Skip to main content

That's just RELIGULOUS!

I won tickets to an early screening of Religulous and took my brother to watch it earlier tonight. The film was directed by Larry Charles (of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Borat fame), but clearly this was the Bill Maher show.

The movie follows Maher as he treks around the world trying to find out why people believe what they do. He is basically questioning them as to why they are so certain, as he himself tries to promote doub.t The movie primarily focuses on western religions, but in the latter half he tries to do a lightning round with other faiths (ie. Scientology, Mormonism, Islam, etc).

He interviews a bevy of loony characters to ensure laughs, and oftentimes with a smug and arrogant flair. In that sense, the movie works as it balances with more serious talks as he learns about other religions. But more often than not, the discussions are with wacky people rather than learned professionals.

One of the high points for me was a scene in a London park where he pretended to be a Scientologist fanatic. He barked out various Scientology tenets to the bewildered crowd, before a gentleman, who probably thought he was crazy, placed a balloon crown on his head. Random and hilarious.

My main problem was that he had all these good and deep questions, but he never really brought them forth to experts. Instead, he would ask these questions to oddball characters ie. the Jesus actor an amusement park, a pot smoking preacher in Amsterdam, bunch of people at a trailer truck church, a wacky Vatican priest, etc. Had he asked more well-versed professionals, I think it would have been more insightful. However, I understand that he was trying to insert a comedic tone to it, so I can partly forgive him. I guess, I just wish that it had been deeper.

And that's another thing, the comedy bits. The way the interviews were cut was in such a fashion that you knew it was manipulated to try and make the interviewee look like a dumbass. The cuts didn't seem seemless and hurt the flow. I did laugh during the movie, but there were no huge big laughs, and the reaction with the audience seemed lukewarm at best.

Lastly, and this is more of a preference, I wish that more time had been devoted to talk about other religions. I'd say more than half the time was used on Christianity and Catholicism. Since he was going for humour, I would of liked to see more of those strange and wacky religions. He did interview the leader at this one "church" where the leader claimed to be the second coming of Jesus. WACKY! According to the accompanying text, this church had over 100,000 followers worldwide.

As a Christian, I thought going in that I was going to be offended, however I was not. I've watched a bunch of his standup comedy stuff as well as a bunch of his late night talk show appearances, where he seemed more racy than in this movie. After it's all said and done, I'd have to say thumbs in the middle. It made me laugh at parts, but was not wholly satisfying. Later geeks.

Comments

Unknown said…
After watching the previews online and on television, it looks amusing at best.

I would like to see the film, but would definitely bring some grains of salt.

Any thoughts on the new Oliver Stone film "W"?
Kevin said…
Sounds well, just OK.

On a side note, how are you winning all these advanced viewing tickets? :P
The Lam said…
Oooh, questions!

@Late Night Laundry:
I get tix from entering contests either in newspapers or on a few internet sites.

@David:
I've seen the trailer for W. once I think and it didn't exactly leave a lasting impression. I'm sure that in Oliver Stone's hand that it would be fine. I suppose I'd have more of an extreme reaction if I were an American. I understand George Dubya is a goofy dude sometimes, and I guess the movie plays on that a bit by portraying him more as a caricture. I'll wait til it's on video, unless it gets blowaway reactions from critics.
Maher is pitiful. He has such a need to denigrate the convictions of others that it calls his own into question -- which is probably what he's trying to avoid confronting.
Mike said…
I like Bill Maher but the subject matter seems a little tired. I might check it on DVD though.

Popular posts from this blog

Dreamers, Achievers, Believers

It was quite a week last week. It started off on a more heavy note last Sunday, but as the week wore on, things became better and more clear. So let's do a little recap. This is going to be kind of long, so if you find this kind of stuff boring I've inserted pictures of funny cats for your entertainment. So... 1.5 Weeks Ago About 1.5 weeks ago, my friend Jon from Living Room gave me the contact info for his uncle. His uncle is an engineer and apparently was looking for new grads and new hands to hire. That week, I gave him a few calls but he wasn't there when I called him and when he returned my calls, I wasn't here either. We were playing phone tag that week *insert schoolgirl giggle*. Sunday Morning So last Sunday morning, his uncle gave me a call at 9 am (The morning! My weakness! HISS!) and we talked about stuff. I was telling him a bit about school as well as elaborating my work/coop experience as he didn't have my resume yet. So he goes on to tell

George Clooney is UP IN THE AIR!!!

So this is the last in the three movies that I was looking forward to at the end of 2009 (the other two being Bad Lieutenant and Avatar). It's hard to say which movies I enjoyed more because they're all so different, but I can confidently say that I enjoyed all three. Also of the three, this movie is the most realistic when it's all said and done. Up In The Air tells a story about Ryan Bingham, who flies all over America firing people. Laying people off is such a tough thing to do that companies that need to do so hire people like Ryan. It becomes reflective as Ryan sees his own life of isolation at odds compared to the lives of those around him. It's apt that he has such a hollow and thankless job which parallels his own life. Because he's on the road for 250+ days of the year, his own life is quite hollow; with no stable relationships, weakened family ties and no friendships in sight. In fact the first time we see his apartment, I was kind of shocked. Up

R.I.P. Evan Tanner

The body of the professional fighter and former UFC champion, Evan Tanner, 37, was found in the Palo Verde mountain area of California on September 8th, 2008. He was found a few miles away from his campsite on foot, with no water, where the temperatures were around 110 degrees fahrenheit. The coroner's report listed the cause of death as from heat exposure. Tanner left Oceanside, California on September 2nd. On September 4th, he sent a text message to a friend telling him that his motorcycle was out of gas, that he was out of water, and if his friend didn't hear from him the next day, to call the authorities. Unfortunately, Evan never returned home. I'm not the hugest MMA fan, I consider myself a casual fan, and a n00b at best. I was listening to Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer Radio , and the story of Tanner's life sounded intriguing. As fantastic as it sounds, Tanner ventured into the deserts in search of treasure and adventure. I ki