Tuesday, 12 August 2008

No.16 : What Would Jesus Buy?

IMDb Link : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0939681/

‘What Would Jesus Buy?’ is a documentary ‘presented by‘, but not featuring, burger muncher Morgan Spurlock. It’s basically a 90 minute one sided argument about the commercialisation of Christmas. We follow the crusade of a deluded self publicist, Rev. Billy, who travels across America to berate people who have the audacity to spend their cash on Christmas presents. Obviously paedophile priests and serial killers are too soft a target for this coiffeured crusader.

It starts off in OK fashion as statistic are bandied about showing how much crap people spend in lieu of spending time with each other. Obviously statistics can be found to suit any argument - 75% of people know that. We also learn that Christmas almost died out in post revolutionary America but was brought back due the commercial element - is that what Santa died for?

Things fall away fast when the arguments for a more family orientated Christmas give way to Wal-Mart and Disney bashing. The Rev shows his colours by buying an ugly jumper in a small shop rather than get it for half the money at the local mega-mart. Ideas like supply and demand and capitalism aren’t addressed at all, as these are clearly contrary to his blinkered vision of what the world should be. Another point missed, is where the cash to buy all the more expensive stuff will come from when all the major employers such as Wal-Mart are run out of business.

Clearly our the Rev is a man of principle but you have to wonder how he finances his tour bus, hair spray and cell phones if he avoids all the evils of commercialism. Well you can buy his DVD on Amazon and no doubt Wal-Mart so maybe that’s a clue. He does have a strong platform though as everyone knows religion has only ever been a tool for good and not lots of murders, sodomies and grand larcenies.

Some of the ideas in the film were interesting, and the shots of sweat shop workers making the West’s toys were sobering, but one man’s point was hammered home so relentlessly that any idea of a balanced argument was lost after ten minutes. Stating the bleeding obvious may be a decent career but don’t go dressing it up as entertainment unless you want a disappointed audience.

Best Bit : I like the ‘get that wacko’ expressions on our singers faces as another protester made his own thoughts known. Physician heal thy self!

‘W’ Score 10/23

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