It’s ok to fool people, as long as you’re doing it to teach them a lesson on how the real world works.
That the credo of James “The Amazing” Randi, the subject of local filmmaker Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein’s new documentary An Honest Liar.
The film made its Utah premiere at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on May 7. So far, Utah is one of only a handful of states to screen the film. And based on the complex audience questions during the Q&A session with Measom, Randi fans came out of the woodwork to fill the theater.
Born in 1928 and leaving home at 17 to join a carnival, Randi was inspired by magician Harry Blackstone to become a magician and escape artist himself. Like Houdini, he turned into a famous debunker, taking on psychics, faith healers and anyone else conning the public by “supernatural” means.
The film includes interviews with Randi and his lover Jose Alvarez, along with Adam Savage of MythBusters, Penn and Teller, Alice Cooper and magicians inspired by Randi. Measom and Weinstein chose a subject offering great archival footage, which is beautifully edited into the film.
There’s not a dry moment in the film, and by the end, there’s not a dry eye in the theater. Along with showing how Randi exposed faith healer Peter Popoff and psychokinetic Uri Geller, the film uncovers Alvarez’s deception and the heartbreak that follows.
An Honest Liar is planned for dozens of film festivals around the world. Unfortunately, Measom says Sundance won’t be one of them. Hopefully, the Utah Film Center will schedule another screening of the film for the hundred or so who were turned away from the packed theater.
For the month of May, Utah Film Center is offering new perks for annual memberships.
Choose one gift when you purchase, renew or upgrade:
$30, cast level: Two Twilight Concert Series tickets, one KUED DVD
$60, audience level: Two UMFA passes and tote, two Leonardo general admission tickets, two tickets to KRCL’s Music Meets Movies, two tickets to the Clark Planetarium IMAX, two tickets to Red Butte Garden
$120, crew level: Three tickets to Thanksgiving Point’s new Museum of Natural Curiosity, two tickets to the Natural History Museum of Utah, a poster, a patch, two tickets to the Hogle Zoo
$300, director level: One Utah Olympic Park summer gold pass, one $20 City Creek gift card
$500, producer level: One Kura Door gift card