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Bill Moyers' latest may not be a whiz-bang high-def marvel, but it's one of the more thought-provoking DVD box sets of the last few months...
Acorn Media / 750 Minutes / 2006 / Unrated / Street Date: August 13, 2013
It seems weird to start a review about a DVD set entitled On Faith and Reason with a story that takes place in a bar, but here goes: A few years back, a bandmate of mine was tending bar at a dive in San Francisco, and he invited me in to throw back a few. We offered pretty tame "What's new?" conversation for a minute or two, then he asked me what I wanted to drink. I couldn't really decide - wasn't in the mood for anything in particular - then I said I'd take a gin and tonic. My buddy gave me a pained look, then with a big gesture said loudly, "BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH...."
In short, I've learned that when it comes to folks who don't mind talking (that would be this guy), a gin and tonic exacerbates this chattiness, allowing those imbibing a chance to drone on and on about any subject you can throw our way.
I bring this up, because this love of speech, this desire to discuss every nook and cranny of a conversation point infuses Bill Moyers: Faith and Reason Collection in every capacity. This box set includes conversations of many different perspectives and vantage points that often overlap, but just as frequently spin off into inviting, involving tangents, allowing discussions between Moyers and his guests to really take a form of their own.
What we have here is a dialogue about how human beings with varying religious affiliations and creeds can interact in our new millennium, and this set allows for a bunch of intelligent, well-spoken people to have a say on the matter. Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson are the cream of the crop - there are more - but whether you dig what these people discuss or not, their take on the situations at hand are lucid, intelligent and rife with nuggets of clarity. It makes you want to join the conversation from your couch.
And if that wasn't enough, this new compilation includes two new sets of interviews: The Wisdom of Faith With Huston Smith (276:00) and Amazing Grace (80:00). I'll take that gin and tonic now.