What the Bleep Do We Know?!   April 21st, 2010

Originally Written 06/13/05

I watched a movie with some friends tonight. Lonnie had borrowed an artistic/inspirational movie, What the Bleep Do We Know?! from one of her friends, and we watched that after dinner. Production wise I’d give it good marks, but content wise I found it uneven. Mike, Jeff and I all remarked that it was such a college movie. Mike likened it to a college production, which I kind of thought, thought it had much better production values.

I was even reminded of my sophomoric attempts at philosophy and one of the video art pieces I’d made, The Quest, when during the beginning it had a bunch of people’s voices asking questions like “what is reality.” My video was essentially a dialog with myself and the camer man on such subject, so it was a moment of recognition and deja vu.

Jeff also commented that in college we would’ve stayed up half the night discussing it. I remembered those discussions I had with my friends with some fondness. Of course I also felt a little jaded in that the movie didn’t work nearly as well for me now as it would’ve 10-15 years ago. It started out okay, and the discussion of quantum physics was fun, but they were trying to tie it in with metaphysics, philosophy and eastern/new-age religions.

It felt forced and superficial, like someone who’d read a Pyshc 101 text and Stephen Hawking’s book, and was trying to run with it, without understanding it all. Of course they had various learned scientists and philosophers giving bits of narration and lecture. They sounded like they knew their stuff, but it was also edited to try and tell a bigger picture, which didn’t quite fit for me. I admit I was rolling my eyes a lot during the first part of it. I also felt that the filmmaker was elaborating on certain experiments and phenomena, stretching the truth to the point of mythology in a couple of instances.

However, the second half of the movie redeemed itself for me. They stopped trying to use quantum mechanics and started talking about bio-psychology instead. They touched on brain chemistry, neuro transmitters, associative memory and learned patterns of behavior. I liked how they pointed out that by repeating patterns of emotions, you could change your perceptions of the world, for the better or worse, and you could get locked into “addictions” of emotions and keep repeating behaviors over and over.

I liked how it used a good understanding of brain chemistry, perception, mood and cognition to work into philosophy and basic tenets of self-help and determination. There was a segment of some animations of cells getting turned on with various neuro-transmitters and turning into anthropomorphized representations of various emotions, which was very silly, but also worked well to give a fun mood, while showing the point. That was all mixed in with a montage at a wedding party, where people were running the whole gamut of emotions and responses.

Mixed in with the various people giving instructional narration, was a simple story of a woman, a photographer, who was drifting through life as a passive observer. It showed her following the path of dealing with the scars of past pain to finally make steps towards self improvement. I liked how a lot of that narrative was carried out. The denouement at the end of the film ran on too long, and they reverted back to quantum mechanics to try and tie things together, but it just felt more muddled to me.

While I felt the movie was flawed, I also applaud them for doing such a project on intellectual and spiritual experimentation and thought. It was fun to watch, fun to crack jokes at in a few silly places, but also gave pause for some thought.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 5:38 am and is filed under Movies and TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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