• Rusty-6128 March 2001
    Touching, entertaining look at an easy target
    We rented this mainly because we like documentaries and this was supposed to be a good one. I was very impressed, and also moved.

    I remember not being able to stand the sight of this woman back in the 80's, and being extremely satisfied when the Bakker's empire crumbled very publicly. Maybe I just got sick of hearing about them, and the media did not exactly paint a flattering portrait. I started out this movie feeling pity for Tammy Faye, but began to admire her as it went on. I had no idea she was gay-friendly way before it was fashionable to do so(and even now, I don't think there are too many gay-friendly televangelists), and had no idea she had a TV talk show with an openly gay co-host. Not to make media headlines for being 'daring', either. With many other celebrities, you get the feeling they figured out, "Hmmm, gay men seem to really love me, I think I'll use this and cash in on it". With Tammy it's clear that she is not calculating at all but just a very friendly person with no prejudice.

    The movie, narrated by RuPaul, chronicles her life, and gives her side of the story of the scandals. There are interviews with her current and ex-husband, and many of her friends, people she worked with, and biographers. The film includes great archival footage of her early television shows (if you think she has big hair *now*, just wait) to her later ones. The movie is divided up into chapters that are introduced with sock-puppets (this is not as ridiculous as it sounds, though the movie has plenty of humor).

    In one scene Tammy confronts a reporter who wrote a very unflattering, and Tammy says untrue, book about the PTL Empire. This and several other scenes are hard to watch (though it's fun to see the reporter stammer when Tammy asks him point blank why he printed lies about her). In another scene I felt like watching through my hands over my eyes, during a point in her life when she was addicted to prescription drugs, we see Tammy sort of wandering off in the middle of a broadcast to remark on the backdrop, pretty whacked out. When I found out the circumstances that led to her doctor prescribing something to calm her down, I wasn't disgusted but more surprised that she wasn't taking every narcotic she could get her hands on at the time.

    I remember thinking back in the 80's that anyone who walked around looking like Tammy and carrying herself confidently was out of their mind, or at best, delusional. At some point during the movie- probably a scene where she cheerfully pitches ideas for TV shows to someone probably 20 years younger than her at the USA Network (you get the feeling maybe he won't make fun of her as soon as she's out the door, but it's easy to imagine him having a good laugh with someone he knows later as he tells them about his encounter)- I realized she is just, well, being herself. She knows that her heavy eye makeup is "her trademark", and is proud of it. Let's face it, it takes real guts for this woman just to walk down the street when most people consider her a punchline, a cartoon, a freak, or all three. She is not a stupid woman and knows this, but holds her head up high anyway, and carries herself proudly. How many people would be brave enough to do that?

    I never thought I'd say this, but after seeing this, I have a newfound respect for Tammy Faye. If the film-makers intentions were to have people view the subject of their documentary in a different light, then they did an excellent job, and I don't have any complaints about it at all. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about Tammy (even if only out of morbid curiousity, like I did at first) and loves a fascinating, touching documentary. Be sure to wear waterproof mascara when watching it, though.
  • 4923578123 December 2000
    Best of The Year
    In a year where its easier to form a ten worst list than a ten best list, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale landscape of formulaic, uninteresting, and generally BAD productions made by the Hollywood machine.

    But, "Eyes" is more than simply the recent Biography of Tammy Faye on the big screen. No no no! "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" tells a solid story about a family's reversal of fortune, and one woman's really hard struggle through a life which is far from being complete. And the best (or worst, depending on who you are) part is, its a true story. There aren't any plots to "buy in to" or any storylines that make you go "huh?".

    For the most part, the story is very first-person, although Drag Queen Ru Paul Charles helps us along in times when the story needs that next advance.

    Its a documentary which reads more like a movie... and, as one IMDB reviewer has already said, you laugh, you cry, you NEED the waterproof mascara.

    The filmmakers, whilst it appears at time are getting their kicks out of putting Tammy Faye on the big screen, are (for the most part) sincere in their telling of the tale. They treat Tammy Faye with dignity, but also acknowledge a certain "kitsch" there is to the whole PTL saga.

    Whether you love her, hate her, or are totally uninterested in her, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" will bring you closer to Tammy Faye, and provide golden nuggets of insight in to who she really is as a person. In the end, you leave feeling ashamed... she's no different than anyone else, trying to carve out their mark in the world. And if you feel that, if you can immerse yourself in split-seconds of guilt throughout the film, the filmmakers have accomplished their goal. She is no longer an enigma... she is human. She is, Tammy Faye.

  • risherb29 June 2005
    The Full Story, Quite Fascinating
    First, I'm not religious and I always thought Jim and Tammy Faye were pathetic scam artists.

    I knew, of course, about the scandals involving them and their ministry. What I did not know, and what this film chronicles, is how the Bakkers invented televangelism with not one but three different networks, each of which was stolen from them by other televangelists. Jerry Falwell comes across exactly as the kind of person I have always suspected him to be: a schemer, a traitor, and a con man.

    Jim Bakker may not fare much better in the film's view (though Tammy still defends him). It is Tammy Faye herself who is the revelation, though. I did not know of her true compassion for groups that Christian ministries still vilify today (AIDS victims, gays, the poor, etc.).

    I never expected to find myself actually sympathizing with, and even liking, the fun-loving, vulnerable Tammy Faye. This is not some propaganda film, but a warts and all profile by respected filmmakers. The narrator is famed drag queen RuPaul Charles, which underscores just how surprising this film is.

    I'm not saying I'd like to hear Tammy Faye sing, but after watching this engaging film, I wouldn't mind living next door to her.
  • Lechuguilla28 July 2007
    Gone But Not Forgotten
    The recent and untimely death of Tammy Faye was both unfortunate and sad. Whatever faults and foibles she may have had, she was an inspiration to millions of down-home folks, a person who seemed genuinely loving, someone who wanted to reach out and hug everyone she met. There are very few religious fundamentalist leaders whom I would describe in those favorable terms.

    "The Eyes Of Tammy Faye", a documentary about the little lady with the big eyelashes, the running mascara, and the child like voice, likewise presents a woman who was sincere, surprisingly intelligent, energetic, persevering, and of course ... emotional. It's a worthwhile film to watch.

    In the film she describes herself as "a small town girl, at heart", ironic, given the opulent lifestyle she led with former hubby Jim Bakker, during the heyday of their electronic church empire in the 1980s. Much of the film covers her view of that era; and she has words that are none too flattering about the oily Jerry Falwell, a view that is almost certainly justified.

    One of the traits about Tammy Faye that I liked was her genuine compassion for unpopular people and causes, especially gays. In the film she makes it clear that she does not morally judge others. "I don't label people ... We're all just people, made out of the same old dirt; and God didn't make any junk". How many other fundamentalist leaders have that kind of heart and soul?

    Through all the heartache and suffering in her life, she maintained a good outlook. "You cannot go forward looking in the rearview mirror of your life; just drop it all, and move on; it's the only way in life that you'll ever find peace, joy, and victory". Wise words indeed.

    She was a one-of-a kind person, someone unique in popular culture. She will be remembered for that reason. Yet, underneath all the gobs of makeup, and quite aside from her flair for showmanship, she was a person of humanity, love, and compassion, and as such, a credit to the human race.
  • Doug Phillips30 August 2000
    "Puppets started it all."
    This film opens with RuPaul Charles asking, `Whatever happened to Tammy Faye?'

    Over the next hour and nineteen minutes you find out her past and present but the future is left a blank.

    Almost the first words out of her mouth is her reciting some bad poetry – her own.

    You also learn she buys her makeup at swap meets!

    As she says, `Puppets started it all.' And the theme is carried out through the entire film with puppets introducing each segment.

    She married Jim Bakker, appropriately enough, on April Fool's Day. This becomes eerily omniscient as this incredible documentary unfolds.

    You will learn a lot about the life and times of Tammy Faye's existence in the `Electric Church' a term she uses herself to describe the televised evangelical preaching of her and her husband and how they were squeezed out of every project they started together; that April Fool's curse again.

    I believe this film really tries to give a balanced perspective on her trials and tribulations – but you walk out of the theater with a certain amount of sympathy for all she has gone through and her ability to survive if not exactly flourish.

    Her very ‘un-Christian' views about gay people show an amazing amount of personal integrity and strength. While it may seem that she is shallow and lives on the surface it becomes obvious that she has an inner core of faith and belief in what is right that runs deep through the center of her being.

    It is obvious towards the end of the film she must have a great deal of personal magnetism that, in spite of her ever-tearful visage, must carry most strongly when you meet her in person.

    The interviews with her multi-pierced son and the daughter who ran away from home when the scandals erupted are particularly poignant.

    This documentary has Oscar nomination written all over it and it is well worth both your time and money to see it.
  • 7/10
    The World through Tammy Faye's eyes
    ..and Tammy Faye through ours. Saw this tonight and it was so deliciously campy and downright funny ! TF is an accidental hoot most of the time as she takes herself so seriously and it is impossible for the audience to do so. I mean anyone who looks at the camera with 2 inches of industrial strength make-up on and says in all seriousness that she likes things real and natural is an unintentional standup comic. Did not like the gimmicky hand-puppets intro to each segment of the Jim and TF sorry saga. Liked how this gutsy, never say fail woman comes across, there's a naivete and sadness to her tackiness coupled with her real devotion to the lord. You just have to like her by movie's end.
  • sddavis6313 October 2007
    Sympathetic Portrayal Of Tammy Faye Is Worth Watching
    I had no idea what to expect from this documentary about the life of the recently deceased Tammy Faye Bakker/Messner. Back in the '80's my wife was a fan of the Bakker's; I never was. I never cared for their glitzy, showy style of ministry and I never cared for the constant appeals for money, money and more money or the theology that seemed to say that if you didn't have a lot there was something wrong with you. Having said that, I can't deny that their ministry had a positive effect on many people even though I was largely revolted by it. So, I watched this out of curiosity. Tammy Faye is, after all, a fascinating person; one who has stepped out of what would normally be thought of as the traditional "fundamentalist" circles to embrace a variety of people as personal friends, from homosexuals to porn stars while still identifying herself very much as an evangelical Christian. For that, she deserves applause.

    Narrated by drag queen RuPaul Charles (which says something about the esteem in which Tammy Faye is held in circles not normally friendly with evangelical Christianity), the documentary is very friendly to Tammy Faye, and it certainly exposes the sordid side of the ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful Christian broadcasting community. (I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but Jerry Falwell - who I also never liked a bit - comes across here as a mean-spirited, power-hungry hypocrite, and that's being kind as well as probably true!) The first half of the documentary deals with the rise of Jim & Tammy's PTL Ministry and the problems that caused for them even while it was becoming a huge success. Speaking as a pastor, I must confess to a certain amount of sympathy for the televangelists. No one goes into ministry expecting to become rich and powerful, and when that happens to a very few, those very few probably get more easily overwhelmed by it and caught up in it than those who've planned for wealth and power all their lives, simply because it's so unexpected and they're so unprepared for it. The documentary certainly shows that trap overcoming Jim Bakker (and, to a lesser degree - perhaps because it's filmed from her perspective - Tammy Faye.) I found the PTL story both fascinating and tragic. The second half of the movie documents Tammy Faye's life post-PTL. It's an impressive story of a woman learning to stand on her own and overcoming some pretty big odds to do it. The story only goes as far as her second husband Roe Messner's release from prison after serving two years for bankruptcy fraud, so there's nothing about her spin on "The Surreal Life" or her final days before her cancer finally took her life.

    Tammy Faye was a fascinating person. Even those who weren't fans of hers can enjoy and appreciate this film. I know that because I wasn't a fan and I did enjoy this. The only truly irritating part was the puppets who introduced each segment! Losing a mark also for being obviously biased, I still give this an 8/10.
  • stoneyburke28 June 2008
    AWWW, She was a sweetie
    This documentary made me sad...sad in a supportive way. I am neither a religious person nor a heathen so I am commenting on this from an entirely neutral position. Tammy is darling...naive, perhaps, I tend to think so. Her sincerity reeks from every eyelash...this gal has no holds barred. From puppets to the pulpit I truly believe she was the epitome of sincerity. Seems I keep using the word SINCERITY.

    This documentary was made in 1999 and the small batting-eyelash-gal was alive. Before I previewed this great documentary I had seen her on TV reckoning with her cancer treatments....she even threw-up on camera...quite a feat for a vain woman.

    Ya know, I bet if this gal were touting GOD on her own show whether with or without puppets, her message would have been delivered and received completely with, here's that word again, sincerity.
  • lastliberal10 May 2007
    With your donation of $500, I will send you this beautiful rice patty baby!
    I was familiar with Jim and Tammy Faye before their downfall. Heck, I might have even sent a contribution to the 700 Club. I seem to remember having a 700 Club pin. But, that was another life, so this film was a trip down memory lane for me.

    What was interesting was the insight into the machinations of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. It is clear from the film that they have more love for themselves than they do for the god they profess to believe in. That is not surprising to me, but it will be revealing to others.

    Despite, her outrageous makeup, Tammy Faye comes off here as a genuinely warm and loving person. I was especially touched by her acceptance of gays and her comment that "God doesn't make junk."I wish other so-called "christians" would take note.

    A good documentary.
  • FilmOtaku14 July 2004
    A decent, fluffy documentary on a fluffy subject
    There's not a lot to say about The Eyes of Tammy Faye other than it is pretty entertaining in the way that People Magazine can be entertaining once in awhile. Watching her rise as the wife of an evangelist (their `hook' as it were, was to create a puppet show to spread the word of god, if it can be believed) and turning into a pervasive public icon was interesting, and the research was pretty decent. Unfortunately, I expected to watch this film and just shake my head and laugh, but this was hard to do since she seems to be just so damn `nice'. I found myself actually feeling sorry for her because behind this gruesome mask of cosmetics, she seems to actually be a pretty down to earth and nice person. The whole documentary has a camp feel to it, however, from the dog hand puppets announcing each `act' to the narration by RuPaul.

    I wouldn't say that this is a hard-hitting piece of investigative filmmaking in the slightest, but it is definitely a step above the standard celebrity profiles and biographies on television, and above all, fairly entertaining.

  • moonspinner5517 September 2005
    Not exactly a serious documentary--but Tammy Faye wouldn't want that anyway
    It's hard to pin down the tone of this documentary by filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato; there are some serious issues served up here rather hastily and quasi-comically, and too many wacky montages of the subject herself yukking it up/crying/being cute. Yet, this brief, fast-paced film is more than just filler, it surprisingly does have some resonance as well as a colorful star. Tammy Faye, born the eldest of eight children, married preacher Jim Bakker and eventually became Queen of the Christian Ministries. The couple's early beginnings are the most interesting, as is the fact they practically created tele-evangelism but were usurped in power time and again after getting a program off the ground. The marriage was bound to suffer, and the middle portion (the downfall and divorce which has been well-documented) isn't anything special. However, one may be unprepared for Tammy Faye's moxie in the third act--going to Hollywood as a solo for another shot or pitching herself to an indifferent TV executive. The most evocative moment comes when T.F. revisits Heritage U.S.A., a would-be Christian theme park, once Jim Bakker's dream and demon, now an abandoned circle of lawns and buildings. Tammy Faye has the wisdom to see how it represents everything of the rusty past, an era gone sour. Jerry Falwell makes for an intriguing villain of the piece, and there's an emotional yet light-hearted showdown between Tammy and a reporter who originally broke her Praise The Lord Ministries' misfortunes. I don't know if the two directors meant to mine such deep or meaningful moments from a woman many don't consider too deep or meaningful, but they got some fascinating bits and pieces on film. I just could've done without the montages; the theme here is worth more than a kissy-face collage.
  • Dalbert Pringle10 August 2014
    Tammy, The Whammy - Just A Small-Town Girl At Heart
    Favorite Tammy Faye quote - "I get so sick of this Hollywood crap."

    Surprise! Surprise!.... Initially, I was all set to despise Tammy Faye (and her Maybelline eyes) with the very same passion that I loathe Rob Zombie.

    But, as it turned out (regardless of Tammy being something of a flake, being someone who can cry on cue and, obviously, being on her very best behaviour for the duration of this documentary), I actually found her (to my astonishment) to be quite a sincere and, yes, likable woman who (unable to dodge the spotlight) had to tolerate a substantial amount of crap from the greed and dishonesty of the men in her life.

    Not only do I think that Tammy Faye's OK, but it also pleased me that this documentary's 2 producers/directors, Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato, didn't try to rake Tammy through the coals or grind her over-made-up face into the dirt. 'Cause, believe me, these 2 definitely had plenty of opportunity to do just that.

    Tammy was certainly one of those people who was more than ripe for a royal trashing. But, hey, had Bailey & Barbato taken that route with their prize subject, then I'm sure that she would've flatly refused to be a part of this challenging endeavour which (chronicling the highs & lows of her career) was both a fascinating study, as well as being a laughably twisted caricature.

    (Now, that's not to say that Bailey & Barbato didn't take whatever opportunity was available to them to inject enough heartfelt mockery and scorn into the underlying tone of this documentary)

    With the use of 2 annoying hand-puppets to introduce each segment of this vicious, soap opera passion-play, its crafty producers clearly let it be known how they viewed the rise & fall of TV Evangelist superstars, chronicling it as something of a sick and distasteful joke.

    I must applaud producers Bailey & Barbato for bringing to the forefront the clear hatred, the corruption, the fraudulence, the back-stabbing, and, the infighting that prevailed amongst these "Children of God" in the dog-eat-dog world of celebrity Christians.

    All-in-all - I consider The Eyes Of Tammy Faye to be both informative and highly entertaining at the same time.

    *Note* - 8 years following the release of this documentary, Tammy, who was diagnosed with colon cancer, closed her Maybelline eyes for the last time and never regained consciousness again. She was 65 years old.
  • jm107012 December 2013
    A fascinating movie about a fascinating, one-of-a-kind human being
    I expected this movie to be either a sensational, supermarket-tabloid, scandal-spewing freak show; or a cruel, cynical put-down - like an extended Saturday Night Live skit with her as the guest host, an unwitting stooge playing herself for ridicule. It's neither.

    I'm surprised and delighted to find that - far from being either sentimental or campy, or sensational, OR abusive - this movie treats Tammy Faye with the seriousness and respect she deserves. It approaches her as a person worth getting to know, and it proceeds to let us get to know her.

    It's a fascinating movie about a fascinating, one-of-a-kind human being. Underneath the (tattooed-on) makeup and behind the notoriety, she was - all along - a sweet, gentle, loving, extravagantly generous woman, eager to share God's love and (even more important) her OWN love with the whole wide messed-up world.

    She embraced gays - with AIDS – when AIDS was still new and terrifying, when all her "Christian" peers were preaching that we deserved what we got. She was never afraid of looking like a fool or of confronting her own and other people's flaws; and she never wallowed in resentment or self-pity - after her whole world imploded she got up and she got out and she DID.

    I thank the producers of this movie for showing her exactly as she was. The Christians who despise gays are no more hypocritical and evil than the secular people who despise Tammy Faye because she's different.

    She fits no stereotype, any more than I fit any stereotype of what a gay man should be. Even at the height of her success she was an outsider at heart, a misfit, an oddball. Just like me. But unlike me she was an open-hearted, inclusive, insanely compassionate and loving person. I admire her greatly, and I love her a lot.
  • oscar-3524 April 2013
    A film subject still relevant to people today.(2)
    Warning: Spoilers
    *Spoiler/plot- The Eyes of Tammy Faye, 2000. This film explores the rise and fall of Tammy Faye and her evangelism till her death.

    *Special Stars- Tammy Faye Bakker, Jim Bakker, the two Bakker kids, Jim J. Bullock.

    *Theme- Maybe there's something to spiritual karma.

    *Trivia/location/goofs- Documentary. Filmed at Palm Springs, Minnissota, the Carolinas. The film does not end with her death recently, only till her second husband got out of Federal prison at Boron, CA for federal banking charges.

    *Emotion- Since this subject matter was intimately connected to TV networking, I was interested in this film. I was not informed that the Bakkers had built THREE Christian TV networks and found that very amazing an effort on their part. But to learn of their mistakes and downfall, I only could feel pity for them. I don't believe they were bad vicious people, but got caught with bad vicious people that too advantage of their generosity and Christian openness. This is a well made and interesting film of a subject still relevant to people today.
  • earlytalkie12 March 2012
    An amazing portrait of an amazing human being
    I admit I knew almost nothing about Tammy Faye beyond the ridicule she suffered at the time of the Bakker's downfall. Here I was expecting to see a laugh-out-loud camp riot, and instead I found myself tearing up at the inner beauty of this woman and the injustices she suffered. I was vaguely aware of her talk show co-hosted by a gay man, but I had never seen it. Likewise, I was unaware of her very progressive attitude (for a televangalist) toward gays in general. Throughout all her troubles (and there were many) she maintained a cheery, upbeat attitude. She comes across as a caring, loving woman who transmitted a message of peace, love and piety toward her beliefs. She encompassed all that is right with the evangelists and little, if any that is wrong with them. This lovely film, narrated by RuPaul (!) paints an indelibly beautiful portrait of a truly lovable human being.
  • misce_mail16 February 2012
    This changed my view of Tammy Faye
    I wish more Christians were like her. The church would be a better place.

    I never knew what Jerry Falwell had done to them. I believe Tammy, and I disagree that Jim and Tammy were "cunning and manipulative". I think they genuinely thought they were doing something good with Heritage USA, but were not experienced in managing costs for the project. I also had no idea that they both helped the 700 Club to flourish and started TBN. Its an unfortunate lesson to all Christians that not everyone has the glory of God at heart when they do things, and that Christians are just as liable to stab you in the back as anyone.

    I'm a Christian, and while I ultimately aspire to be like Jesus, one of my earthly models is Tammy Faye.
  • movie-viking15 December 2008
    Unexpectedly kind - shows GRACE in Grotesqueness!
    As you can see from some reviews above, the late Tammy Faye is charming and her sincerity radiates thru despite her overdressed and over makeup-ed look. (NOTE: Parental advisory--see below.)

    The key probably is - She hugged and was kind to persons whose lifestyle choices were vastly different than hers.

    History note: In the early 1980's, having HIV was a death sentence. And persons (wrongly) thought AIDS could be easily transmitted. Thus, her hugs and kind words to friends, acquaintances (especially those with this dread disease) were exceptionally ahead of the curve.

    The history of the too lavish PTL club, and the mostly contemptuous media, the "hanging judge" for Jim Bakker who gave him an initial sentence (I think was 45 years??) which vastly exceeded the sentence some murders get i.e. 20 years, Falwell who brought it down, are full of excesses.The accusations and counter accusations are not settled here but are summarized.

    The Bakkers' PTL Club, started out from local church preaching and puppet shows,

    to a worldwide TV system, and then a grandiose Disney style theme park, came crashing down when then husband Jim Bakkers' past sexual encounter with another woman became public (And the excesses in this whole past mess were not the Bakkers' alone...) The old power struggle between the Bakkers and Jerry Falwell, the local Charlotte reporter (who does not answer on camera to Tammy's charges of false accusations), and of course - the Bakkers' opulent lifestyle - recalled to me the embarrassment I felt at that era.

    While I (then an administrative assistant) made a bigger 1980's salary than my Chicago small church minister (who had a couple kids), I heard people snickering over the lavish salary they thought all ministers/priests made. Not true - think "poor as a church mouse" here...!

    And the Christians' giving to all charities where the poor were fed, etc. dropped worldwide. (Christians historically have a high per capita giving record.)

    Fellow Christian Pat Boone (not a stranger to criticism - both just and silly - just see his IMDb page!!!) had a telling comment. He considered that Tammy Faye (like 1990's Presidential Wife Hillary Clinton) both were highly vilified women - mainly vilified, mocked, scorned for MAINLY their husbands' bad behaviors. He also said Christians were too hard on their own wounded.

    I suspect this unexpectedly kind film (from over a year of footage where she allowed them to film her but where she had NO editorial control) was kind to Tammy Faye because Tammy Faye demonstrated her genuine love for the persons following her around with the camera.

    NOTE: PARENTAL ADVISORY explicit pornographic footage from the Playboy video done of Jessica Hahn as well as verbal description of a sexual device are included.

    Perhaps Tammy Faye did not get totally roasted, maligned, misrepresented but got treated with fairly even respect here - because she showed the grace of God and was KIND...in her imperfect yet sincere way.
  • raysond19 September 2000
    Well produced Documentary--on her side of the story
    Anyone who has been associated with christianity's version of a three ring circus back in the late 1970's and throughout the 1980's or was a member of the PTL club(Praise The Lord),and also other religious shows of that nature like Jimmy Swaggart,and Pat Robertson,and also Oral Roberts,were influences of Jim Bakker and the rise and fall of the gospel empire that was to be the center of all activities,but it wasn't so. This film tells her side of the story,from the rise of the empire that she and her husband Jim built,to the crumbling marriage,and the resurrection of her own life after the scandal that shocked America and the bible belt of the South. This was a film that told about the person herself,and also one of the most colorful personalities ever.
  • jasonbaker20009 August 2000
    Wanted: One seeing-eye dog to help find this film's direction
    I just attended a preview screening of this film. A masterpiece of documentary film-making it was not. Totally absorbed with its subject, the film becomes incapable of leveling any sort of critical commentary with regard to Ms. Faye. Cloying and sappy, the only redeeming quality of the film was its use of puppets in an attempt (albeit a failed one) to structure some kind of narrative. But the creepiest experience occurred as the closing credits rolled. The audience rose and applauded. Like moths to flame, Americans in the 21st Century are still drawn to freakshows. The narrative of the misunderstood monster is getting rather tired.
  • memfree1 August 2000
    a big Amen! for kitsch
    This documentary attempts comedy, but never quite gets there for me. Camp? Ehn, maybe. The more apt word that everyone will agree on -- and have a hard time avoiding in any review -- is kitsch. It dripped kitsch. It was as if the film makers had worried their viewers would take the movie too seriously, and so they bent over backwards to insert kitsch and proclaim, "We're joking around here! See???"

    In short, I felt it was trying too hard. For example, the sock puppets that introduced each scene were (to me) annoying when I'm sure they were meant to be amusing -- or at least (ahem) kitsch-ey.

    Do not, however, avoid this movie based on my complaints. Just be ready to revel in kitsch rather than having it thrust at you unprepared. If you're interested in lighthearted fare, you could do far, far worse. At the very least, the facts surrounding the rise and fall of the Bakers make this interesting and worth a view. At best, gaggles of like minded kitsch lovers will hoot and holler over choice bits throughout the film.
  • MartinHafer22 March 2011
    Like a slow-motion train wreck...you can't stop watching....
    This is a documentary about Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (with a strong emphasis on Tammy)--two individuals that practically defy description. If you aren't old enough to remember them, ask your parents or some other old fogy--there just isn't enough room in my review to adequately explain who these freaks were, so you should watch the documentary to get SOME idea of this. But be forewarned that much of what you hear and see in the film is through the words of the Bakkers and their few current supporters--particularly Tammy Faye. There is no counter-point to their rants. And, since the Bakkers are/were sociopathic narcissists, much of it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In other words, the film is not THE definitive history of this sick family but Tammy's version. So, in the documentary, she and her family are often portrayed as victims and the film really does not attempt to discern the truth. The film simply allows this goofy woman to vent, blame others and get attention (which she so desperately craved).

    This brings me to one problem with the film. Who is the audience? If you want the full story, this is far from complete. If you are easily offended (particularly evangelical Christians), you definitely might want to think twice about watching because there are some nude shots of Jessica Hahn sprinkled throughout the film. However, if you are in the mental health field or law enforcement, it is VERY interesting because you get to see bad people who have absolutely no sense of shame--none. Tammy Faye lived high on the hog for years thanks to her family's pyramid schemes with their 'ministry'--yet blames EVERYONE but herself or her slimy ex-husband, Jim, for their troubles. THIS is fascinating--especially since she had no shame and her focus seemed to be 'look at me-look at me'--a true antisocial-narcissist...as well as very sad, contemptible and pathetic person. Also, Tammy Faye, oddly has become a huge icon in the gay community, so gay men appear to be a target audience for the film and may enjoy the film. Why this is the case, I really not sure--and it may just be a stereotype. All my gay friends just seem too smart to be fans of the Bakkers.

    So how well does the film do in telling the story? Well, aside from the unnecessary nudity that will definitely put off some, it was engaging and well made--like a slow-motion train wreck that you can't stop watching. The little hand puppets also helped break the tension and bring a lightness to the film that many will appreciate. I wonder, though, if there is another documentary out there that takes a different focus on Bakker tragedy--one that tries to give a more objective slant on things for the uninitiated.

    By the way, the film ended in 2000. Tammy Faye died from cancer a few years after this--otherwise I am pretty sure we'd be STILL watching her on TV some place today--ANY place willing to give her an audience.

    Also, one thing about the film I did feel uncomfortable about was its treatment of Jerry Falwell. While he was not my favorite person, to allow the Bakkers to trash him and blame him for ALL their problems without challenging this in any way seemed a bit cheesy. The film did mention that they asked Falwell for comment and he declined, but this all just seemed like a cheap shot. It's fair to attack Falwell for what he specifically said or did but don't let criminals and screwballs lead the charge!
  • roig2731 December 2007
    This is an excellent film. Every body should watch it. Tammy Faye as herself is Dumbo as Mercury - like champions of Queens. As company I enjoyed popcorn and Pepsi. She seems to be a "tour de force" - real as an actress, intelligent as a "situationalist". Her deep love of performance, of creation, of art, expresses itself in this colorful panorama of enjoyment. Although her cast, Rupaul et al, act their lines in frame with their agenda, Tammy Faye seems to exceed the bet as a player: a pro-active Herculean gesture by an established reader of religious texts. The tittle is magnificent, poetic, mesmerizing. The eyes of Tammy Faye is an oxygen bubble in your sleep, a fantasy of comedy materialized in these intelligent acrobats of glosa-flower-dressing (to explain art) and serious engagement with creation. The film is also a statement on liberty and the plethora of fun and life that can be extrapolated from, what Roland Barthes called, the "pleasure of the text", "le plaisir du text". An original that no body should miss.
  • flyingwong16 April 2006
    A real amazing humanizing doc of a woman who you may have written off already
    I think any documentary that can take someone who who has become such a one liner by comedians and written off by most Americans as a freak and make her multi dimensional, fascinating and compassionate has done it's job well. This is a very revealing and intimate look at a woman who most people never consider as being quite an amazing woman. At one point she gets compared to Hilary Clinton-- yes, it's a stretch, but both of them have been so publicly berated and were under intense public scrutiny and criticism because of the action of their husbands.

    There is also some very strange/odd footage of jim and tammy's early days of evangelical TV broadcasting. It's pretty unintentionally funny.

    the only thing i could have done without were the puppet interstitials which I think were a little too mocking of tammy. every time they came on i was like, "What the f?" but i guess if i find myself critical of a doc for subtley mocking tammy faye baker, then its succeeded!
  • soutexmex29 November 2002
    We Hardly Knew Ya!
    I cannot believe I am giving this such a good review considering that I have such a grudge against Conservative Christians, but I don't think that really plays into the midset of this documentary because we really get to learn about her and her foibles and tragedies. This is a flesh and blood person, not the TV personae that is always trotted out to the media. Now what I would really like to see is a warts-n-all telling of the Jerry Falwell story. I would like to get his "spin" on these events. I believe, like Supermodels, TV evangelists are a product of their time. Americans have become cynical of their exploits and true ambitions. In the end, I believe Tammy Faye will be remembered by not what she did but how she reached out, moved beyond the public personality, came back down to earth.
  • Eight Two6 September 2000
    Little Big Epic
    Much like 1997's "Boogie Nights", "The Eyes Of Tammy Faye" deals with the rise and fall of a well-intentioned protaganist and the glitzy, overindulgent world that brought them down hard. But where "Boogie Nights" was a huge, cinematic, sprawling work, "The Eyes Of Tammy Faye" is a little movie who's tone and mood outsize its aspect ratio. This, however, plays to its advantage.

    The life story of Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner is straight melodrama. Small town girl makes good. She meets Jim Bakker, they pay their dues in the early years of serious Christian television programming, and ultimately, attain a kind of success that most people should never know: a success so blindingly unconditional that no error need be noted until it's too late. Eventually, as these people get their come-uppance for their sins, their world not only falls apart, but they do too.

    The film (narrarated by RuPaul) gives us a lighthearted, non-judgmental look at Tammy Faye, and while it is a story worth being told, one often feels like they've seen it before. Filled with the same kind of MTV-inspired edited (lots of information thrown at you as quickly and as often as possible), it is a carbon copy of every "E! True Hollywood Story" in existence. And that's how it seems the directors (Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato) want it. Scored at times with epic, Carmina Burana-type thunder songs, the movie (which features mockingly wholesome puppets doing chapter stops) nearly bursts at the seams with points and counterpoints. Right down to the censoring of profanity, it feels like it was made for television. It is a very well done cinematic manifesto by which Tammy Faye can plead her case into immortality. But other than its downsized big-ness, it's big flaw is that it spends *too* much time trying to immortalize Tammy Faye as if we weren't already sympathetic. They relentlessly tug on our heart strings, and the audience is laughing so hard from a funny sequence that they are too busy to notice.
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