Thursday, June 28, 2007

Al Franken: God Spoke

Al Franken: God Spoke (Chris Hegedus & Nick Doob, 2006) [5]
Entertaining but not very insightful and preaching to the choir. Those are my main thoughts about this documentary. It plays out as an over-enthusiastic portrayal of Franken, someone who I do happen to think is very funny. The filmmakers are playing to a particular audience and why not?, political documentaries more than ever drawn down ideological lines. What this film does show that Franken, a brilliant satirist in print, comes off as a hothead and a little egomaniacal in person. And not as funny. That's not really all bad; Franken has the nerve to stand up to the conservative bullies in the film (Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly) and operate on the somewhat crass level they do. It may not be pretty but someone on the liberal side of things should fight as dirty as the conservatives do. Franken isn't as dirty as them but he is relentless in calling out lies and misquotes. What is telling is how people like O'Reilly and Hannity take offense at being attacked as someone like Franken giving his opinion on them when their entire careers are built on the same ground. The left needs more smart attackers like Franken but even he gets too full of his idealism. The film slides as Franken descends more and more into exploring a run for Senate in Minnesota, realizing he'll have to defang his persona. That and the film is just too scatter shot to really be effective.

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