What's up with this movie?
October 21, 2004 12:59 PM   Subscribe

What the bleep is the deal with this film? It is coming to a theatre near me and I was wondering if I should be prepared for a docudrama, a mockumentary or a cult instructional video??
posted by boost ventilator to Media & Arts (19 answers total)
Here's Ebert saying it's a "hoax," or c) cult instructional video. (Link is a response to a letter, not his review.)
posted by callmejay at 1:12 PM on October 21, 2004

The first, say, 20 minutes of the film seem ok. Basically the points being made then seem like a legitimate laying out of common sense psychology - like when you're in a bad mood, people don't like to be around you. Marlee Maitlan is in it, and she's always pleasant to look at too.

But then, the film starts moving into new-age-quantum-physics-we-create-our-own-reality crap, and doesn't let up. It's not just that people don't like to be around you when you're grouchy, it's that YOU ARE CREATING REALITY, so you're affecting molecules and neurotransmitters and the VERY STRUCTURE OF REALITY ITSELF!!!!!!!

Of course you have intersperced clips with various PEOPLE WITH AUTHORITY (like they have letters after their names), all of whom are amazed to testify that, indeed, quantum physics mean that you *do* affect the VERY STRUCTURE OF REALITY ITSELF!!!!!

Lots of quotes about bogus "experiments," like where water molecules are "shown" to have different structure depending on the words written on pieces of paper taped to their containers. And, amazingly, water that has "good thoughts" on their container (love, peace) looks - beautiful, while water that has words like hate on them look evil, deranged. Also, as I recall they cite the Transcendental Meditation study that "showed" that crime rates decreased in response to meditation, though I gather that they actually increased.

I just wish these New Age types would get off their narcissistic fascination with matter and stop ripping off physics findings as metaphors. I emailed James Randi about the film when it came out, and he said the reason that people keep making these things is that they make tons of money when they move beyond what's scientifically true. Unfortunately, he's right about this stinker!
posted by jasper411 at 1:24 PM on October 21, 2004

"What the bleep" was the first movie I wanted to leave early from, ever. I didn't, but by the end my eyes were exhausted from rolling back so many times.

I knew about most of the actual science behind the concepts presented, and they were presented falsely over and over again. It was like a giant self-help fluff book on film. Funded by a cult. For a cult.

Pass on it.
posted by mathowie at 1:25 PM on October 21, 2004

One of my local NPR stations did a fall movie roundup that included this film. They were disappointingly credulous about the validity of the experts: they made specific mention of the water drop experiment sited above. I'm actually a big fan of Robert Anton Wilson and the idea that we make our own reality in some ways, but this thing seems a little flakey and twee.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2004

Funded by a cult. For a cult.

So, it's Battlefield Earth, but without the action?

Cool beans!
posted by shepd at 1:33 PM on October 21, 2004

I'll second what others posters have already said: It's some kind of cult instructional video. I wanted to like it, as it was filmed in my town of Portland, Oregon (even if I did have a altercation with the director and some of the crew during its production - long story.) The film was, unfortunatly, mockingly bad. The acting was flat, the "plot" within the documentary was non-sensical and the experts were obviously selling snake oil (one dude wasn't anything close to a scientist - he was a chiropractor.) The only person who even appeared to make sense was "Ramtha" who is the three thousand year old spirit who's cult funded the film. It made me sad, watching it, because I knew that I was going to spend a lot of time listening to people talk about how right and good this movie was. In fact, the friends I saw the movie with loved it. People love to use physics in philosophical discussions, especially when they understand neither physics of philosophy, and this movie only encourages the convolution of faith and science. It's bad psychology, bad physics and bad philosophy cynically tied together in order to sell tickets, books and seminars.

Do not pay money to see this money.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:45 PM on October 21, 2004

physics or philosophy
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2004

This film (ha!) has been showing in Portland forever, because it was filmed here. I've wanted to track down the people who filmed it and demand by money back.

My eyes also hurt from rolling back in my head. I couldn't believe I was the only peron in the audience laughing out loud.

I had to leave about halfway through. A friend of my wife's saw it and told me I would love it. I found out later she was high when she saw it.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:50 PM on October 21, 2004

I knew this was a cult movie going into it but wanted to see it anyway as I like knowing what everyone else is seeing, especially when it tries to teach quantum physics. IT WAS A PIECE OF CRAP! I wanted to leave, I wanted to rip the head off of the guy who was sitting in front of me, I wanted to yell out to the audience that they were all a bunch of idiots for seeing this movie. OH MY GOT I FELT SO BAD FOR SEEING THIS MOVIE. I have never in my life felt so intelligent when I left and people were talking about how good it was and how they finally understood quantum physics. It really was depressing to see first hand how many dumb people who are so gullible and so incapable of skepticism live in your town. I wanted to picket this movie it drove me so nuts.
posted by pwb503 at 5:05 PM on October 21, 2004

Aight, before everyone gets out of control, I'd like you to place yourselves in the shoes of Joe Blow Moviegoer who doesn't know dick about quantum theory, the uncertainty principle, the Standard Model, etc. etc. etc. I mean, how the hell are they to know? And more apt, how the hell can they learn?

This especially pisses me off, because I too have been influenced by Robert Anton Wilson's work. (And, as has been evidenced elsewhere on this site, I don't buy a strict rationalist worldview myself, to say the least.) And it never fails to astound me that, for people who claim that they are able to create reality, they create one that is entirely vapid and devoid of imagination. GAH. PEOPLE, WORK A LITTLE.

posted by solistrato at 5:19 PM on October 21, 2004

It's a front for the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, a bizarre New Age cult that believes in CIA mind control waves, UFOs and a 35,000 year old warrior spirit named Ramtha. Salon blew the lid off it.
posted by inksyndicate at 5:39 PM on October 21, 2004

Oh, if you really want to see what kind of people are behind this, check out their totally loopy "Open Letter to the Media."
posted by inksyndicate at 5:52 PM on October 21, 2004

place yourselves in the shoes of Joe Blow Moviegoer who doesn't know dick about quantum theory, the uncertainty principle, the Standard Model, etc. etc. etc. I mean, how the hell are they to know?

Graduate high school? I mean, modern quantum theory is something like seventy or eighty years old now, right? Generations have grown up with the basic concepts of quantum mechanics.
posted by kindall at 10:49 PM on October 21, 2004

kindall, honey, just because it's on the curriculum, doesn't mean anyone that graduated actually learned anything about it. Get real, the course requirements in this country are abysmal, the students just have to show up half the time to pass anymore.
posted by kamylyon at 12:18 AM on October 22, 2004

R.A. Wilson's work is often interesting, but sometimes deeply flawed. While I share to some extent his mystical perspective, his inability to check facts (or employ a fact checker) only undermines his credibility.
posted by malocchio at 8:46 AM on October 22, 2004

Well, I guess I'll be the lone person in here to say I liked it OK. It wasn't my favorite, and I wouldn't necessarily see it again, but I don't regret seeing it. I don't have a science background and so can't speak for the validity of the science - but I very much enjoyed and agree with the central ideas, which I perceived to be:
- your thinking and perceptions and mental attitude create your reality
- we are all one
- god is a force that exists within all of us, not outside in some superior, judgemental being.

So if those things appeal to you, then you'll probably enjoy it.
posted by widdershins at 9:04 AM on October 22, 2004

R.A. Wilson's work is often interesting, but sometimes deeply flawed. While I share to some extent his mystical perspective, his inability to check facts (or employ a fact checker) only undermines his credibility.

RAW writes metacomedy. Comedy doesn't need credibility or fact-checking. It needs the funny.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:37 PM on October 22, 2004

I haven't seen this move but it sounds like you should rent Mindwalk instead.
posted by euphorb at 8:16 PM on October 23, 2004

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