Al Franken: God Spoke

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        Al Franken: God Spoke is a new documentary by Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus. They did a similar documentary, The War Room, where they followed around James Carville, George Stephanolpoulos et al. as they got Bill Clinton elected in 1992. It was a fascinating documentary. For this new film, Doob and Hegedus followed Al Franken around for about two years, starting about the time that his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, was being sued by Fox News. The film shows Franken working to start up Air America, campaigning for various Democrats, and trying to stave off the attacks from the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannigan. Al Franken: God Spoke ends just after the 2004 election as Franken is beginning to consider running for the Senate in Minnesota where he grew up.

        I have to say that I found Al Franken: God Spoke to be inspirational. It made me want to give up my job and move to Minnesota to work on his campaign. The directors of Al Franken: God Spoke said that Franken gave them more access, and was more open and unaffected by their presence than anyone they had filmed before. And this certainly comes across in the film. Franken does not seem to be moderating his views for the camera or for his possible Senate campaign. In particular, he muses during the film that if he runs for the Senate, he won't be able to use his favorite off-color joke anymore. He tells this joke many times during the film. It's his Aristocrats joke and it's pretty funny. I'm sure the Republicans will use clips from Al Franken: God Spoke for their campaign commercials! Anyway, it is a compelling film to watch. In addition to just loving Franken and everything he is doing that the rest of the Democratic party aren't doing, the scenes with O'Reilly, Hannigan and Coulter will make you want to reach through the screen and throttle them. They are nasty, nasty people.

        Obviously, Franken is a great subject for a documentary because as a former stand-up comic, he is used to performing and he's very funny. He puts this to good use in his political appearances and also as a host on Air America. The directors of the film basically let Franken go and they present his life as it happens for two years. So the documentary has a very simple structure and their biggest problem was probably keeping up with him with their camera crew. The film has finally arranged distribution and will be released at least in a few cities before the November elections. Go see it if you can.