The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains... See full summary »
Jack Rebney is the most famous man you've never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video, Rebney's outrageously funny outtakes became an underground sensation and ... See full summary »
HECKLER is a comedic feature documentary exploring the increasingly critical world we live in. After starring in a film that was critically bashed, Jamie Kennedy takes on hecklers and ... See full summary »
Bill Maher interviews some of religion's oddest adherents. Muslims, Jews and Christians of many kinds pass before his jaundiced eye. Maher goes to a Creationist Museum in Kentucky, which shows that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time 5000 years ago. He talks to truckers at a Truckers' Chapel. (Sign outside: "Jesus love you.") He goes to a theme park called Holy Land in Florida. He speaks to a rabbi in league with Holocaust deniers. He talks to a Muslim musician who preaches hatred of Jews. Maher finds the unlikeliest of believers and, in a certain Vatican priest, he even finds an unlikely skeptic. Written by
The film used the fake working title "A Spiritual Journey" in order to obtain interviews with religious leaders. They did not know that Bill Maher was involved in the film until he arrived for the interviews. See more »
After the credits, there is one last clip of Bill Maher with his mother and sister. He tells them "I'll see you in heaven", and they laugh. His mother says "who knows," and there is a title card "In loving memory of Julie Maher, 1919-2007". See more »
I found this movie exhilarating. I'm with you, Bill Maher! That said, this film attempts to cover the basic tenets and idiocies of several of the major religions, namely Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam. It also encompasses evangelical/American/born-again-type Jesus-focused religion, which considers itself "Christian" but I have never understood that title, since Catholics revere Jesus also. But anyway...
Maher is a smart man, and I would like to think that he considered the points I feel were left out of the movie and chose not to include them for the sake of condensing the film. However, there are several facts that I think would have made an even stronger case against mass religion in general:
1. Although Maher mentions several times that the Judeo-Christian Bible was written by men, and therefore contains the fallacies of men, he does not bring up the fact that the Bible has been constantly rewritten, translated from language to language, and amended to suit the needs of those in charge of its distribution -- for most of history since Christ, this was the Catholic Church and its founders. And for those of you who don't know, translation is not an exact science. Languages just do not translate word for word, and the accuracy of the translation depends on the skill, vocabulary, and motives of the translator (a human being, don't forget).
2. Catholicism was successful because it incorporated many old religions. Greek and Roman gods are just a few of those who have direct equivalents among the Catholic saints. Mahar discusses the inherent flaw in a monotheistic religion with bunches of demigods, but he does not point out that Catholicism deliberately found supposedly Catholic replacements for the more ancient, household-type gods. Why? Because those who wanted the religion to succeed decided that people would be more likely to convert to it if it weren't too different from what they were used to. Why did these men want the religion to succeed? For the same reasons that people promote religions today: to gain money and power, particularly in the form of influence. Maher reminds us that the story of Jesus Christ included many elements of older heroes or gods, but the film presents this as a matter of fact, not pointing out that Catholicism was built upon the success of these preceding stories and histories. The types of dramas that move the human spirit have not changed over thousands of years--they have simply been retold and reinterpreted.
3. My third point is more of a question. I was raised as a "nouveau" American Catholic, so I feel that I know a little bit about that religion, but I know next to nothing about Islam. However, it is my understanding that Mohammed did not want images of himself used to promote his teachings. Is this why some Muslims get so mad when an image, ridiculing or not, of the prophet is publicized? I wish Maher had included this, as he did talk a lot about the violence specified in the Koran.
This is a terrific film. It is funny and has a great soundtrack. My hat is off to Maher for his nerve in interviewing people who become belligerent when their religion is questioned. I guess it partly comes from being a comedian--one must have guts and a thick skin! The message of the film, however, is not humorous at all. It is truly terrifying to think of all the murder, torture, and oppression that is perpetuated in the name of religion. Why then, is someone who calls himself "Godly" or "religious" considered to be a person with wholesome morals?
188 of 267 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?