Hold up! She ain’t the Pope!
I am really not a Bill Maher fan (his show on HBO kinda drives me NUTS!), but I saw him on The Daily Show promoting this movie and thought it might be interesting to see what he had to say. Apparently he has a LOT to say about religion. And not just one religion…but ALL religions! It’s basically Bill vs Christianity/Islam/Mormon/Scientology/Hinduism/Enter Your Religion Here. He is extremely knowledgeable and makes total sense in almost all cases. But there is one problem…he doesn’t ever stop talking!
First off, I really liked this film. It was thought=provoking and the topic is something I am very interested in. And I was entertained by it for a while, with the intercutting of interviews with goofy film or news clips, silly statements flashed on the screen while the interviews were going on. But after a while, it got a little boring and listening to Maher railing on everyone was just a little too much. Maybe it was because he ALREADY had me going into the film. Most of his thoughts, I openly agreed with, so I didn’t have to be won over. But he spends so much time interrupting those he’s talking to and he eats up so much film time with his own commentary that I just got a little bored with it.
In the middle of the film, he interviews a neurologist from New York and asks him why people become obsessed with religion. In my opinion, he should have taken that interview, left it without any editing and let the guy speak his mind because he was a sane and knowledgable interview. But Maher didn’t leave it alone. He chopped it all up and it came across as just a very basic conversation. He also should have picked his interviews a little more carefully (interviewing small town churchgoers was a good start, interviewing a pot-smoking guy from Amsterdam who started a “pot church” was the worst…even if the guy’s hair DID almost burst into flame!) and left some of the silly editing out of it during some of the more serious conversations.
I realize that some of it was done for laughs. But at one point I didn’t know if I was laughing at the interviewee, the movie clips or just the overall content of the whole movie. It’s not really a comedy, as some might think. It’s really one guys opinion and it’s definitely a great topic to approach. But I will go on record and say I would almost rather see Michael Moore do it than Bill Maher. He has this air about him that comes across as arrogant. Being knowledgable is one thing, but looking down at someone and saying “You are wrong” when someone is being honest and open about their beliefs just seems kind of wrong to me…even if all religions SHOULD be questioned and held accountable for the wars and deaths that they have wrought. Can I get an “Amen!”???
Overall Rating: B- (for presentation) A (for subject matter)