Sunday, April 23, 2006

What the #$*! was that supposed to be?

I went to the movies last night and saw What the #$*! Do We Know, which has got to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Forgetting about the horrible misrepresentation of quantum mechanics as "it's all about me; let's go walk on water now", it bugged me that the four women in the film were 2 x "alternative" flaky waffling heads, 1 x sparkly bouncy annoying chick with hair in ponytails, whose only purpose was to irritate the main character, and the main character herself, a woman on an internal journey that would take her from hating herself and not understanding the world through hallucinating about small fluroscent smiley blobs, to loving and accepting herself and the universe.

The men, on the other hand, were all scientists with good credentials whose role was to answer the questions posed by the women (in badly-edited soundbites), giving hard, (pseudo)factual information. Pretty much the whole movie was the following sequence repeated endlessly:

Main character walking along road looking lost and miserable.
Cut to female talking head: "Where does the soul go after death? How do I know that I am who I am? Do I have a place in this world?"
Cut to male talking head: "We think of an atom as solid. But not only are the electrons popping in and out of existence, but the nucleus is too. And the whole thing is mostly composed of vacuum..."
Cut to main character having a spiritual experience.
Cut back to male talking head: "... This shows that things aren't always what we think they are."
Cue cute animation.

And what was with the basketball-playing kid? They had to get a boy to be the woman's guide on her "journey", because obviously she couldn't do it without male help, and a 12-year-old boy is going to have life more sussed than a 30-something year old woman?

Oh, this movie annoyed me so much.

The only thing that kept me from walking out was the comments from the people in the row behind me. "I'll show him a scientist" being one of the most frequent.

I realise that as a film review this is kind of past its due-by date, since the movie came out nearly two years ago, but I felt the need to rant about it anyway. My excuse is that we have the world's best cinema at the university here and it tends to rescreen a lot of older films (as well as showing the new ones), so we often end up seeing things a year or so after they came out. But I'll make the university cinema the subject of another post, since it really deserves a prolonged praise and worship session all to itself.

Meanwhile, don't see What the #$*! Do We Know, because if you do know anything about quantum mechanics it will alternately bore you and piss you off, and if you don't, you run the risk of being brainwashed into believing that saying nice things to water in Japanese makes its molecules change shape.


Lucy said...

I'm glad I never saw that movie. I read enough skeptical reviews to realise I didn't want to, but it sounds even worse than I thought!
My mum did, however, love it and a couple of my brother's landmark friends believed the water molecules rubbish.

turtlebella said...

Interesting, my mom loved it too. But she's kind of alternative-flaky herself. I had it on my list, never having read anything about it, but I'll take it off. I don't need that kind of thing in my life.

StyleyGeek said...

I suspect my mother would like it too. She has always maintained that Geekman might claim to be an atheist, but because he works with Quantum Stuff, he must be very spiritual deep down and it's just a matter of helping him channel his spirituality in the "right" direction.

(When she says this in front of him, he has to excuse himself and write himself some nice soothing equations until he feels calmer.)

turtlebella said...

Too funny about your mother and her comments about Geekman. And his response is too classic. I can just *hear* my mom saying that too! She hates that all my friends are scientists who give her weird looks when she talks about psychic healers. sigh.