Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his take on The Eyes of Tammy Faye and season two of The Morning Show on AppleTV+.
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (in theaters)
Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were larger than life personalities who spread their ministry to millions of people every day. The new film The Eyes of Tammy Faye shines a light on the rise and fall of the televangelists. Tammy Faye always had this fascination with Jesus in hopes of being saved. Jessica Chastain plays Tammy Faye throughout the decades the film covers. She would meet her husband Jim, played by Andrew Garfield, at Central Bible College in Minneapolis in1960. Tammy Faye was enamored with him. He loved her bubbly, outgoing personality. They got married despite her parents’ hesitations and traveled the country spreading God’s word. Tammy had puppet shows, while Jim spoke to the adult crowd. Nothing could stop their ministry as Jim and Tammy Faye would create a TV series and Praise the Lord Studios. As fame, notoriety, a Presidential endorsement, and even a theme park came, all eyes were on them. The media started to suspect foul play questioning where their money was going.
The film is based on the documentary of the same name and directed by Michael Showalter. The structure of the film very much follows that rollercoaster rise and fall from grace approach. It’s not a complete full life story, but it certainly covers a lot of ground in their life and work.
Greed and power certainly drive Jim to unethical behavior. The film quietly evolves into us feeling sympathetic for Tammy Faye. She truly loved everyone. She had an open heart and soul and Jessica Chastain knows that and brings that out in her performance.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a fascinating watch like a train wreck waiting to happen. There’s an adjustment factor in how this story is executed under Showalter’s direction. He’s quick to set up their questionable brand and outward appearances but then he doesn’t lose sight of the identity of who Tammy Faye was to herself and her fans.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
THE MORNING SHOW Season 2 (AppleTV+)
The Morning Show became a huge hit for AppleTV+ The first season ended on a cliffhanger, and the second season picks up eight months after the fallout of Alex and Bradley’s big announcement on “The Morning Show” Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon continue to thrive in these richly complicated characters who find themselves in very different professional headspace. Steve Carell is also back as Mitch Kessler who is living a reclusive, quiet life. The first episode takes place New Year’s Eve 2019 heading into 2020. It’s a big night for Bradley and UBA anchor Eric as they host the Time Square ball drop. What they don’t realize yet are big changes coming ahead thanks to network head Cory, the 2020 election, and a little thing called the Coronavirus.
The second season started production before the pandemic but was shut down like every other series. It’s apparent the writers went back and rewrote good portions of the story as this season directly involves what happened to the world in 2020 with the election, the pandemic, race relations, cancel culture and more. Audiences will either want to tune in to see how a fictional news show deals with these topics or they may be turned off as they don’t want to relive the traumatic events of the last year.
The first two episodes ease the audience back into this world and these juicy characters played to perfection by this ensemble. Episode three brings in the messy, ruthless world of UBA that we love to watch.
Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell continue to showcase their strengths for heightened drama. It’s some of the best work the three of them have done in their career. Bradley and Alex are not best friends, and Witherspoon and Aniston create thick tension between the two of them.
The Morning Show has an extensive cast covering the complex personalities and beliefs of a news program and its network. It may seem like the cast is too big, but the writers have managed to give many of them rich storylines and moments to shine. It gives viewers the chance to discuss these real-life topics and see them from various angles.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
Paul’s Quick Hot Takes
- Candyman – A Must See!
- The Card Counter – See.
- Cinderella – HARD PASS.