The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000)

THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is the year's most fascinating film, praying 
hands down.  Tag-team directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Baile pre-
sent both a sympathetic *and* satirical sketch of the title person, 
or, as she's called here, the First Lady of Religious Broadcasting.  
Through archive footage and where-are-they-now interviews, we learn 
the whole, stunning, sordid story of Jim and Tammy and her make-up 
case, from pre-"700 Club" to post-PTL scandal.  We learn, too, that 
the much-maligned Faye, arguably America's greatest living cartoon, 
is also impossibly big-hearted, unendingly energetic, and one of 
the most keenly naive people around.  (She cannot not be liked...)  
Other major players are introduced and sometimes met, such as Roe 
Messner, contractor of Heritage Park, the 2200-acre, North Carolina 
"religious theme park" that was the nation's third most-attended 
attraction after the Disney lands.  Also interviewed is ex-husband, 
ex-everything Jim Bakker, complete with *current* wife resting her 
blonde, big-haired head upon his shoulder.  (Ol' Jim is still go-
ofy-looking as all get-out-- with a strange, receding coif up top 
and those chipmunk lips of his permanently pursed in a kissy-face 
position.)  Really, folks, this one has it all:  drama, melodrama, 
high comedy, low camp, surprise plot twists, and even a villain!  
(Forget Magneto, Mrs. Tweedy, or those Colonial British Nancy Boys 
in THE PATRIOT, Jerry Falwell, as presented here, is the summer bad 
guy to beat!)  RuPaul narrates, sock puppets read the title cards, 
and Ms. Tammy just laughs and laughs and laughs at herself, bless 
her heart.  Elvis would like this movie.  Maybe he's already seen 
it...  (Alternate reviewer tag-line:  "Only a 'Simpsons' marathon 
is more consistently amusing...")  One word of caution:  viewers 
sensitive to outdated hairstyles should beware the flashback foot-
age.  Seeing Tammy Faye with a Dolly Parton wig is easy-enough to 
shrug.  The image of Jim's black metal-looking "hair helmet," how-
ever, may haunt you for a few days.  Now go have a Diet Coke.  
(Rated "PG-13"/79 min.)

Grade: B+

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Pat, Jim, Jerry, and Oral

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros