A fascinating true story filled with glitz, camp and gambling

PRAISE the lord! Here’s a film revealing the glitz, gambling and tawdry behaviour behind the fascinating world of religious fraud.

It is a true-life tale of Jim (Andrew Garfield) and Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain) — dubbed the “Ken and Barbie of televangelism”.

Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain star as the ‘Ken and Barbie of televangelism’ Jim and Tammy Faye BakkerCredit: Alamy

The film follows the pair, who met at Bible College, through the Seventies and Eighties when they became household names in America, even working on Presidential campaigns.

And then to the Nineties, when it all comes crashing down.

Her parents having divorced, Tammy Faye was seen by the family as a reminder of her mother’s sins.

But the church gives her security. A young Tammy Faye is seen speaking in tongues after being blessed by a preacher.

She vows to devote her life to God from that day.

However, she refuses to conform to the uptight religious image. Her early love of make-up leads to her bible studies teacher dubbing her a “harlot” in front of classmates.

This doesn’t stop the ever-chirpy Tammy Faye, though. She wants to sing God’s message to people, and nothing will stop her. She tells Jim: “I just want to love people.”

After a few dates with Jim — and a strong desire not to break God’s will by sleeping with him out of wedlock — the pair marry.

They decide to spread the word of the Lord around the country via children, with the help of some homemade hand puppets.

Such is their appeal, they get their own daily morning show, have hit records and become superstars.

While Tammy Faye is singing, Jim is signing deal after deal — and spending like a lottery winner. The pair are soon living a life that looks like Liberace’s, declaring: “God does not want us to be poor!”

Garfield is, as ever, excellent and does his best to explore a character that could do with more digging in this biopic.

Chastain’s performance is Oscar worthy. As her make-up gets heavier and the obscene-level decadence grows around her, her often unnerving level of innocence remains.

It’s not an easy trick to pull off, but Chastain does it.

Like biopics such as I, Tonya and Behind The Candelabra, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye is an education in a story I knew little about, while being camp, funny and wildly entertaining.

Let us pray for more like it.

THERE’S no fool like an old fool – which is proved by the now 50-something members of Jackass.

Twenty-two years on from the start of the MTV cult series, Johnny Knoxville and his crazy crew are once again relentlessly kicking each other in the balls.

The Jackass crew are older but definitely not wiser in Jackass Forever

The Jackass crew are older but definitely not wiser in Jackass ForeverCredit: Alamy

Sticking very much to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” rule of entertainment, the lovable idiots happily throw themselves into the usual sort of near-death antics.

These include getting fired out of cannons, having deadly spiders crawl on to their faces, bees on their genitals and being constantly electrocuted.

As a big fan of the original series, I miss Bam Margera and his hilarious parents Phil and April in the movie, and crew member Ryan Dunn, who died in a car crash a decade ago.

Knoxville still has the charisma to lead the gang, but with new younger members and less creativity, the jokes feel a little one note in comparison to the old days.

However, they are still amusing and almost a little comforting.

In an age where we’re cautious about using the wrong pronouns, it’s nice just to watch a bunch of grown men kicking each other in the privates because they want to.

AT first glance this has all the hallmarks of an entertaining comedy crime caper for the older generation.

Sadly, at the second and third, it becomes a lot less.

Never Too Late stars James Cromwell and Zachary Wan

Never Too Late stars James Cromwell and Zachary WanCredit: Alamy

Fifty years have passed since US Vietnam veteran Jack Bronson (James Cromwell) laid eyes on the love of his life – a nurse named Norma (Jacki Weaver) – and he is full of regret.

Jack tracks her down to Hogan Hills retirement home in Australia, where he becomes a resident by faking a stroke.

But Norma, who has the onset of dementia, is transferred to another home the same day.

By pure coincidence Jack’s old special forces unit, AKA The Chainbreakers – Jeremiah (Dennis Waterman), James (Roy Billing) and Angus (Jack Thompson) – are also living in the care home.

The geriatric A-team recruit Elliot (Zachary Wan) — the teenage son of one of their care workers — and head off on one last mission to quash their regrets and prove they’ve still got grit.

Director Mark Lamprell’s story has more holes than a colander.

But it does carry some sweet moments and fans of a dad (or grandad) joke are in for the odd titter.

But it’s never too late to watch something else.


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