By Randall Stephens
The current issue of Newsweek tips us off to the forthcoming Alexandra Pelosi documentary, The Trials of Ted Haggard, now being advertised by HBO. Wow... If Pelosi's whimsical Friends of God and Journeys with George are any indication, this should be a real treat. Set your DVRs. I've used Friends in my Religion and American Culture class, and it's worked very well.
In the not-so-recent-film category. . . I encourage blog readers to get a copy of Marjoe, an Oscar-winning 1972 documentary that will knock your socks OFF!!! I had not seen it until recently. What a revelation. A sleeper, for sure, the movie is about a one-time child pentecostal preacher who, as a jaded twenty-something, starts to test the boundaries of authenticity and holy-rolling antics. Marjoe Gortner later achieved some fame as a B movie actor--he starred in Earthquake, a classic disaster film from the Me Decade. But this picture takes us back to his days as a conflicted evangelist . . . “Should I stay or should I go now.” Marjoe's Mick Jagger-esque chicken dancing down the aisles in tent meetings and tabernacles is something to behold. The music that accompanies the former kid preacher’s Leap-of-Faith swagger could melt the heart of even the most stolid atheist. This one merits in-class viewing, for sure.
What is it with child preachers anyhow? It’s like watching very precocious/frightening child actors, right?