There's truth, and then there's Errol Morris


on July 13, 2011 by Sara Vizcarrondo

tabloidreview.pngErrol Morris' newest documentary, Tabloid, gives a tawdry subject even tawdrier presentation, and proves evil and banality both love a spin in the media machine. Morris made a name for himself in 1988 with The Thin Blue Line by controversially using dramatic re-enactments to depict a police shooting from 1976. His then out-of-fashion technique offended those who argue that documentary should present an unadulterated cinematic and historical Truth; still, he freed an innocent man from Death Row. Since then his techniques have gone from questionable to common docu-parlance. Tabloid sidesteps re-enactment but, exploring a case also rooted in the late 1970sthis one dubbed "The Case of the Manacled Mormon" by the British tabloidshas its way with the notion of accurate reporting. It's a real-life drama spun into supermarket gossip, then spun again by Morris into a story of scandal, snide asides and exhibitionism. Morris doesn't name villains but he'll be damned if you can name a hero. Gripping, offensive and bewildering, Tabloid is a mean-spirited masterpiece. Given the Morris brand, numbers will be comparatively fantastic for this low budget documentary. Exhibitors have but to advertise.

Ex-pageant queen Joyce McKinney fell in love with Kirk Anderson in college. Though he loved her back (at least, according to her), his Mormon family opposed his plan to wed outside the church and sent him to England to separate the two. McKinney tracked Anderson abroad and using male accomplices literally stole him away for a weekend of extensive and fraught deflowering. Anderson wouldn't be interviewed, but McKinney claims then and now that the couple "made" relentless "love" of dubious consent that involved prayer, deep bonding and spread-eagle bondage so he could passively absolve himself of their lust. Guilt ridden, Anderson went back to his church and family and McKinney became the center of a tabloid maelstrom that revealed her true calling as media magnet. Her charisma even enslaved the British journalists whose attempts at uncovering the truth got tangled in her long blond hair. The result was a drama so chameleon-like it couldn't be confined to the pages of any one ragand even Morris seems to wrestle with bending it into shape, taking detours into everything from Mormon sacred underwear to Korean pitbull cloning. That last bit you had to expect just a little ... Tabloid was made by the man who introduced us to Vernon, Florida, the pathos of pet cemeteries and Raymond Mendez, naked mole-rat specialist.

Morris' adversarial relationship with the conventions of documentary always plays a clever role in his films. I wish I could say he takes a lot from the trash pop docs on cable, but in reality, he's the one those trash docs mimic. Here, Morris dices fake newspaper headlines to look like hostage notes and drops scrapbook style picture frames on snapshots that could amount to character assassination, if you took them at face value. Tabloid owes a lot to the conflict of religion and sex (and how the media exploits its taboo sacredness for its own gain) but it's also an underhanded treatise on consent, a subject Tabloid proves is under constant revision. Was McKinney a rapist or a romantic? (She dismisses the accusation of rape, saying it'd be "like putting a marshmallow in a parking meter.") What Morris believes is uncertain. What's sure is the fabrication required to represent this dodgy story and the conditional compliance of the film's subject. Morris takes McKenna for a ride she herself condoneseven in the '70s, she played along and posed for cheesecake shots for the Brit papers. Records of McKinney's boycotting the film and declaring Tabloid's misrepresentation stand as fitting anti-promotion for a film that takes pains to expose every level of fact only to question even the existence of Facts. Entertainers always entertain at a price, and my money says McKinney knows that better than anyone.

Distributor: IFC Films
Director: Errol Morris
Genre: Documentary
Rating: R for sexual content and nudity.
Running time: 87 min.
Release date: July 15 ltd.



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1 Comment

  • truthteller on 28 July 2011

    Sara--Tabloid is NOT the TRUE Joyce McKInney story! Joyce was never even charged with "raping a Mormon". Morris maliciously slanders her and deliberately omits any evidence which proves Joyce was innocent, including an important COURT DOCUMENT: a HACKED phone conversation between her and Kirk where some corrupt coppers in collusion with the Mormons and CASH PAYING tabloids illegally tape recorded Joyce and Kirk's telephone conversation in 1977-- and the transcript of this PROVES her innocence, hyet Morris deliberately LEFT IT OUT!! This poor woman has suffered at the hands of the cunning jerk Morris who pretended to be "doing a TV series with Showtime Network for a program on Paparazzi and how it destroys peoples privacy" to trick Joyce into giving him footage for this defamatory film sladnering her. While Morris interviewed Joyce for the NON- EXISTENT TV series, his cronies ransacked her luggage and STOLE two film treatments she had written, her mother's baby pictures of her, her father's home moives, and a memorabilia collection of pictures documenting her famous love story/CULT RESCUE saga (which she waded through hurricane flood waters to rescue because they meant so much to her and she wanted to use them in her memoirs when she turned sixty). ERROL MORRIS is directly connected to a British tabloid which bribed Joyce's dog walker and a drug addict needing dope money to break into her apartment back in 1978 to steal photos for a British tabloid who schemed with Morris to slander Joyce and discredit her [and SUBJUDICE illegally her carrying away case that Mormon cultists had lodged falsely against her, and the government chose not to pursue THAT "piffling matter", much to the dismay of the Mormons, who then continued to use thier media connections to spread the kidnap rape PRESS HOAX for 34 years!] Also, Joyce was NEVER charged with "rape". That is a malicous LIE the Mormon PR machine --and Mormon cultists--have been spreading for years to discredit Joyce who spoke out in the seventies against Mormon brainwashing and mind control of her beloved fiance, and she also spoke out against the Mormons' human rights abuses of minority groups (blacks, women, gays, etc) as well as exposing their NON Biblical doctrine and phony false prophets. (Joyce was raised in a devout Christian family. Kirk's family were all members of the Mormon cult and wanted him to marry another cultist in the bizarre Mormon Temple Ritual--with its strange Blood Oaths and secret hand shakes. [SEE the video THE GODMAKERS, obtainable from Saints AlIve in Jesus out of Washington State, and the book THE GODMAKERS by Ed Deker.) There is so much more to Joyce McKinney's story than the sick garbage in Morris perverted "Porno-Doc". IF you would like to interview Joyce and find out the truth, call her manager at 718-406-1089. And by the way, she is going to sue Errol Morris for fifty million dollars plus, for the emotional trauma that twisted film caused her and her family--especially her mother who now lies dying in a coma from a suicide attempt, and on life support!! As well as certain journalists who have slandered her by printing that she "kidnapped and raped" a Mormon: How could anyone be stupid enough to actually believe that a blonde former Miss Wyoming had to fly to England to get sex, or that she had to rape a man there because none were available in America? Morris Mormon-tabloid story is so silly, yet Morris manipulates the audience's mind over to the Mormon/tabloid point of view and makes THEM appear to be telling the truth, while making Joyce out as a LIAR, when in Reality it is JOYCE who is telling the Truth and the tabloids and Mormons cultists who are lying. All the Mormons care about is discrediting her (and covering up the love tryst one of their street recruiters (her fiance) had with her. And Morris even has a UTAH distributor so everyone is wondering: "Is Mormon Money behind this celluloid catastrophe?" It is so disgusting the way that Morris takes filthy sex ads out of perverted sex papers, and flashes them by REAL QUICKLY TO DECEIVE AND MANIPULATE THE AUDIENCE with wording that makes the audience think the women in those ads are JOYCE and that she was a loose moraled "whore". But if you SLOW THE FILM DOWN and LOOK CLOSELY you will find that Morris was deliberately DECEPTIVE and that the women in those ads are NOT EVEN JOYCE! Morris is going to be SUED for slander, false light, misapropriation of name picture and likeness, and the police may charge his producer who stole her valuable memorabilia collection, with Grand Theft and them all with Criminal Fraud as well as Criminal Libel, for which they can all be jailed. More is coming on this one girlfriend! Call if you want to follow up....

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