Monday, November 07, 2016

Oh God (the movie)

1 John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

The other night we watched the movie ‘Oh God’, I’d say a classic from 1977. I didn’t realize how poignant it was until viewing it as an adult who happens to love all things, God. 

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Carl Reiner directed this sweet comedy about the Man Upstairs visiting Earth in the form of a funny little guy (George Burns). John Denver is the good man chosen to be God's contact in the modern age--and like an Old Testament prophet, Denver's character pays the price by being ridiculed and faced with criminal charges. Denver is a warm presence, but the film is entirely in Burns's court. Reiner feeds him lines that come out of Burns' mouth like stage patter, and it's no wonder he got a huge career boost from this film in the winter of his life. Except for some courtroom stuff in the third act--where Reiner inadvertently cheapens the movie with editing tricks to suggest "miracles"--Oh, God! is just fine. (It's certainly better than its two perfunctory sequels, Oh God! Book II and Oh God! You Devil.) 
--Tom Keogh

A few quotes from the movie:

God: "Did Man fall from grace in the Garden of Eden?" I'll tell you something never came out. I made Adam 17. Eve was 15, 16 tops. I figured then 16, 17 was middle age, you know. Who knew people would live so long? Trees I figured had the best chance. Now I realize that they were kids, babies. Young people can't fall from my grace. They're my best things.

God: I know how hard it is in these times to have faith. But maybe if you could have the faith to start with, maybe the times would change. You could change them. Think about it. Try. And try not to hurt each other. There's been enough of that. It really gets in the way. I'm a God of very few words and Jerry's already given you mine. However hopeless, helpless, mixed up and scary it all gets, it can work. If you find it hard to believe in me, maybe it would help you to know that I believe in you.

Jerry Landers: How can you permit all the suffering that goes on the world?
God: Ah, how can I permit the suffering?
Jerry Landers: Yes!
God: I don't permit the suffering. You do. Free will. All the choices are yours.
Jerry Landers: Choices? What choices?
God: You can love each other, cherish and nurture each other or you can kill each other. Incidentally, "kill" is the word. It's not "waste." If I had wanted "waste" I would have written, "thou shalt not waste." You're doing some very funny things with words. You're also turning the sky into mud. I look down, I can't believe the filth. Using the rivers for toilets, poisoning my fishes. You want a miracle? *You* make a fish from scratch. You can't. You think only God can make a tree? Try coming up with a mackerel. And when the last one's gone, that'll be that. Eighty-six on the fish, goodbye sky, so long world, over and out.

Jerry Landers: I don't even go to any church!
God: Neither do I.

God: Why is it so hard for you to believe? Is my physical existence any more improbable than your own? What about all that hoo-ha with the devil a while ago from that movie? Nobody had any problem believing that the devil took over and existed in a little girl. All she had to do was wet the rug, throw up some pea soup and everybody believed. The devil you could believe, but not God? I work in my own way. I don't, I don't get inside little children; they got enough to do just being themselves. Also, I'm not about to go around to every person in the world and say, 'Look it's me, I wanna talk to you.' So I picked one man. One very good man. I told him God lives. I live. He had trouble believing too, in the beginning. I understood. I'm not sure how this whole miracle business started, the idea that anything connected with me has to be a miracle. Personally, I'm sorry that it did. Makes the distance between us even greater. But if a miracle helps you believe that I am who I say I am... I'll give you one. A good one.

God: The last miracle I did was the 1969 Mets. Before that, I think you have to go back to the Red Sea.

God: [Reading questionnaire] Which of the world's religions is closest to the divine truth?
[to Jerry]
God: The divine truth is not in a building or a book or a story. Put down the heart is the temple where all truth resides.

When Jerry Landers asks God why he won't work some magic and solve all the world's problems God responds, "I gave you a world and everything in it." So Landers says "But we need help!" To which God replies, "That's why I gave you each other."

*** ~~~ ***

This movie is profound on so many levels. We recently watched it and I remember the movie from when I was a kid but it never touched me the way it does watching it as an adult God lover. When Jerry ask God if he’ll come again so they can talk, tears formed in my eyes when the response was, “How about this, you talk and I’ll listen.”

People never feel like God is listening but He is, it’s just people are so caught up in the mundane they don’t have time to listen for an answer and I can rest assure you, He DOES answer. God IS alive! God loves us. I think He’d be much happier if we took responsibility for our actions instead of waited on ‘some guy in the sky’ to whisk in from the clouds and save our sorry tails.

Such a simple plot with such valid answers. Where has this movie in all of its original splendor been hiding? I personally feel that if everyone watched it today with new eyes like I did they’d see the movie in a different light and might, just might start trusting in themselves AND God again. 

To watch this movie you don’t have to be religious, believe in God, or even care if He exists, it’s just a lighthearted movie of its time that isn’t offensive in any way. You know one of those rare movies that aren’t slutified by the times; it’s just a pure wholesome movie for a world that is on its last leg of existence.

John Denver, in his only acting role, plays Jerry a simple honest man (another rarity this day and age) who’s faced with the fact that God chose HIM to carry a message. Funny thing is, God has asked us ALL to carry His message but I see not too many up to the task of doing such a simple job. Watch the movie again…you’ll be glad you did. 

1 comment:

benning said...

It was okay. :)