If you're feeling overwhelmed by shopping this month, What Would Jesus Buy? is the movie for you. By equating elaborate gift giving with consumerism gone wild, it will help you justify the impulse to stop buying presents altogether.
Morgan Spurlock, who also brought us the documentary Super Size Me, produced the film that follows the character "Reverend Billy," the alter ego of consumer advocate Bill Talen, leader of the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, across the United States in an attempt to get people to retire their plastic and, instead, simply enjoy each other's company over the holidays.
"We used to be a nation of producers and are now a nation of consumers," the narrator intones.
Some of the film's most absurd moments are clips of news anchors encouraging materialism. One anchor even kisses her diamond ring and says sometimes she loves it more than she loves her husband.
The film saves some of its wrath for consumers themselves. Against a backdrop of disturbing video clips of shoppers running each other over to get to Black Friday sales, the narrator tells us that the U.S. household savings rate is below zero for the first time since the Great Depression and that Americans spend five hours a week shopping and only one hour a week on religion or spiritual time. A historian explains that Christmas wasn't always about gifts, and a psychiatrist tells us that children now grow up associating material gifts with love.
It's enough to make me want to give homemade granola to all my relatives this season.
Here's the What Would Jesus Buy? trailer.