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Film Review of "I Am"

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3:01 pm
November 25, 2013



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1:02 pm
June 23, 2011

Eric Malone


What's Right With The World?

"I Am."  And hopefully, so are you!

In the midst of some pretty decent summer blockbusters (Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris," J. J. Abrams' "Super 8")
there is one movie that you should check out which is being lost in the
miasma of superheroes and exploding helicopters.  (Hi there Mr. Berry!)

The movie is "I Am,"
and you have to look for it, because it's playing in the art houses,
repertory theaters, and even in regular theaters at odd times of day.

So what makes this delightful summer confection so wonderful?

me, it was the skeptical scientific approach to the methods we use to
find meaning in life.  Some of us meditate, some are religious, others
use drugs, some of us even surf or do yoga.  The film goes to some of
the world's wisest people and asks 2 questions:

1.  "What's wrong with the world today?"
2.  "What can we do about it?"

Some of the sages featured in this flick:

Bishop Desmond Tutu (My favorite of the entire film for his smile and centered presence–he made me smile!)

Noam Chomsky (Surprisingly funny!)
The late Howard Zinn (GREAT to see him again!)
Air America radio host Thom Hartmann ("The smartest man in the room, no matter what room")
The Dalai Lama (Just amazing, as always)

…and many others

The filmmaker, Tom Shadyac, is more famous for directing huge moneymaking comedies like "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," "Liar, Liar," "Bruce Almighty,"  and "The Nutty Professor."

Here, however, Shadyac examines what modern science has uncovered
about how humans interact, versus some of the popular myths that pervade
our culture.  One example is the myth of the Darwinian Law Of the
Jungle; that is Survival of the Fittest–that humans are innately
competitive for the life force (food, money) and that the strong survive
by defeating the weak.  While that dynamic can certainly be documented
in both humans and other animals, it turns out that we now know that
most species actually build societies based upon cooperation, not
competition.  We are intrinsically wired to work in groups, and to work
together towards common purposes.  But consumer-based cultures tend to
frame everything in terms of winning, or defeating the other.  Shadyac
reveals what science now tells us is one of the principal truths of the
universe, a message as simple as it is significant:  We are all
connected –   connected to each other and to everything around us.

was seriously injured in a bike accident that nearly killed him, and
after his recovery, he began to examine his own life and wonder about
its meaning.  He began to realize that there was more to life than
owning 3 mansions, several fancy cars, a jet, and the luxury lifestyle
of a famous Hollywood director.  So he went around the world to
interview intelligent rational scientific thinkers, and to ask them
about the state of the world and what we can actually do to fix it. 
Some of the answers are pragmatic specific suggestions for revising the
economy, some are socio-political, other answers veer more towards the
philosophical.  Shadyac sprinkles in meaniingful quotes from Emerson,
Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and others to frame the thesis.

The film is not just about what you can do to change the world, but also about what you can be.

he does it with an incredible library of astounding images and a wicked
sense of humor.  I found myself laughing, provoked, and inspired.  I
came out of the movie with goosebumps on my arms and a smile on my face.

Some of the visual imagery rivals the space trip sequence from "2001" or the tank in "Altered States" and I noticed that more than one member of the audience had been expanding their consciousness before the movie. 

Seek it out–and take a friend.  Get stoned and enjoy the thrill
ride of the summer…for your eyes, your mind, and your soul.  Then you
can say, as I do:

What's right with the world?


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