Traveling the world from Kenya to Australia, Bali to Tibet, Jerusalem to Japan, Rodger posed that question of holy men of all faiths, aboriginal tribes, Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, and... celebrities. For filmmakers, there are heavy subjects, and then there are really heavy subjects. For his thoughtful and poignant new documentary, 'Oh My God?,' Peter Rodger went after the Sasquatch of big questions, "What is God?"
Traveling the world from Kenya to Australia, Bali to Tibet, Jerusalem to Japan, Rodger posed that question of holy men of all faiths, aboriginal tribes, Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, and... celebrities.
Which begs the (smaller) question : Why do we care what celebrities think? I mean, it's one thing to solicit spiritual wisdom from Zen masters, imams, and priests. But are we supposed to experience a spiritual breakthrough hearing Ringo Starr tell us "God is love"? And is anyone really served by hearing avowed atheistic Sir Bob Geldof tell us, "That's what they all say--'the mystery of faith.' Well, it's mysterious because, y'know, it makes no f---ing sense!"?
Of course, there's no shortage of celebrities who are willing to lecture us on this political cause or that spiritual quest. Most pop-culture fans know the Kabbalah as "Madonna's religious thing," and I doubt anyone would be surprised if Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama were found to share an agent.
But when you're trying to sell movie tickets, celebrities are darn useful. In the case of 'Oh My God?,' the star power of folks like Hugh Jackman, David Copperfield, Seal, and Baz Luhrmann has obviously given the film a higher profile than your average documentary.
Still, while none of the stars hold a doctorate in divinity, it's darned entertaining to hear Jackman suggest that "If you put Buddha, Jesus Christ, Socrates, Shakespeare, Aduna, Krishna at a dinner table together, I can't see them having any argument."
And Copperfield certainly gives the illusion of profundity when he suggests that a devious performer could easily hoodwink the masses into thinking he's somewhat godlike.
The master of sleight-of-hand has obviously done a lot of thinking on this, having witnessed fans treat him differently, almost reverently. Copperfield merely points out how powerful the aura of celebrity can be, and how easy a performer could start believing his own hype.
Through years of interviewing celebrities, I've generally found that yes, there are a few who think they're something special, and that because they're famous they might actually believe they've stumbled onto The Answer To It All. But the vast majority of them realize that at the end of the day, they're regular folks who got lucky and hired a publicist.
When you think about it, doesn't every bar have one tipsy guy out of a hundred who's hell-bent on telling you the absolute truth about What It All Means? He represents pretty much the same percentage as I found among celebrities.
All in all, 'Oh My God's' purpose is to start some serious discussion of an age-old question-not to presume the filmmaker has produced a definitive answer. So is there really any harm in using some Hollywood hotshots to draw our attention to it?
|YES, Their opinions are as valid as anyone's.||156 (66.1%)|
|NO, They should stick to entertaining.||80 (33.9%)|