Roger & Me (Blu-ray Review)

Roger & MeRoger & Me is a highly original, personal and satire account of one of America’s greatest urban disasters told against the background of the tough times in Flint, Michigan, Moore’s hometown. The birthplace of General Motors, Flint had been economically decimated by, among other things, plant closings and the elimination of 30,000 GM jobs. In Roger & Me, Moore gives cinematic voice to his razor-sharp, compassionate and often wryly humorous perceptions of what went wrong in Flint, and chronicles his much-thwarted efforts to meet face-to-face with then-GM Chairman Roger Smith. Blending humor with scathing indictment, Roger & Me ignited a national discussion about the cruelties of corporate America and inspired other filmmakers to make films that would be seen by wider audiences.

Roger & Me


Back in 1989 this nobody out of Flint, Michigan made his feature film debut about his hometown and how corporations basically took a large behemoth of a crap on its employees just before firing them and sending the community into ruins. The man was Michael Moore and he’s been going at it ever since. Love him or hate him, he does make some pretty compelling stuff. Yeah, I can sit here all day and talk about how he may or may not use creative editing techniques to make people seem worst than they really are, etc., but I am not going to do that. I will also be honest and say that up until this Blu-ray release I had never seen Roger & Me all the way through outside of a few snippets here and there. I had never actually watched the entire flick. There’s a first time for everything.

Flint, Michigan, used to be the cornerstone of America’s automotive manufacturing prowess in the early days of the company. Moore acknowledges this by saying that 90% of his immediate and extended family world for the automotive giant General Motors aka GM. Moore prefaces Roger & Me with some silent 8 mm clips of his childhood and points out the folks that worked for the behemoth of a company. The film zigs and zags and brings us to the present day, which was 1989, as it sees it’s chairman and CEO, Roger Smith lay the hammer down and close down several factories leaving thousands of employees out of work and in potential squalor.

Roger & Me picks up soon thereafter, with Moore on the tail of Roger Smith. All Moore wants to do is interview the guy and get his side of the story. It will prove very difficult to get Smith in the chair for the interview, so Moore decides to interview its community. Moore interviews the local Sheriff who is doing his job of evicting tenants that are behind on the rent. The Sheriff is not without compassion, as he feels bad for the people he is evicting – but he also has a job to do, as well. Moore finds another person to talk to who is the local breeder and seller of rabbits for all of your bunny needs. She raises them, kills them, and sells them, so that she too may make a living. Be warned, if you’re an animal lover, there is an onscreen clubbing and skinning of a rabbit in full view that some find the most trouble with in the entire film. I find it somewhat ironic considering that Flint, Michigan, is portrayed as blight to the rest of the country, but I digress.

Regardless of your political leanings, Roger & Me should be taken a look at. It’s sincere and Michael Moore had not become famous yet. He also functioned more as a “fly on the wall” as opposed to being out in front in every frame like he does in his newer works. Personally, I don’t dislike Moore, and have always found his material entertaining and insightful, regardless of what may or may not have happened in an editing room. I have a brain and can come to my own conclusions.

This edition of Roger & Me is the “25th Anniversary” edition and it’s presented in 1080p sourced from a 4k file that was taken from the original 16 mm negative. I hope I didn’t lose you there. The negative was in bad shape apparently and the studio decided to preserve the content by restoring and filing a DCP version of it. Whatever the case may be this will be the best the film as looked and sounded since it first premiered in theaters way back in 1989. Works for me.

If you’re a fan of Moore’s work then you’ll enjoy revisiting the film. If you’re not a fan then there’s nothing else to it. If you’re at all curious about the film then I suggest giving it a go – it’s very eye opening to say the least.

Roger & Me


Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: Roger & Me was originally shot on 16 mm film stock and by now has almost broken down, as old film stock tends to do. Warner Bros. has mastered this film from the original negative at 4k. Yes, this is the best the film has ever looked but considering it’s low budget roots, that really isn’t saying much. It was obviously done in order to keep it in archive mode – DCP style.

Depth: The Blu-ray image has certain flatness to the image but it’s neither distracting nor called for.

Black Levels: What few scenes there are do slightly crush. Still, I can let it go.

Color Reproduction: Color levels shift depending on the scene or whether it used grainy old stock footage, etc.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look as natural as can be.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise, debris, and all of those sorts of thing do litter the image throughout. Don’t let that stop you – it’s inherent to the source.


Roger & Me


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0, German 2.0, Spanish 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, German, French, Spanish, Japanese

Dynamics: For all intents and purposes this is a mono track split into 2.0. The same sounds are projected on each of the speaker. It’s kind of weird, because if it were standard mono then having the sound be 1ch sent through the center channel would have sufficed. Still, being that it’s a very low budget production from 25 years ago this Blu-ray audio presentation is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Thanks Brett Hart. 😉

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are split to the left and right channels and sound terrific. It’s an obvious dialogue driven documentary, with stock footage thrown in and nothing gets drowned out during playback.


Roger & Me


For being a “25th Anniversary” this special edition Blu-ray isn’t all that special. There’s a brand new audio commentary by Michael Moore and a trailer for the film. That’s it. The rating is a 2-star overall, because the commentary is an entertaining one.


  • Audio Commentary by Director Michael Moore  – Here’s newly recorded commentary for this release by Michael Moore, looking back, reminiscing, and discussing a few ins and outs of the whole process of making Roger & Me. If you’re a student of film and/or making a documentary then this track is required listening.
  • Theatrical Trailer  (SD)  – Here’s the theatrical trailer presented in standard definition.


Roger & Me


Roger & Me is a very effective piece of filmmaking by its breakout director Michael Moore. This 25th Anniversary edition is extremely light on extras, with only a brand new audio commentary by Moore and features a spruced up video and audio track. You take what you can get. The content of the film is a sobering look at Flint, Michigan, and how twenty-five years later: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Roger & Me is highly recommended.


Order Roger & Me on Blu-ray!

Roger & Me


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “Roger & Me (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Eric with Cheese

    Michael Moore is no doubt a polarizing figure, but I always enjoy his work. I have not yet seen this one as my first Moore movie was Bowling for Columbine, so I’ll have to give this a shot!