The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey introduced their RuPaul-narrated documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye on opening night of the 2000 Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, OUTFEST. When asked why in the world a gay film-fest was opening with a movie about Tammy Faye Bakker, one of them reportedly exclaimed, "Because it's Tammy Faye!" Well ... 'nuff said. But to be fair, Tammy Faye is one hell of a survivor. Using a nifty blend of clips and interviews, the filmmakers re-explore the various stages of Jim and Tammy Bakker's broadcasting career, from serving as the hosts of a Christian children's puppet show to creating "The 700 Club", the Trinity Broadcast Network, and eventually, their own Christian satellite network, the PTL Club. But their business ventures began to rapidly run out of cash, Tammy became addicted to tranquilizers, Jim had a hotel encounter with one Jessica Hahn... and then Jim was thrown in jail. The Eyes of Tammy Faye works overtime to make a case that Tammy Faye is a sympathetic personality. And, for the most part, it succeeds. The film documents how, in each of the Bakkers' successful business ventures, they were forced out by smarter, smarmier Christian partners. In the words of the Charlotte Observer reporter who broke the Bakker story, "The Bakkers were manipulative and scheming, but Falwell was cunning ... and I think that 'cunning' trumped 'scheming,' there." While a lot of fun, The Eyes of Tammy Faye swings awkwardly from a camp expose to an earnest plea for forgiveness. Yet by the end of this blowsy, kitsch-laden love letter, you might be surprised at how much you like Tammy Faye, and how much you find yourself rooting for her. Universal's DVD edition is presented full-screen (1.33:1) with audio in Dolby 2.0 Surround. The transfer is crisp and sharp, with varying qualities of picture depending on the source of the clips. Theatrical trailer, keep-case.