I Am

Tom Shadyac is the successful writer/director who, after films like "Patch Adams," "Bruce Almighty," "Ace Ventura" and "Liar, Liar," suffered a concussion in a bike accident and had lingering ill effects for almost three years. During that time, he contemplated his successes and evaluated the quality of his "stuff." The end result being that he divested himself of his belongings, his real estate, his private jet, his vehicles and set out on a world-wide search to try and find what was missing from his life.

This entertaining documentary has a generous sampling of clips from all over the world, augmented by clever cartoons, great wildlife scenes and earnest discussions about what is important. The result is a wide-ranging piece that goes from quantum physics to migrating penguins, from cheetahs attacking gazelles to firefighters rescuing children. We see Nelson Mandela, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King Jr and Alfred Einstein. He quotes them all, plus John Lennon, Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and a dozen others.

At times he struck me as naïve, but at other times I was impressed by his optimism and his energy. For example, during his Q & A afterward, one audience member asked him if he was a Socialist because he gave away his possessions. He said he wasn't political and had come to share the Native American belief that too much "stuff" was a sign of mental illness (I agree! As an extreme example, look at hoarders!).

Another asked if he was a fan of Facebook. He said "Science is neutral. Facebook has been used to drive youngsters to suicide and it has helped generate revolutions. Science is only as good or as bad as the person using it."Many years ago, his late father resigned a law firm and joined with Danny Thomas to found St. Jude's Research Hospital. I don't think this apple fell too far from the tree.

I wish him well....