June 15th, 2006

agent

Marjoe

Just a quick film review. Netflix brought us Marjoe the other day. It's a 1972 Oscar-winning documentary about Marjoe Gortner, who started his career as a teeny-tiny evangelist, brainwashed by his parents into a trained monkey of the Lord by the time he was 4. He ditched the revival tent circuit in his teens, but the documentary catches up with him at age 28, starting it up again. Older and sadder, he now sees evangelism as an act, a performance. A way to bring in the money. Whooping and hollering for Jesus is the only skill he has, and he uses it to great effect at the meetings. But you can tell that the facade is cracking... not least because he's invited this documentary crew along to film everything: the onstage act and the offstage reality.
It's kind of interesting as a time capsule of 1972 as well. The pot-smoking hippie film crew versus the beehives and fundie hair. The film is pretty much all-Marjoe all the time. Fortunately, he really is a charismatic bastard. Not much narration or information (more would have been appreciated) but the dope-addled filmmakers still managed to produce something pretty vivid.
With his cover blown after this film expose came out, Marjoe took his natural charisma and tried his hand at acting. He also seemed interested in being a rock star, and there's a funny bit where he mentions 'stealing' Mick Jagger's crooked-arm-on-hip strut and there's a quick montage of Marjoe doing it at various venues. But the best scene is at the very end with his dog. I don't want to spoil it, so go watch the movie.

More about Marjoe.