What Would Jesus Buy? (2007)

Movie


What Would Jesus Buy? (2007)

An examination of the commercialization of Christmas in America while following Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse (the end of humankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt.) The film also delves into issues such as the role sweatshops play in America's mass consumerism and Big-Box Culture. From the humble beginnings of preaching at his portable pulpit on New York City subways, to having a congregation of thousands - Bill Talen (aka Rev. Billy) has become the leader of not just a church, but a national movement.
USA
IMDb   6.4 /10
Metacritic   60 %
TheMovieDb    6.6 /10
RottenTomatoes
TV.com
FilmAffinity   6.3 /10
Creators
Director Rob VanAlkemade
Writer Sangeeta Sharma
Writer Rob VanAlkemade
Information
Release Date2007-10-18
Runtime1h 31mins
GenreDocumentary, Comedy
Content RatingPG (PG)
Awards
CompanyPalisades Pictures, Warrior Poets, Werner Film
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Adetola Abiade
Adetola Abiade
Alto
Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Tenor
Paul Norman Allen
Paul Norman Allen
Paul
Paul Norman Allen
Paul Norman Allen
Tenor
Shannon Baxter
Shannon Baxter
Soprano
Rick Becker
Rick Becker
Trombone
James Solomon Benn
James Solomon Benn
Choir Director / Choreographer
Reverend Billy
Reverend Billy
Reverend Billy
Ben Cerf
Ben Cerf
Bass
Misun Choi
Misun Choi
Soprano
Ben Dubin-Thaler
Ben Dubin-Thaler
Bass
Savitri Durkee
Savitri Durkee
Church Director
Leah Farrell
Leah Farrell
Tenor
Gina Figueroa
Gina Figueroa
Alto
Mike Flthye
Mike Flthye
Drums

What Would Jesus Buy?

What Would Jesus Buy? is a 2007 documentary film produced by Morgan Spurlock and directed by Rob VanAlkemade. The title is a take-off on the phrase, "what would Jesus do?". The film debuted on the festival circuit on March 11, 2007, at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. It went into general U.S. release on November 16, 2007.

The film follows the exploits of the satirical group Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. Although founded as a performance collective rather than an actual religious organization, members of the group express spiritual viewpoints against excessive consumerism and materialism, particularly in the context of Christmas. The aforementioned Reverend Billy, played by social activist Bill Talen, is intended by its non-Christian performer not as parody but as a living example of past radical preachers.


Plot

The film focuses on the issues of the commercialization of Christmas, materialism, the over-consumption in American culture, globalization, and the business practices of large corporations, as well as their economic and cultural effects on American society, as seen through the prism of activist and performance artist Bill Talen, who goes by the alias of "Reverend Billy", and his troupe of activists, whose street theater performances take the form of a church choir called "The Church of Stop Shopping," that sings anti-shopping and anti-corporate songs. The film follows Billy and his choir as they take a cross-country trip in the month prior to Christmas 2005, and spread their message against what they perceive as the evils of patronizing the retail outlets of several different large corporate chains.


Crew

The film was produced by Morgan Spurlock, with cinematography by Alan Deutsch, Daniel Marracino, Martin Palafox, Alex Stikich and Rob VanAlkemade. The film was edited by Gavin Coleman and Stela Georgieva.


Reception

The film received mixed reviews. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 56%, based on 57 reviews, and an average rating of 5.96/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "WWJB is an eye opening doc about consumerism that manages to be both funny and informative." The film has a score of 60 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".