Friday, February 27, 2009

Not Religilous enough... did I spell that right?

Look at me. I'm worried about spelling a made-up word right. Hmm! I wonder how long it will take for 'Religulous' to hit the spelling bee circuit.
Anyway, from a brief look at the other critics, looks like Ebert was once again the lone positive voice in the braying wilderness, just like with Red Dragon. But religion is one of those touchy subjects, as everyone knows. Me, I'll never forget the time I went to church with a friend of mine and I spent most of that hour relentlessly giggling to myself. I think he joined me a little bit. Oh, the stories I could tell. Actually, I think that's the only one. But fortunately they were forgive and forget Christians, but the friendship did ultimately end over my lack of faith. Probably for the best.
So I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do know it's a touchy subject. And the way Maher handles it, ultimately, is not particularly Oscar-worthy. Sorry, Bill, but I still am a fan and look forward to Real Time tomorrow night, but you're going to have to pay about as many dues as Michael Moore has paid if you want to get a Best Documentary Oscar. And you'll have to direct it yourself, too; technically, Larry Charles would get the Oscar. Al Gore didn't get an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, you know. Its director, Davis Guggenheim, did... oh yeah, and Melissa Etheridge for song. Kewl! Forgot about that.
In terms of approach, it's kind of like an episode of Dream On. You know, footage from old movies used to accentuate the plot. It's creative for a while, but I have to agree with those who hated the movie. It gets grating after a while. The film tries to go for Maximum Awkwardness, showing all the times that Maher's interviewees are at a loss for words. Except for that one crazy-ass Rabbi who got to shake Ahmadinejad's hand. Maher was at a loss for words that time.
Not to be too nitpicky, but Maher seems at his best in the Real Time / Politically Incorrect format. When Real Time goes on hiatus, he'll usually have an HBO special featuring his stand-up. Somehow, it's not the same. I'm not sure what his best special is, or what he would consider his best special, but lately it hasn't been so great. But I did like the graphics on that one he did called "When you ride alone, you ride with Bin Laden." Maybe Obama can get that guy. Dubya couldn't, remember?
What else? I don't want to get too religious about all this, but I will say that I don't think Maher's tone is inconsistent. Some might say it's inconsistent when Maher starts out saying he's preaching doubt, yet at the end he's certain that religion's the problem. I think the two CAN be mutually exclusive. The problem is that even if we do abolish religion, something else will inevitably take its place. Nature abhors a vacuum, and apparently, so does man when struggling with questions about our origins and the infinite vastness of space, etc. No, the real fun begins when God actually does come into our lives. Or maybe Bill Brasky, one or the other. Maybe when we get to the Pearly Gates, God will turn out to be The Giant Squid and he'll ask us, "Yeah yeah, we all got problems. And I got a bad back. So, did'ja bring me a bucketful of sardines or what?"

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

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