What the Bleep Do We Know!?(Fox Home Entertainment, 3.15.2005)
For a 35,000 year old warrior-god who understands the whole universe, Ramtha picked the worst time in history to bullshit the masses. Sure, What the Bleep Do We Know!?, a comically absurd puff of New Age incense, made a decent chunk of change for Atlantis' favorite (only?) son and also for JZ Knight who has channeled Ramtha ever since he appeared in her kitchen in the late 70s, while Knight was wearing a cardboard pyramid on her head.
But didn't Ramtha realize that the Internet age, while providing a convenient marketplace for CDs, DVDs, and weekend retreats near Portland, also gives charlatans and the gods that possess them no place to hide? Within weeks of its release, Bleep had been thoroughly discredited as anything but a cult recruitment video, its experts mocked for their quack credentials, its pseudo-scientific belief in the empowered mind creating reality dismissed as fantasyland perversions of quantum theory.
Even if you ignore the fact that Bleep's three filmmakers and most of its talking heads are Ramtha disciples, there's no mistaking it for anything but an infomercial. Marlee Matlin plays a photographer awakening to the multiple dimensions, personal godliness, and quantum magic at play in her hum-drum daily routine. Matlin's episodic adventures -- shooting hoops, yelling at herself in a mirror, getting drunk -- reveal universal problems, like our "addiction to emotions," easily solved with a little Ramtha-speak that Ramtha will illuminate if you have your credit card handy.
Drippy lulls of techno elevator music score each scene. Liquid portals to alternate realities open in the sky, as if we're trapped in a deep meditation tape soothing our brains into receive mode. Soundbites from a panel of quantum mystics talk over and around Matlin's story, expounding on the legitimate science behind this hokum, while animated emotions that look like gummy bears sing "Addicted to Love" in a pulsing hypothalamus.
The bearded, beaded old hippies asking questions to the filmmakers on the DVD's supplemental side act transported by this stuff and fans wondering how something so out-there made it to the big screen in the first place will find lots of spiteful anecdotes from directors William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, and Mark Vicente.
Besides a horrible music video patching together Bleep clips, the extras are all talk: Q&A sessions, long cast and crew interviews, more "one of us" mysticism and pretentiousness that culminates in Vicente, a Ramtha wackjob and an egotist to boot, claiming that Bleep constitutes "an entirely new art form." The only program on either side of the disc with any concrete value is Matlin discussing the challenges of working as a deaf actress.
All three filmmakers insist that they made Bleep to open up a dialogue and if you don't agree with them, fine. But for all the wonderful openness of their intentions, all the limitless possibilities in their beliefs, they predictably (cult-ishly?) prickle at anyone unempowered enough to value, say, the Greeks, the Romans, Moses or Jesus over Ramtha. In all fairness, Christian fundamentalists did protest the movie and call cute little Betsy "the mouthpiece of Satan" so the filmmakers have a right to tell nutty ideologues to go bleep themselves. I know the feeling. -- Joey Tayler