Eyes Of Tammy Faye

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye

5.0 1
Director: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tammy Faye Messner, RuPaul

Cast: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tammy Faye Messner, RuPaul


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RuPaul narrates this affectionate look at everyone's favorite televangelist/living cosmetic display: Tammy Faye Bakker. The eldest of eight children in rural Minnesota, Tammy Faye married Jim Bakker in 1960, and soon they found a following on the gospel circuit. This eventually led to a gig on Christian media mogul Pat Robertson's first television shows, including the


RuPaul narrates this affectionate look at everyone's favorite televangelist/living cosmetic display: Tammy Faye Bakker. The eldest of eight children in rural Minnesota, Tammy Faye married Jim Bakker in 1960, and soon they found a following on the gospel circuit. This eventually led to a gig on Christian media mogul Pat Robertson's first television shows, including the ever-popular 700 Club. Perhaps jealous of their rising profile, Robertson soon usurped the show for himself. The Bakkers went on to co-found the Trinity Broadcasting Network, until that too was wrestled away from them by investors. Riding a tide of religious fundamentalism, the Bakkers reached their gaudy heights with the PTL Network and the spinoff Christian theme park Heritage USA. Then the roof caved in. Jim was forced to pay hush money to future Playboy centerfold model Jessica Hahn and then was submitted to rival Jerry Falwell's hostile take-over of the network. Soon Jim was in jail for fraud, and Tammy was at Betty Ford for addiction to prescription drugs. This film was screened at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
This rapturous documentary charts the path of former evangelist icon Tammy Faye (formerly Bakker), from her days as queen of the PTL (Praise the Lord) Ministry to her fall from grace and subsequent drug addiction to her relative exile. Codirectors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato start their devotional film by showing the woman today, living quietly in the same Palm Desert house that she escaped to with Reverend Jim Bakker in 1987. Her shoulders thickly padded and her face masked by a thick cosmetic shield ("...eyelashes one-by-one, mascara, eyebrow pencil," she recites as if a litany), Bakker reintroduces herself to us by reading sad verse and making fairly creepy comments about collecting the glasses of dead friends and relatives. Soon, the constants in her life are established -- puppets, Jesus, toy dogs, and eyelash glue -- and we quickly realize these passions are just as human as anyone else's. Stopping well short of ridiculing their subject, Bailey and Barbato paint Faye as a surprisingly earnest figure who has supported people often rebuffed by some fundamentalist Christian groups, including AIDS victims and drug abusers. As kooky as she seems, and as easily lampooned as she may be, Tammy Faye is treated with love by these filmmakers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Eyes's second half, a day-in-the-life of her post-PTL-scandal recovery period. Somehow, The Eyes of Tammy Faye manages to be as fascinating (and far less smug) than most viewers would probably expect.
All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
The Eyes of Tammy Faye offers an unusual mixture of Horatio Alger fable and traffic-accident gawk-fest. The story of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner's life is so "American dream" in its arc, yet so unlikely in its details, that fans of Dolly Parton, Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton, and Judy Garland alike should find some kind of resonance in the tales of her ups and downs. Needless to say, producers/directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato don't have to try hard to keep their snapshot vibrant. They just let the puppeteer/singer/spiritual leader be Tammy Faye for 80 minutes and keep their cameras rolling. The intertitles add color -- how can you not love sock-puppets swathed in shadows who utter phrases like "Into the lion's den...roar!" with real feeling? Yet even this kitsch detail has a dark edge to it -- just like the life of the lady herself. Messner appears on camera pitching talk show ideas to jaded network executives, discussing her makeup secrets, and picking up her new husband from prison after he's released -- all without a single hint of irony or shame. And she cries a lot. Oh, how she cries. The filmmakers intersperse old TV footage with present-day interviews and live-action footage, while drag superstar RuPaul Charles narrates respectfully and unobtrusively. Audiences may well find themselves speaking of poor, triumphant Tammy with a little more respect in their voices after they've seen this utterly entertaining piece of propaganda.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
[Surround Sound]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tammy Faye Messner Participant
RuPaul Narrator
Roe Messner Participant
Jim Bakker Participant
Jamie Baker Participant
Mel White Participant
Pat Boone Participant
Tammy Sue Bakker-Chapman Participant
Steven Chao Participant
Jim J. Bullock Participant
Roseanne Participant
Greg Gorman Participant
Charles Sheperd Participant
James Albert Participant
Jerry Falwell Participant
Pat Robertson Participant

Technical Credits
Fenton Bailey Director,Producer
Randy Barbato Director,Producer
Sandra Chandler Cinematographer
Jimmy Harry Score Composer
John Hoffman Producer
Sheila Nevins Executive Producer
Gabriel Rotello Associate Producer
Thairin Smothers Associate Producer
Paul Wiesepape Editor


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The Eyes Of Tammy Faye 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'I think the eyes are so important. I believe they are truly the windows of the soul,' says Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner. Since Tammy Faye wears a mask of make-up, including her cherished L'Oreal Waterproof Lash Out Mascara, one finds a soul once you move beyond her eyelashes. Her soul is apparent along with her faith. Twelve years after the dramatic collapse of the Christian empire of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' tells, for the first time, what really happened. Tammy Faye Bakker explains what really happened to her and her husband when they lost control of the first and most successful television ministry of its kind. PTL was the first network to launch its own satellite - 'broadcasting 24 hours a day until the Second Coming', and the first - and only - to build a theme park, a huge Disney style Christian retreat that Jim built from donations from his loyal viewers. It was called Heritage USA. It's attendance was behind Disneyland and Disney World. Their fall was as spectacular as their rise. It was the biggest scandal of its day, and one of the big crashes of the late 1980s. The Bakkers found themselves crucified in the court of public opinion for their greed and supposed corruption. Tammy Faye ended up at the Betty Ford Clinic, and Jim was imprisoned. 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' explores the dark workings of the televangelist industry and shows how Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were tricked out of their ministry by rival televangelist Jerry Falwell, leader of the moral majority. Falwell, it is claimed, promised help and support, then denounced them, staged a coup, and needlessly forced their ministry into bankruptcy. From the trailer and teaser, I thought 'The Eye's of Tammy Faye' would be humorous and poke constant fun at Tammy Faye. To the contrary, I wasn't sure if it was a documentary or not. According to Fenton Bailey, director of 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye,' 'Well no documentary is objective; the notion of 'fly on the wall' filmmaking is a contrived pretense because it is a scientific fact that the moment one observes something, the thing that is observed changes. Once you put a camera in the room, the room changes. The camera is less a fly on a wall than it is an elephant in a room, and anyone who pretends or acts as if a camera is not there is doing just that; they are pretending and acting. Therefore the very notion of objective filmmaking is a nonsense. Especially when you get into an edit room and start cutting because then - like it or not- a point of view is determining what is excluded and what is included.' 'Most award winning documentarians have a definite agenda, and/or point of view, this is rarely challenged because their agenda or point of view aligns with the politically correct opinions of their audience and their critics,' explained Bailey. 'This is perhaps, where we have failed and hopefully we will continue for the rest of our careers.' Besides her eyelashes and make up (which most of it is permanently tattooed on), Tammy Faye's faith is the makeup of her life. If more so-called Christians would follow the scripture in Luke 6:37 like Tammy Faye, 'Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others you will be forgiven,' we would have a truly spiritually diverse world. Tammy Faye shares with the audience her favorite scripture, which is Psalm 91. 'Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor feel the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague of the day, nor dread the plague