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  •  REVIEW: WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?

    What the Bleep Do We Know?

    Take a giant bleep

    "What the Bleep Do We Know?" tries to convince you that a vague understanding of quantum physics can somehow help you find inner power, but if you detect an aroma of culty wackiness from its talking-head "experts," that's no accident.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    The "Bleep" in "What the Bleep Do We Know?" stands for only one of the three words the film dares not say. The other two are "Transcendental" and "Meditation."

      
    WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?
    Directed by: William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, Mark Vicente.
    Written by: William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, Matthew Hoffman.
    Cast: Marlee Matlin, Elaine Hendrix, Barry Newman, Robert Bailey Jr., John Ross Bowie, Armin Shimerman, Robert Blanche, David Albert, Marsha Clark, Amit Goswami, John Hagelin, Ramtha, Jeffrey Satinover, Jeff S. Dodge, William Tiller, Fred Alan Wolf.
    Cinematography: David Bridges, Mark Vicente.
    Edited by: Jonathan P. Shaw.

    Related links: Official site
    This is not a movie to be seen in theaters — it's a movie to be dragged into by smiling cultists who approach you on the street and say, "Want to watch a free video that could change your life?" Once you're sucked into their little world, some highly scholarly-looking on-screen authorities (many of them have beards) will offer you little morsels of enlightenment. Despite the nagging sense of inner loopiness you might pick up from these people, don't think of them as wackos. What they have to tell you is pure ... science!

    What the Bleep Do We Know?  
    Much of the scientific information in the movie is, to the best of my knowledge, authentic — and irrelevant. If you know that atoms are mostly empty space, does that mean you can reorder matter and walk on water? If you know that particles travel in indeterminate paths, does that mean you can be in two places at once? If you know that brain chemicals affect the body, does that mean you can remove cellulite through positive thinking? The film's great scientific minds say yes, although my lesser mind says they're hucksters.

    Just when you think you might be one or two scenes away from learning something, one of these people lets loose with a total head-scratcher that reinforces the suspicion that you're dealing with charlatan weirdos. "[Earth] is the only planet in the Milky Way that is habitated that is steeped in the subjugation of religion," a voiceover says — suggesting that the filmmakers have used astral projection to make a thorough study of the spiritual practices of the galaxy. Another source refers, without explanation, to "the four layers of the bio-body suit," whatever the bleep that's supposed to mean.

      What the Bleep Do We Know?
    Luckily, in addition to bio-body suits, science has also brought us the Internet, so it's easy to find out who the bleep these so-called authorities are — and most of them show up in connection with the Transcendental Meditation movement. Physics Ph.D. John Hagelin was even the TM-linked Natural Law Party's presidential candidate. Another source prominently featured in the film is the "spiritual adviser" Ramtha, who, despite currently occupying the middle-aged, bleached-blonde, glassy-eyed body of '80s new-age guru J.Z. Knight, is in fact a 35,000-year-old warlord from Atlantis. Actress Marlee Matlin is added, in some dramatic scenes that illustrate the film's ideas, to lend the whole project an undeserved whiff of mainstream credibility.

    Now, people are entitled to believe whatever they want, and if they want to meditate for world peace and inner strength, that's great. But caching their spiritual beliefs behind a scientific veneer is unnecessary, and knowing there's some hidden agenda behind all their happy talk is just creepy. At a basic level, you might get something out of the film's gloss of physics and physiology, but you'd surely learn more from any episode of "Nova." You might be convinced that the power of positive thinking and the mind-body connection can help you in life, but you'd surely be better served by reading some combination of psychology, Alan Watts and halfway decent self-help literature. By comparison, this movie's unmade connections between gee-whiz science clichÄs and new-age spiritual hokum will only leave you thinking, why the bleep should I care?

    SEPTEMBER 8, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on What the Bleep Do We Know?:

  • Hmmmmmm   from aguynamedguyinTX, Sep 10, 2004
  • Re: Hmmmmmm   from naeemah, Apr 24, 2005
  • What an oafish review   from Roberto Mazzarella, Sep 15, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Greg, Sep 30, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from David, Oct 4, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Alex, May 14, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Dean, Mar 21, 2005
  • Re: What an oafish review   from John Chiara, Apr 3, 2005
  • Re: What an oafish review   from ling, Jul 10, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from errol Sakia, Apr 24, 2005
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Dulbass, Jan 30, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Alissa, Oct 17, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from B.Bones, Dec 6, 2006
  • Undisputed facts   from diggingdeeper, Oct 6, 2004
  • Re: Undisputed facts   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Undisputed facts   from Snow Miller, Aug 1, 2005
  • Re: Undisputed facts   from Alex, May 14, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from brad schuster, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Brenden, Nov 25, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from John Chiara, Nov 27, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Kappy, Dec 15, 2004
  • Re: What an oafish review   from physics friend, Nov 24, 2004
  • oafish, I think red-neck review is more accurate   from Ricardo Hambina, Apr 24, 2005
  • Re: oafish, I think red-neck review is more accura   from Peace Warrior, Jun 25, 2005
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Helen, Jun 12, 2005
  • Re: What an oafish review   from jafagal, Feb 13, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from james carey, Jul 10, 2006
  • Re: What an oafish review   from Ummm....eh, Dec 21, 2006
  • I can't wait to see it!   from Bill, Sep 23, 2004
  • Best movie ever!!   from Sandi, Sep 24, 2004
  • Re: this movie is pseudoscientfic propaganda piece   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • What the Bleep   from sihem, Jun 8, 2006
  • A scientist's review   from LTV, Nov 24, 2004
  • Don't waste your money   from Mike, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Don't waste your money   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Don't waste your money   from brad schuster, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Don't waste your money   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Don't waste your money   from steph, Nov 25, 2004
  • Re: Don't waste your money   from , Nov 27, 2004
  • Wake Up!   from Steve, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Wake Up!   from bonnie, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: Wake Up!   from Ray Van Gelder, Apr 3, 2005
  • Re: Wake Up!   from John Chiara, Apr 3, 2005
  • What the bleep do we know   from Tommie Sue, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: What the bleep do we know   from Bobcham, Nov 24, 2004
  • it's an artistic interpretaion   from joe, Nov 24, 2004
  • People don't Get It!!!!   from John Chiara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: People don't Get It!!!!   from Linda Paul, Mar 18, 2005
  • Re: People don't Get It!!!!   from John Chiara, Apr 3, 2005
  • bleep   from Belmo, Nov 29, 2004
  • What the Bleep do we Know   from Jean Mather, Dec 9, 2004
  • What the bleep not a good but dont be hating   from jeffrey, Dec 30, 2004
  • Bring it east! I've heard....   from Barbara Flynn, Jan 7, 2005
  • big mistake...   from Kram, Jan 8, 2005
  • Oh, Joy   from Brent Butt, Jan 30, 2005
  • Another cult recruitment film   from Eireann, Jan 31, 2005
  • Re: Another cult recruitment film   from naeemah, Apr 24, 2005
  • [no subject]   from , Feb 14, 2005
  • *Create Your Day* CD - inspired by the Movie   from Laurie Kristensen, Mar 8, 2005
  • what the bleep   from peter roloff, Mar 18, 2005
  • The search for spiritual meaning through science   from Sara Houle, Mar 27, 2005
  • keep hope alive   from Bill Widnall, Apr 29, 2005
  • What the Bleep do you know?   from Leah, May 9, 2005
  • The message behind this film for me   from KarlosJ, May 31, 2005
  • taken in...   from kier, Jun 5, 2005
  • Re: taken in...(above post is excellent)   from jay, Jun 13, 2005
  • Critique could have been better.   from Just Another Primate, Jun 5, 2005
  • For What the bleep Fans   from Glenn Parry, Jun 21, 2005
  • what the bleep...   from david, Jul 5, 2005
  • M theory is indeed magical   from dionysus, Aug 19, 2005
  • Super Bleep   from Omar Arana, Aug 20, 2005
  • Re: Super Bleep   from L Brown, Sep 28, 2005
  • They insist of bullshitting on religion & beliefs   from Lucas Santos, Nov 8, 2005
  • Re: They insist of bullshitting on religion & beliefs   from Franz Fortuny L de M, Dec 7, 2005
  • Miceal Ledwith (aka Micheal Ledwith)   from Ann Cox, Dec 17, 2005
  • Re: Miceal Ledwith (aka Micheal Ledwith)   from rik, Mar 28, 2006
  • I can smell your bleep...   from Miggsy, Dec 24, 2005
  • Never send a monkey to do a mans job   from Jack, Dec 24, 2005
  • What the Bleep Do We Know   from steve, Jan 7, 2006
  • Re: What the Bleep Do We Know   from miggsy, Jan 9, 2006
  • Missing the point   from sharpinchicago, Jan 18, 2006
  • What the Bleep Do Any Of You Know??   from JoyousEnergy, Feb 7, 2006
  • Re: What the Bleep Do Any Of You Know??   from Marcy, Apr 18, 2006
  • Using Science For Validity   from Elana, Feb 26, 2006
  • Re: Using Science For Validity   from FromFrance, Mar 5, 2006
  • What the Bleep...   from rik, Mar 28, 2006
  • Re: What the Bleep...   from From France, Apr 3, 2006
  • Really?   from Ted Bonerz, May 16, 2006
  • What the Bleep   from Mary Maurice, May 22, 2006
  • Re: What the Bleep   from Saddened, Aug 25, 2006
  • Judgement   from g, Jun 26, 2006
  • Re: Judgement   from matrix, Jun 28, 2006
  • Re: Judgement   from Nicolas, Oct 11, 2006
  • My Experience   from San Juanita Mejorado, Aug 21, 2006
  • Typical arrogant review   from Ken, Sep 6, 2006
  • Re: Typical arrogant review   from Nicolas, Oct 11, 2006
  • i loved it   from luke, Sep 15, 2006
  • what the fuck do you know   from matthew, Oct 17, 2006
  • what the bleep   from tainoray, Feb 6, 2007
  • Nay sayer!   from Goat, May 24, 2008

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