Al Franken: God Spoke

Al Franken: God Spoke is one of those movies that preaches to the choir, and probably will not convert anyone who is not already a fan.

Genre(s): Documentary

Director: Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus

Actors: Al Franken , Neal Boortz, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved

Year: 2006

MPAA Rating: PG

Country: USA

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If anything, it offers a character portrait of one man who is not afraid to stand on his own pedestal and shake his liberal fist at conservative pundits and talk-show hosts who offer opinions and muddy facts as news (yeah, we’re looking at you, FOX News).

Al Franken, a comedian previously best known for his stint on Saturday Night Live, branched off his humorous political commentary from the show into a career of more serious challenges to the Conservative Right, especially the George W. Bush administration. God Spoke starts with Franken’s book tour for his critical tome Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. He was just getting warmed up, wielding “Shut up!” orders from FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, as well as rolling-eyeball responses from Ann Coulter. When he some of his co-horts start the liberal talk-show radio program Air America, they are doing it to fill a void in a medium that is dominated by ultra-conservative blowhards such as Rush Limbaugh.

God Spoke is at its best following the planning and birth of Air America, as well as during the 2004 presidential campaign where Franken goes to the Republican Convention (where he is welcomed with stiff smiles and “sign this for my son!” requests from conservative politicians). But as the film spans a couple of years, it seems a bit rambling without much of a focus, and, frankly, some kind of crappy camerawork that looks like it was taken with a home video camera from the 80s.

The film concludes with Bush winning his second term, and Franken declaring that he will run for Senate in Minnesota against Republican Norm Coleman in 2008. Coleman had run for Senate against incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone (a friend of Franken’s), who died in a plane crash just over a week before the election. Franken’s declaration should have been an “Oh, wow!” culmination of the movie, but it just sort of ends, instead, with a thud. I found myself a tad surprised when the credits started rolling, especially as this film is being released a couple years after the announcement was made. Well, then what? Al Franken: God Spoke left me with a feeling that I should be more interested about this revelation (after spending a feature-film length of time with the man), than I actually was.

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