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Al Franken - God Spoke

3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

AN INTIMATE & HILARIOUS BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THE LIFE OF THE FORMER SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE COMEDIAN TURNED AUTHOR, RADIO HOST & POLITICAL SATIRIST.

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In God Spoke, Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus (The War Room) shine a light on political satirist Al Franken. The "flaming sword of justice" explains his left-leaning career like this, "They [right-wing pundits] say something ridiculous, and then I subject them to scorn and ridicule." The filmmakers, longtime associates of cinéma verité pioneer DA Pennebaker, take a fly-on-the-wall approach towards Franken's activities around the time of the 2004 presidential election and afterwards as he explores a run for the US Senate in 2008. They look at the (unsuccessful) lawsuit Fox News filed against him for swiping their tagline, his involvement in the upstart Air America network, and his dust-ups with Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, and Bill O'Reilly, who describes him as "a vile human being." Along the way, they follow the Minnesota-born comedian on book tours and speaking engagements, occasionally flashing back to his two-decade long stint on Saturday Night Live. God Spoke is an expansion of the Sundance Channel short The First Amendment Project: Fox vs. Franken and covers some of the same ground as HBO's America Undercover: Left of the Dial. In other words, there isn't a ton of new material here, but this "fair and balanced" profile represents an entertaining introduction to a multi-talented individual. Without Franken, it's hard to imagine a place in the world for The Daily Show and other media designed to expose "lies and the lying liars who tell them," as his 2003 bestseller would have it. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Details

  • Actors: Al Franken, Franni Bryson, Katherine Lanpher, Billy Kimball, Ben Wikler
  • Directors: Chris Hegedus, Nick Doob
  • Producers: D.A. Pennebaker, Frazer Pennebaker, Nick Fraser, Rebecca Ferris, Walker Lamond
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NDIAP6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,399 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Al Franken - God Spoke" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I feel as though I must start this review by saying that I am not American. I am Australian, a Democrat supporter (or should that be, a Bush basher?), and love reading or watching evidence which shows your current Administration in their true light. That is, liars, self serving, incompetant, embarrassing and arrogant.

I am a fan of Franken, and as we also receive the Fox News channel down here, I have come to despise O'Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, and company. This is why I was hoping I could highly rate this DVD.

I found it extremelly slow and at times, simply boring. I have laughed with delight at Franken's books, together with an array of his TV and audio commentaries.

The official Amazon review states, "The filmmakers, longtime associates of cinéma verité pioneer DA Pennebaker, take a fly-on-the-wall approach towards Franken's activities around the time of the 2004 presidential election and afterwards as he explores a run for the US Senate in 2008."

True. However, when I think "fly on the wall" approach, I usually think about interesting items which the public don't usually get to see, and which help to show the true nature of a person or situation. It seems their version of this simply means following Al around with a camera and recording nothing of any great value.

One of the main selling points of this DVD for me, was this line. "They look at the (unsuccessful) lawsuit Fox News filed against him for swiping their tagline." I would have loved to have seen the true story behind this, however it was simply mentioned, not discussed at length.

Also, "and his dust-ups with Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, and Bill O'Reilly, who describes him as a vile human being." Disappointed again.
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Format: DVD
Was there to be a part two? The 2006 documentary AL FRANKEN: GOD SPOKE leaves the viewer hanging as it concludes with comedian/poltical commentator Al Franken leaving it all behind to run for the United States Senate.

Did he win? We'll just have to wait for part two to find out!

Along with most Dan Aykroyd sketches my favorite segment on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE was "The Franken and Davis Show," featuring Franken and the late Tom Davis. Of all the S.N.L. skits that became movies, Franken's funny and heartwarming STUART SAVES HIS FAMILY is the best I've seen.

The Al Franken book LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM, which exposes the Republican noise machine, "Saved my life," according to someone who told me she started reading it after a distressing day on the job and laughed so much she was able to get the night's sleep she thought she would miss.

Al Franken was the cornerstone of Air America radio, where his talent lost no punch in the theater of the mind. As a bonus, I discovered Thom Hartmann, who replaced Franken when he left to run for the Senate and has become one of my favorite talk show hosts.

Some of the above is in AL FRANKEN: GOD SPOKE and some isn't. I realize I'm reviewing Al Franken's career as much as this documentary but the film ties it together neatly for me because watching it, I realize the man's done everything he's tried well. How many others can claim success as an actor, author, radio commentator and politician? (Okay, I ruined the surprise of part two if it's ever made; Al Franken won the election!)
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This was very funny; it begins with a whole bit at the front about how God spoke to him. Although it is really a documentary about the evolution of Al Franken specifically the why and how of his journey from writer and sketch comedian on SNL to humorous political pundit and satirist.

It shows his mission to give the voice of liberal dissent an outlet via Air America Radio and his contemplation of running for the senate in '04 after the death of Paul Wellstone. What was interesting for me was the glimpse into conservative radio and TV personalities and by that I do mean personalities not broadcast journalists including Hannity, O'Reilly, Michael Medvid (former movie critic) and Neal Boortz (contender for the title of Right Wing Megalomaniac). Then there is Ann Coulter, the Heidi Fleiss of the right; too bad All Franken did not know at the time she plagerized her columns and book or it would have been a more intense encounter.

This was fun and revealing because you get a glimpse in to Franken's private life and meet his wife and get to see him in his off time. If you are a Franken fan and want a humorous glimpse in to his life this is for you.
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In my rating system, this should be 3 and 1/2, stars, but I gave it four because I think Franken is a necessary counterbalance to the propagandists he debunks. It's a bit shallow and feels more like an extended campaign ad for his (I hope successful) Senate bid.

The Buddy Hackett joke was the high point for me, but his deconstruction Brit Hume's lying abuse of statistics for some high-schoolers is a wonderful illustration of why an educated electorate is necessary for a functioning democracy.

A political aside: as a non-American, I have no trouble in recognizing that the invasion of Iraq is "the supreme war crime", as unprovoked wars of aggression were described by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, and am always amused and a little dismayed at how this fact is always outside the acceptable limits of opposition to the current Occupation, even among "liberal" Americans like Franken. Political expediency, I suppose.

Franken's fans will enjoy this light-weight documentary and get a few chuckles from it. It's a user-friendly introduction to the man for those who don't know him. People who don't understand the term "oxymoron", particularly as it applies to Fox News, will hate it and those looking for an in-depth examination of Franken's politics, the nature of his Senate run or the travails of Air America radio will find nothing of substance.
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