An Honest Liar (2014)
Directors: Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom
Written by: Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom, Greg O’Toole
Starring: James Randi, José Alvarez, Penn Jillette, Teller, Adam Savage, Alice Cooper, Bill Nye, Uri Geller and Peter Popoff
The Overview: Beware of spoilers…
James Randi began his career as a carnival magician and escape artist. His goal was to learn every trick performed by Harry Houdini and improve on them where he could. In the early 1970s, as “The Amazing Randi” was winding down his escape artist act, his career took an interesting path that led to even greater fame. Randi turned his sights on con artists such as faith healers, psychics, and folks claiming supernatural powers. Randi would recreate their “miracles” and then explain how he did them!
Two of his most famous run-ons occurred with Uri Geller and Peter Popoff. Geller was making the rounds on tv shows, moving objects and bending spoons with just his mind. Geller was scheduled be a guest on The Johnny Carson Show. Carson’s staff reached out to Randi who gave specific instructions on how to insure that Geller couldn’t cheat. When Geller appeared on the Carson show he was unable to perform any of his “supernatural” tricks. This developed into a long-running feud between Randi and Geller.
Peter Popoff was a faith healer who claimed God spoke to him and used Popoff as a conductor of miracles. Randi had video tape of Popoff performing his miracles. It turned out Popoff was wearing an earpiece and his wife was reading information collected from prayer cards of those in attendance. Randi had the audio to prove it! Does it get any lower?
James Randi led an amazing life and these are just two highlights from his long career. An Honest Liar takes us from his early to his last days. Along the way Randi met the love of his life and there’s even a twist to that.
I was a fan of The Amazing Randi since I first learned of him in the 1970s. I loved seeing his appearances and his outlook on life. Randi wouldn’t rule anything out, but remained skeptical. That seems like a pretty good way to approach things.
An Honest Liar earns 5 of 5 stars.