I Am (2010) Poster

(III) (2010)

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A philosophical/political personal journey of discovery
bradfregger24 April 2011
Right up front, I'm a political/social conservative who is okay with marijuana and gay marriage. This may have prejudiced this review a bit.

First, this is a beautiful movie of self-discovery. And, I do mean self- discovery. There really wasn't a single concept discussed that hasn't been discussed since I was in high school and I'm 70 years old. Actually, these concepts have probably been discussed for the past 5,000 years or more.

However, if you want to experience a man living through his moment of "enlightenment," this movie will give you that. Essentially, he discovers that happiness doesn't come from material things, but from being involved in something bigger than himself, something that makes a difference.

He's very careful to state that you don't need to make a big difference to gain a sense of worth and happiness, even the small, little things make a difference. He supports these concepts with some relatively recent scientific research, that points to the power of matters of the heart and the impact our negative and positive thoughts can have on ourselves as well as others; in fact, the environment around us. As I said earlier, toss out the research and you're left with what philosophers and mystics have been telling us for ages.

One of the major themes sounded very socialistic (this was the political part) , pretty much: From those who have too much, to those who have too little. This is, of course, a common theme amongst progressives (redistribution of wealth). However, something he hinted at was a bit different. He seemed to say that this had to come from the heart, from a personal commitment to help others, to help the community. I would agree and add, that this means that it can't be instigated by any government, you can't order people to love their neighbor. Nothing good comes from trying to do that.

The big disappointment for me, was the lack of any discussion concerning what I consider to be the two most important questions that this line of thought must deal with.

1) What do you do about those who decide to take full advantage of the situation and choose only to take and not to give? In other words, live off of the efforts of others.

2) What do you do about those who decide to manipulate the system to their own personal advantage, both from the financial and the position of power perspectives?

This type of society leaves itself wide open to that, without a very strong central government that makes sure that things stay fair. However, usually those in the government are the ones to take advantage, and no real gains are achieved by the vast majority of the population.

I really wish, someday, someone with these Utopian thoughts would honestly approach the tough questions. ... and yes, this is a movie about Utopia ... but, alas, I'm afraid the tough questions will remain unanswered, utopias will continue to fail and humanity will still be having this dream 5,000 years from now.
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Be the change
curtis-lori17 January 2011
This is a complete change of pace from the man who brought us Ace Ventura and Liar, Liar. Here Tom looks at the deeper questions of what is wrong with our world and what can we do to change it. Unfortunately, that makes it sound like homework and it is anything but. Tom uses his skill as a filmmaker and his humor to bring us on a journey of enlightenment with him. He has thoughtful conversations with many of the worlds best thinkers and puts the question "what's wrong with our world" to them. Are aggression and competition really the natural order? Is there a better way? This movie asks the questions and gives some possible answers in an entertaining and non-preachy way. The world is what we make of it, and our experience of life is ours to control.

See this movie!!
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Tom's has tapped into deep truths with I AM.
jimmer715 February 2011
This is movie shows the ability we have to change and shift the world as we know it. Tom did a wonderful job with this documentary. The high school students who were in attendance to the screening began to ask deep questions. Questions that brings me faith in a new world that works for everyone.

Be the drop the in the sea and make a difference. Tom's work is spurring work that I've already begun. I highly recommend this movie to everyone, including our teenagers. If I had a chance to see this as a teen, I would've related. It took me 37 years of my life bouncing back and forth of seeking the truth on opposing sides of issues. I've found the answer is not in a position against anything.
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Asking a controversial question
a c28 January 2011
I had the pleasure of seeing this movie last evening at my daughters high school. Tom & his team brought a unique perspective to the kids of our world. The film asks some interesting questions, but does not presume so much as to provide answers to something so unanswerable. Instead, it challenges the viewer to look inside themselves a bit & to consider how they interact with the world around them. To be open minded to a world of possibilities and more importantly; to not take your role in this world nor the size of your act as insignificant.

To often we adults layered with our cynicism, skepticism & selfishness forget that the world is still brand new to our children. The film reaches out to empower the young & reminds them they have the power to create the world they wish to live in.

Do yourself and your children a favor, take a moment to see this film when it comes out!
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Interesting But Rather General
gavin694227 August 2013
Director Tom Shadyac speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what is wrong with our world and how we can improve both this world and the way we live in it.

I appreciate that Shadyac decided to look beyond the world of comedy and try to find a deeper truth in the world. He is an intelligent man and it is good to be able to see this side of him, because "Ace Ventura" does not necessarily suggest a man craving wisdom.

I also like some of the folks he sought out. There is clearly a liberal bias with Chomsky, Hartman and Zinn being the models, but it was still good to hear from these thinkers. What would the right-wing think tank members say on what is wrong with the world?

In the end, though, I give it a moderate rating because it never really gets in any depth. The question is vague, and without looking for specific answers, you cannot get the best advice. We all know the world is better if we love one another and pass on a smile, but what is the fundamental problem?
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A truth taco in a tortilla of lies,
fredmelden-131 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I AM reminds me of the Vietnam-era general's quote: We had to destroy the village to save it. I AM has a correct message, but destroys its effectiveness with a lot of new-agey cow pies. (Not sure what the lingo standards are on IMDb.) Lets begin with the big lies. In 1500, the scientists DID NOT say the earth was flat. In fact, 1500 was well into the enlightenment. Even during the Middle Ages the scholars (not "scientists" in the modern sense of the term) knew and said the earth was round. Even during the Dark Ages they knew – and said – the earth was curved. Hemisphere? Globe? They were uncertain, but they definitely knew it was not flat. Yes, they said it was at the center of the cosmos, but it was scientists who proved that wrong. Also, the movie constantly reiterates that scientists have depicted man as separate from the rest of nature, and even parts of nature separate from each other. The statement is true but ignores the science of the last hundred years, which has increasingly changed that view. It was scientists with mathematicians who discovered quantum entanglement (mentioned in I AM), along with quantum physics. And it was a scientists who decades ago stated that the universe resembles less a clock than mind.

It is true, as another commenter writes, that love and cooperation are in our genes. But so is aggression and violence – just read Jane Goodall's account of chimps, or her statements given in interviews. She wrote of seeing one chimpanzee clan literally wipe out another whose members had previously been part of the first clan.

As carlupq points out, the references in the movie (to trees and lions only taking what they need) is ridiculous. Carrier pigeons were once so plentiful in America, that their flocks would destroy a forest by merely occupying it for a month. And biological die-offs are common in nature, the result of natural imbalances building up to collapses.

And yet, clearly, Tom Shadyac is not entirely off-base. We HAVE developed an obsession with money and stuff, and it IS destroying our nation and the world. We are as off-balance as populations prior to die-offs. Worse, we've lost our way spiritually. Commenter carlupq goes a bit too far in his rah-rah for the free market, but we – our society and the world's advanced nations, and advancing ones too – need a new vision. Poverty is not the answer, nor is a mythical touchy-feely view of man as this inherently kind and caring creature – who coincidently happens to have been slaughtering his fellow man and despoiling his environment since the earliest large groupings arose.

No, I AM correctly points to the need for change, a fundamental change in our thinking and our subsequent doings. Unfortunately, it plays off of, and spreads, too many silly ideas to be taken seriously by any except those already in the new-age fold. We need to convince the average Joe and Jane who live in the city and suburbia, and who recognize both the good and the evil in man, that we have to change, and that their children and grandchildren will ultimately be happier by our doing so. We will not convince them with unrealistic views of nature and mankind, but only by the real dangers of continuing on our current paths.
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imdb-197816 August 2014
Even though in my opinion there are enjoyable parts in the documentary -those being how the individual struggle for power is pointless and counterproductive-, it falls easily into the definition of a new-age, pseudo-scientific documentary.

I always think when I hear some kind of statements like those put by some of the interviewees. And those thoughts end up revolving the question "if you know so little of science, why are you using science to sell your delusional spiritual idea?". Just go with the spiritual idea and don't bastardize (i.e.) quantum mechanics! Yeah, a bit like "The Secret". Thanks to films like this you'll have somebody telling you that "The 'electromagnetic aura' that your heart is producing communicates with me in spiritual ways". Or equivalent mumbo-jumbo. This should be like church and state: don't mix science with pseudo-spiritualism.

There are fine interviewees like Noam Chomsky or Desmond Tutu. There's a nice message promoting empathy and coexistence through cooperation. However, those fine feelings don't surpass the perception of facing a documentary that is pretentiously deep, but doesn't even scratch the surface of the complexity of our current overpopulated civilization. Or the surface of the complexity of human behaviour, for that matter. In my opinion, it doesn't link humans with the nature of societies in a satisfactory way. In a way, I feel like "it's food for thought of simple minds". Even though that sounds quite arrogant.

In the technical approach, I would say that somebody in the editing should learn the concept of 'aspect ratio' (that intermittent stretching that I doubt it's only in my copy of the film).
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I Am Staunchly Anti-science
Sam Quigley26 July 2014
After telling us in no uncertain terms that science is nonsense—because people once thought the earth was flat—in the opening minutes, Shadyac goes on to speak to a scientist about how great it is that science can tell us how many particles of argon are in the air, before talking to a bunch of pseudoscientists about how our hearts are psychic and yoghurt has feelings.

As he has it, since quantum mechanics seems to suggest that electrons can be into two places at once, the yoghurt on the table must be responding to his emotions. Not the other guy's, nor the camera guy's, mind you. Can't seem to make any logical connection between one hypothesis and the other, or think the experiment is a bit iffy? Then you have been brainwashed by Big Business, or something.

And it must be true, because a dude who can't get hired to direct in Hollywood anymore sold up and moved to a smaller place in Malibu and then made a movie about how enlightened that proves he is.

My sister is not talking to me because I mocked her praise of this film. I stand by my decision.
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I Am because I care to be. I Am the change that I desire. I Am where it all starts. I Am responsible.
stevenm195521 March 2011
A successful and wealthy Hollywood director/producer, Tom Shadyac, following a nasty bicycle accident and ensuing significant PTSD, recovered to put together this wonderful documentary concerning the philosophical components of what creates a satisfied and happy life/community. What was found that when it comes right down to it, all we really need is love. "I Am" is a documentary & solution of our global problem, attempting to instill consciousness and awakening into its viewers, one person at a time. It is 76 minutes of happy talk, Koyaanisqatsi-style (Francis Ford Coppola/Godfrey Reggio's 1982 documentary) with slow-motion stock footage, reflective historical archival excerpts and a mixture of relevant film clips ("Wall Street," "It's a Wonderful Life"), quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Gandhi, splices of spiritual songs w/ incredible poignant lyrics- all teamed to emotional tie-ins that elevate the human spirit with empathy, empowerment & a brilliant understanding of connection and a desire to want to "make a difference". Its style and method has much connection to Michael Moore documentaries, but doesn't leave the viewer in such an angry and impotent mood post showing. Likewise, the film uses the producer's own life story to show that "more" doesn't equate to "happy". It illustrates how a common thread of disorder/dissatisfaction is inter-weaved into our whole western culture's neurosis, intuitively then, & at the individual's psyche this subsequent emotional instability (dis-ease) is obviously the response to a total disconnection from the interconnectedness of all life, & its interdependency of nature, community, and rightful, unselfish purpose. Our responsive and internal behaviors seem to shout "defense mechanism" as protection to the affront priorities of our culture's "smoke and mirrors". The film's title is not a proud declaration but an acceptance of responsibility. Shadyac holds himself up as a prime example of the conspicuous consumption that many native cultures consider a sign of mental illness.

Putting together a lot of the best contemporary minds of science, politics, spirituality, philosophy, statesmen and poetry, as well as prominent authors of esoteric concepts blending "the physics of consciousness" and "the biology of love", Shadyac set out to answer two questions: What's wrong with our world? What can we do about it? The unequivocal agreement he ascertains is that we're (as a species) hard-wired for cooperation rather than competition, we should listen and behave more from our hearts (and less from our heads), that science and abstract mathematics do change over time, have manipulative appeal with long time consequences are often NOT the answer and with this- the fundamental nature of man is essentially benevolent and not cruel.

Though the answers to these two questions appear voluminous, complicated and opaque, the flow of this movie shows a glowing and simple answer. Yes, people are good, and this movie is a positive and expansive experience. The movie is open to the miraculous nature of existence and the potential for change rather than extinction and other untoward direction of decay and devastation.
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Pointless, self-ingratiating tripe
Shazam-O28 December 2012
Does Shadyac want a medal for moving into a (rather nice, upscale) mobile home lot in Malibu?

This movie has no point. It is 90 minutes of some rich Hollywood guy who almost dies, has an epiphany that "Hey, maybe I've been a greedy bastard these past 20 years and maybe there's more to life than private jets, luxury cars and fancy homes," and makes a movie about it. In which he shows picture after picture after picture of his luxury homes and himself standing in front of a private jet and a luxury car. Three times we see the same photo of him standing on the tarmac.

The thesis of his movie is something along the lines of Nature is holistic, all Living Things are of One, Man is by his own nature Good and full of Empathy and the Heart is more powerful than the brain. He takes sound bites from interviews with some popular academics such as Noam Chomsky and David Suzuki (neither of whom I think actually buy into his hippy Gaia hypothesis full scale). We are programmed by society, by competitive sports and spelling bees, to go against our Nature of Cooperation. Everyone is nice if just given the chance!

He argues that Man can have revolution through peaceful means and that one person CAN make difference. And then he uses Gandhi as his example. Wow, one example out of thousands of years of war. He also gives a nod to Mandela, the Dali Lama, Martin Luther King. But he doesn't delve any deeper than that. He does not ask why Man can be Bad. But he is ecstatic that he can make yogurt smile.

He really does not SAY ANYTHING in this winding, melancholic ramble. He does not offer The Answers. Which is kind of important seeing as he begins the movie asking his Two Questions. It is basically 90 minutes of being privy to some guy wonder about stuff. Wonder about Life as he stares up at the clouds and out at the rolling waves of the ocean from the private beach in his gated (mobile home) community.
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Good moral premise falls flat & insulting
Andrew John28 January 2014
I like the moral premise and idea that all life is connected and happiness is not directly related to money once basic needs are met, but when the filmmaker resorts to pseudoscience trickery he alienates me . Somethings can't or don't need to be proved.The filmmaker shows yogurt with meter probes "reading" his feelings.The next one that got me was the"random number generators that all stopped when there was a major catastrophe. What they are used for anyway? Why they stopped did not impress me.What does a computer care about a tsunami? Is it alive? If you want to prove something with science you have to show more data. So if you want a show that starts with a nice warm cooperative premise and ends with trickery this is a good "bait and switch" for you.

PS:Happiness is living in a Malibu beach mobile home with 10 million in the bank and a career in Hollywood film directing.Does that compare to the the average struggling person in a mobile home park with no other options? Now I must stop myself.
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Woo Alert
Warning: Spoilers
It started out OK just long enough to suck me in, then it went down the path of pseudo-scientific new age idiocy (aka woo) as bad or worse than "The Secret."

Real science is not going to lend legitimacy to your pet beliefs. Non scientists need to refrain from trying to make their unscientific beliefs sound scientific, because they always come off as naive, ignorant and stupid to anyone with more than a high-school understanding of science.

How do I know it's woo? Here are some selected quotes:

"Studies show that ..." Were these studies performed under controlled test conditions and were appropriate tests of significance used? They don't say, so the answer likely is "no."

"The science tells us that ..." No, it doesn't, unless you can show exactly how it does. Prefacing an unproven assertion with the word science only fools the naive and ignorant.

"Quantum entanglement ..." If you aren't showing me the math, you obviously do not understand quantum physics, stop bringing it up.

"The human heart can predict the future." Really? How exactly does the heart violate causality?
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Liberal it is.
jdesando27 May 2011
"Love is all we need." John Lennon

Director of goofy comedies like Ace Ventura, Tom Shaydac had an epiphany after a life-threatening bicycle accident and did this sweet documentary, I Am, to answer two simple questions: What's wrong with our world? What can we do about it? Enlisting the brain power of intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, among others (some more celebrity than brainy), he gets a surprising unanimity.

With its liberal leaning threatening to capsize the project, scholars and Shaydac agree that community rather than individualism (watch out Ayn Rand) is the answer, love rather that selfishness. It has been popular of late to attack the American dream of individual achievement in order to glamorize the Christian philosophy of loving your brother and helping your neighbor.

Disagreeing with this notion is akin to being a grumpy capitalist, so no one in this soft documentary disagrees by arguing, as anyone might, that American individualism is what built the USA into a superpower, starting as it might with the exhortation to "go West, young man (woman)" or believe in "self reliance." I contend that both charity and individualism can work together for a better world, but Shaydac seems in no mood to compromise, or more appropriately, collaborate.

Pretty images, Rumi recitations, and new-age music are the background the curly-coiffed Shaydac employs to keep a glow on the message, which is consistent and suspiciously pat. For instance, shots of loving animal and human families don't necessarily make his case because most will naturally love and nurture their own regardless of charitable pieties.

I have to give Shaydac credit for shucking his material gain like his Hollywood mansion and moving into a Malibu trailer park with his utility bicycle. Unlike Michael Moore, he walks the walk (or rides the ride in the case of that bike).

I Am is a comfortable tome on the effectiveness of love, a concept difficult to denigrate.

"In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art."

Rumi, Art as Flirtation and Surrender
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Interesting movie
transporter_ii31 March 2012
While another review described this movie as "liberal," I must say that while it may be, it still had a lot of interesting information in it. At one point in my life, I thought Rush Limbaugh was too liberal, but yet I still enjoyed this movie and have watched it several times.

There were several turn offs, yes. The New Age vibe the movie gives off is one of them. However, this is also a plus, because New Agers must be one of the last groups in America that have an upbeat outlook for the future. I may not agree with them, yet it is totally refreshing to see what is an unusual stance in this day of "doomsday preppers."

The other negative of the film is the kind of glowing nostalgic view of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. Yes, both of them may have really done some good in some way, but there were a lot of dark things about Mandela that were pushed under the carpet, and making him look like he could walk on water really does a disservice to history. The same with King, who in some ways did help move America to the "left" politically, but yes, he did accomplish some things that were needed in America.

That being said, there are some really positive things about the movie. The look at America as a consumer-based society. The look at community versus individualism is interesting. Really, all of the interviews in the film are pretty interesting and the movie is worth watching just for this reason.

Lynne Mctaggart, the author of one of my favorite books, "The Field," is interviewed in the film. For anyone wanting to look more at the scientific side of "I Am," I highly recommend getting a copy of "The Field."

I will add as a side note, that while it isn't totally fitting to "I Am," I recommend the book, "The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom," by Jonathan Haidt. Haidt expands on some of the same issues, discussing community versus individualism, consumerism, etc., and even discusses some of the political views that affect these topics.

Rather than it being one or the other, Haidt points out that both Left and Right have some truth to them, and that America is better off because both sides exist.

I think that is how "I Am" should be viewed. There is some truth in it, and it should be watched even if you don't agree with every single minute of the movie.

In fact, I think people can grow from hearing different viewpoints even if they don't agree with them. In that respect, "I Am," offers a lot to think about, again, even if you don't agree with all of it.
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Who are you?
dreaesparza24 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Why Excellent?

because it is thought provoking and that is what documentaries do

I Personally share and have read many ideas and scientific studies that were shown in the film, so i found it to be friggin awesome that it was all stitched together. of course he can't give you all the depth behind the science that would take 2 more films

He is here to give his hopeful opinion to the belief that

We Are All One

This topic can be explored in a 20 hour film if you would like but he made it personable and fun with showing clips that illustrated some ideas comically and with provoking emotions.

this is an opinion piece so be open to his ideas even if you disagree

if you like to smile to feel and to watch the self discovery of others than i will say that you will enjoy this

most docs explore one topic examples Why We Fight - military industrial complex Black Fish - the horrors of captivity on intelligent mammals Food Inc- this one is in the title

I am - the exploration of self-discovery after accepting death and then trying to make a creative/fun piece with the the details that the exploration gave him using animations , video clips, scientist, authors, history , its a little bit of everything and thats why personally i loved it
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highlama4 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After watching 20 minutes I developed a profound sadness in realizing that the "wise" of our times have a very limited perspective of our nature, time, and place. The persistent two dimensional assumptions fail in providing a meaningful insight into the human condition.

One significant disappointment is the observations about the pursuit of ever more wealth even though it doesn't bring more happiness. Two things: Many of these people thrive on the game itself, finding inner benefits other than happiness. Additionally, in the 60's we were made acutely aware of the idea of keeping up with the Joneses - it may not make me happy, but at least it's clear that you're no better than me.

But Shadyac is telling the story he wants and while he doesn't get it all wrong, his "math" is sloppy. For example he gets the G K Chesterton quote right, but fails to understand the inherently dual nature of the answer.
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Mundane Truisms and science created communism
Jeremy Ward16 April 2016
It shows that people don't see reality, but only see what someone else wants them to see or in the case of many of the reviewers what they want to see. It's a self defeating ego. That is what Tom Shadyac does in this crappy adolescent film. I think he should stick to what he does horribly well. Making crappy B rated comedies. There is a lot being said, but no proof or science, just pure opinionated speculation. He even puts down science in the film, yet tries to use science to prove his wild assumptions horribly. Make up your mind. If science is bad then why try to use science to justify your claims? If living in a primitive tribe was so great then how come he doesn't live as one, or how about we all do? At times I get tired of many using primitive tribes as if we have evolved backwards. There is a reason why most of us don't live as primitives anymore, because there are many negatives to being primitive. They weren't the loving peaceful primates that some people make them out to be. That's the problem with this film is that it does what most Facebook Meme Crack does. Makes you feel good, but only tells one side of the story. It's not reality, and people become addicted to its short lived message.

Many of these films have been produced, and in what way have they contributed to the evolution of people? They haven't. If anything I'm surprised anyone even goes tot he doctor anymore. They are synonymous to snake handlers. Its very dangerous and irresponsible. They believe faith will cure them. They never tell you the negative consequences. They hide them, and cover them up. They are not very transparent. They are very opaque. They give the impression they are open and honest, but in ALL things there are negatives, consequences etc, but they show none of it, or the other side of their argument.

Debbie Ford plagiarized and misrepresented Carl Jung's work on the shadow self in her book, "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers". She basically says the same thing as many of the New Age movement does. She claimed miraculous healing by following what she instructed yet the reality is she could not save herself from dyeing from cancer. Yet people still read and buy her book? Because people want to believe even if it harms them.

This is the problem with the New Age moment and why it is not very scientific. It is taken from personal experiences that have no way of proving or disproving. It's the same reason why eyewitnesses make the worse kind of witnesses. Its perception, which is not based in over all reality, but only personal reality which is skewed. Tom Shadyac had the obsession to reach out and give a message of love and hope because of his accident, but this happens all of the time. We don't suddenly become spiritual gurus because of near death experiences. It's a false sense of reality due to that traumatic or near life act. It more complicated then that.

The movie description explained about renowned philosophers and intellectuals, yet I have found none! There was very little science and the science they did show was extremely skewed, and taken out of context. He picks and chooses who he interviews making sure they go along with what he wants. He even puts down science in the film equating it with communism. That's horrendous and irresponsible.

In his review of "Life's Operating Manual" for the New York Journal of Books, Martin A. David states:

"Many, if not most, of Mr. Shadyac's elucidations are mundane truisms. But this absolutely does not discredit them ... Books like his are frequently read by people who already understand the messages contained but desire booster shots of energizing inspirations. Preaching to the choir is not a bad thing, but the preacher has to do something more to keep the choir awake ... Tom Shadyac's view of what we need to keep our world from continuing on its downward spiral would have carried more gravitas he had said it better and with more convincing clarity. It would, indeed, be helpful if a how-to book for existence were available."

Enough said.
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You have to admire it's heart and passion and it's desire to make a difference in the world.
Hellmant1 May 2011
'I AM': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Director Tom Shadyac (the man behind such popular comedic blockbusters as 'ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE', 'THE NUTTY PROFESSOR', 'LIAR LIAR', 'PATCH ADAMS', 'BRUCE ALMIGHTY' and 'EVAN ALMIGHTY') brings us this heartfelt well intentioned documentary that tries to address the very broad questions of 'what's wrong with the world' and 'how can we fix it'. Shadyac speaks with several well known spiritual and intellectual figures about the topic. The film has a lot of good heart and strong moral messages. Whether it teaches us anything is another question.

The film focuses at first on Shadyac's post-concussion syndrome he fell victim to due to a bicycle accident in 2007. He tells of his suffering and depression and how when he started to heal and get better he decided to make a film about his psychological struggle. Shadyac sold his mansion and gave away all his excess money and material possessions to charity and moved into a trailer park in Malibu. The rest of the film focuses on discussions about man kind's addiction to materialism, competitiveness and the desire to do well at the expense of others.

You have to admire the film's spirit and intentions but whether it actually teaches us anything new or leaves the viewer with any kind of satisfactory resolution is pretty debatable. It points out that the economy is not necessary even though we treat it like it is and there's enough available in the world to provide for all it's inhabitants but it doesn't offer any ideas on how to change people's ideas and corrupted belief on the matter. It argues that people are basically good and there's a common nature in all of us to help one another we just have to embrace it. The ideas and ideals of the film are all great and beautiful but the film doesn't offer any realistic methods in making them a reality. It's also slow paced at times and somewhat poorly edited together. Still you have to admire it's heart and passion and it's desire to make a difference in the world.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBr4LOQxrmg
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Pure Ignorant Propagandizing
carlupq6 March 2013
If you want to get into the head of today's improperly-labeled 'intellectuals' (more like socialist propagandists), this is as good a way to do so as any I've ever seen.

Let's start with one of the 'profound' quotes thrown out as some sort of brilliant observation: "An ocean, a rain-forest, the human body, are all co-operatives." False. While they are inexorably LINKED, they are in NO WAY anything close to the definition of a co-operative. Does the rain-forest make demands of the ocean, and the ocean act on those demands(or vice-verse)?! Obviously NOT! The co-operative label is clearly used improperly in order to promote a false notion that humans must therefore subjugate themselves to some all-powerful governing body. Never-mind that we are thinking individuals and water/trees are 'dead' for all practical purposes.

"The redwood tree doesn't take all the soil and nutrients, just what it needs to grow." Neither do you or I take ALL of ANYTHING - we BUY what we CAN. However, neither does the Redwood give a rats ass about other Redwoods, or anything else whatsoever - they take care of themselves and only themselves, where humans are the most charitable creatures on Earth.

"A lion doesn't kill every gazelle, just one." Apparently I make two pot roasts every night just to throw one out?! Seriously, who out there is cooking two meals every night and chucking one in the waste bin? Who are the people that actually hear this nonsense and just buy it without question? While there are examples of excesses, these are the outliers (exceptions) - not the norm. Ours is still the most efficient system on earth.

"We have a term for something in the body when it takes more than its share, we call it: cancer." Wow - we had the cure for cancer all along and just didn't know it - POVERTY AND STARVATION!

'I Am' is a mockery propaganda piece mislabeled as a documentary, unless you want to call it a documentary of the worst in propaganda - that would be spot on. Please - if you give Tom Shadyac or his production/distribution companies one dime for this drivel, do us all a favor and move to Cuba where the citizens are, by Shadyac's very definition, healthy and as cancer-free as anyone can be in their poverty stricken and starving awesome co-operative! (while the greedy political power mongers get pretty bad cancer - Fidel Castro & buddy Hugo Chavez and the like)

As for myself, I'll take our time-proved personal liberties and free market system any day over the historic and present-day atrocities perpetrated by such silver-tongued power-hungry collective governance cheerleaders.
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Finally, science proves the mystics are right!
Revman501 January 2012
For years we've been told that there is a schism that exists between mystic spirituality and hard cold provable facts from western science. One of the key elements that this film provides, is the fusion of these two, seemingly disparate, orientations to life.

It turns out that love and cooperation are in our genes, that our connection to all life can be measured and proved and that when anything in nature takes more than it needs, it becomes sick; "cancerous" is the movie's term for it.

The need for balance between enjoying our human experience while maintaining our connection to God is at the heart of it all.

This documentary flies in the face of what we, in the USA, would use as a measuring stick for how successful we are in life; more stuff does not mean more happiness.

A great film and definitely worth seeing.
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Review - I Am
Kane2010 July 2012
I saw I Am at a screening a few weeks before it came out in theaters. After the film, Tom Shadyac himself entered the auditorium and answered any questions we viewers had. I Am is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Well, I can admit that it could have been better in terms of a movie, but the subject matter is great, and Tom Shadyac is totally correct.

Tom Shadyac has mostly been known for directing comedies, such as Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty, and making money from the successes of his movies. He was behaving more or less like many people with that much money do, especially filmmakers - just grabbing for money. However, after suffering a terrible bicycle accident resulting in a concussion and a very near death, Shadyac began to realize the true values in life, and how his wrong capitalist lifestyle had been. As a result, he made this documentary. Now, there have been many statements, speculations, documentaries, etc. on problems with our world, but Tom Shadyac's is different. He actually goes deeper looking for a common cause for all of these other problems.

Humans have evolved and formed a society based on competition. As a matter of fact, we base our lifestyles, customs, etc. too much upon competition - making money, the economy, fighting, etc. However, other animals - fish, birds, deer, you name it - have taken a more natural way of life - cooperation. Tom points out evidence to this in several natural scenarios, typical stuff, yet with an element to it that I have never really noticed before. He shows us a few examples such as some schools of fish and a group of deer, in which essences of democracy and cooperation are clearly evident. We, humans, like I said before, have come to value competition more than cooperation - money, work, etc. I'm not saying, and nor is Tom, that we should stop being competitive altogether and become totally cooperative. All we're saying is that we need to also value cooperation more, and establish a better balance between competition and cooperation/love.

Wow, I am pretty bad at explaining this, especially since it has now been a long time since I saw the film. However, I do still remember it - well, mostly the overall message. It really can't be fully explained - it must be seen. Yes, this documentary is a must-see for everybody - every single person, from every culture, every race, every region, etc. - who has any access to movie theaters, or some means of watching movies. There is some ridiculous stuff in the film, mostly concerning science, etc., but even so, a lot of the film is good, and the deep message of it is strong and important. Even if you end up hating it, just go see it anyway, and just listen and watch. Then, afterward, start acting upon what you just saw - even the smallest actions have an effect, on everything.

What's wrong with the world? A lot of things. What's right with the world? I Am. You are.

My Rating: **** (out of ****)

For more reviews, visit my website: http://robertsreliablereviews.blogspot.com
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doug-gamble27 March 2012
The gist is that science is not exact and all we have been taught via modern science (humankind is an independent creature with no co-dependence upon each other) is wrong. Sure one has the right/ability in most cultures can live life their own way but new science results now show us a connectivity to each other and other living organisms previously only theorized. Although spirituality was pretty much ignored, to this religious person the results of the new science only reinforces what I knew. We are all one and the connectivity is larger than than us. I had no doubt of a higher being and the science presented in this well down film only reinforced this.
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Some Thoughts From One Who Is about I Am
atlasmb17 October 2013
I started to watch this film, but I turned it off after about 10 minutes. If you think I shouldn't make any comments about it because of that, then stop here.

It's not that I couldn't watch it; I didn't want to watch it. Because the beginning of this film was filled with so many errors in logic, I felt. I noticed that the interviewees were setting up false dichotomies and setting things in opposition that don't have to be viewed that way. Also, the approach seemed to be socialistic, based upon the opinion that the best way to be is cooperative. This approach, as stated, allows no room for treating individuals as special (or even as individuals) if carried to the logical conclusion.

Which brings me to my main objection. I had the feeling that if I voiced any dissent to the views presented based upon arguments of logic or reason, the answer would probably be "you need to escape the limitations of logic", in one form or another. This is something I am not willing to do. As a thinking animal, I function that way.

A less severe criticism I have is that some terms being used by the interviewees were being used very loosely--in a fuzzy way that promotes misunderstanding, not clarity. A certain amount of this is unavoidable, but I don't prefer conversations that "live" in the fuzzy regions of our existence.

I am not saying the film contains no ideas that are true or valuable. But I think I know those already.

It is one thing to condemn what we might call excessive competition (my success promulgated on, and designed for, your failure), but competition in general is a valuable (and inescapable) condition.

I think one can watch this film and pick up nuggets of truth, but this film seems to be couched in what I consider to be a dangerous approach to thinking and evaluating.

Since I did not watch the entire film, I have not given it a score. To those who choose to watch it and who gain benefit from it, I say "Good".
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A breath of fresh air...but somehow incomplete
Jim Voz29 April 2012
There is a reason that Occupy Wall Street seems to have failed. While we, as a society, seem to acknowledge that there is rampant greed and materialism that is severely impacting our planet and our lives, we also somehow seem to relate to and embrace the very people and things that are destroying our world. We want to be free of foreign oil, yet won't give up our car. We abhor the damage that the Wall Street fat cats caused, yet we are not willing to impose laws that would reign them in, for fear that the economy won't grow fast enough, since after all, those big corporations give us shiny new gadgets, as well as jobs. Herein lies the problem with this film.

First, let me say I really enjoyed this film. Tom Shadyac, in an almost mystical tone, outlines all the problems that unbridled greed and selfishness cause in our society, while pointing out that we are all connected and essentially, one. While I admire him for making this film, and making an attempt to open the eyes of the general public by asking big important questions, this film would have been improved by providing the real answers. Yes, it causes us to think about them, and question our part in the process, but I would have really liked some viable solutions. Where do I start? What can I do today that will make an impact?

Shadyac is an endearing man, who really did "put his money where his mouth is" and made a radical change in his lifestyle. But few of us can make a total 360 in our lives. We have children, wives, husbands, and bosses to answer to, who may or may not agree with our newly obtained enlightenment. While beautifully made, with amazing visuals and testimony from experts, what this movie lacks is a sort of "first steps"....a beginner's guide. How, in a world that is obsessed with only what affects our personal lives, can we begin to make the changes that will really make a difference...and how can we do that while having to deal with the society we live in? Those are the answers that I really felt needed to be addressed.

Shadyac made such a dramatic change in his life, and it left me wanting to know more about his journey personally. We are presented with the why...I just would have liked to know "how".
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For the Suvival of Humanity
stevenwillis-5749521 October 2015
Have you noticed how the world seems to be really messed up today? From wars to innocent Americans being shot in the streets; the national news is shocking and seems to keep getting worse. Tom Shadyac, the director Jim Carry's funniest movies, had catastrophic event that altered his life. He sold all his property, stop directly comedies, and dug deep into finding out "What's Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?. The answers he discovered resonate with what the ancients, saints, sages, educators of today already know; the world is broken; and we are doing it. Tom interviews scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers and the information they reveal is compelling, inspiring, and motivating! To solve our greed, hostility, and violent world transformation is required; individually and collectively. Transformation requires knowledge, desire, and effort. This film gives us the knowledge. Dare to look at reality.
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