added, “Capitalism killed this cinema — this evil, greedy, 20th century form of capitalism.”
In the midst of his condemnation, Moore praised Talbot, saying that he created an indie cinema that left a huge impact both personally and professionally. One of Moore’s most famous documentaries, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” premiered at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in 2004, setting a then-record for the movie theater with $30,000 on its opening day.
But Moore urged those in attendance to recognize that New York City, while considered a left-leaning city, has also given rise to the sort of conservative figures that liberals opposed — including Trump, Rush Limbaugh and the Buckleys — and said that the closure of LPC should be a call to action.
“You understand, though, that each time we let another thing like this happen, they become empowered. It’s like in horror films when the beast gets fed another morsel and it becomes stronger and stronger,” Moore said.
“I don’t know what to do about this situation. I can say, I’ll be there for anything you want to do — anything you can do to out the Milsteins for what they have done here… At some point, people say, ‘I’ve had enough.’ And the revolt begins. I encourage you and all of us.”