Where I Watched it: Hulu
English Audio Description Provided By: Point 360
Narrated By: Tanzi Alexander
Remember Jerry falwell Jr.? The scandal that brought down the head of Liberty University? Well, this is a documentary about that, but produced by Adam McKay, so it can’t just be a documentary about that. it has to be broad as hell.
One of the things that works really well is that God Forbid creates a safe, credible environment for Giancarlo (the third man in that holy sandwich) to come forward and tell his story, in a reinforced and straight forward manner. If anything, this documentary succeeds on allowing someone who becomes a punchline the opportunity to have their voice heard as part of a contributing force in a larger conversation, instead of as some derelict that is an easy target for those looking to crack a joke.It seems as though nothing is off the table, and even he is able to reflect back on some of the decisions he wish he had made differently, even if he understands why he made them.
And the documentary is still fine when it decides to explore the Falwell’s a bit more, since they are really the other side of this story. So learning more about jerry and his wife, their relationship, how Jerry jr rose to power coming out of his father’s prominence among evangelical Christian’s. It explains how he got to where he was at the time of this affair, on top of the world at Liberty University, and then we start going off into some tangents.
That’s when Tom Arnold shows up. I’d love to say I’m fucking with you, but I’m not. Tom Arnold was on his own quest, and his happened to intersect with what was happening in this project, so they bring in his conversations with Michael Cohen. Which, of course, leads to Trump. now, I’ve watched this damn thing, and I gotta say, I don’t like the guy either, but the amount of time spent on Trump, who is connected in this weird tangent is the weakest part of this documentary.
This documentary is about two people who claim to be the moral compass of Christianity, who head a private Christian college, who went on for a long time in a relationship with a young man they essentially met when he was a pool boy. Yes, Giancarlo benefitted from favors and connections, but I didn’t see the Trump connection being one of them. It seems like we just want to include him because people who likely would watch this would also dislike Trump, which is just not the reason to go there. It’s unnecessary, and it muddies the waters of the truth they are really seeking to unfold.
I mean, we even have this section of the Trump portion that explains his campaign like this film has been made for someone who lived under a rock, or with some grandiose attitude that 50 years from now this will still be relevant, and people will be seeking out this information from this Hulu doc. Either way, it’s a waste of time. I’m a like minded individual, in that I’d watch a whole documentary just about the nonsense of Trump, but I signed up for something different here, and Trump isn’t some Easter egg you crack open in any film just to draw more attention.
As far as the audio description, this is a talking head movie, and i really forgot at times this had audio description. There aren’t much visuals, and Alexander isn’t focused on letting us know who is talking. it was very odd to find out that Tom Arnold was involved, because it made me wonder if he had been talking before, and i ust missed it. I think if we are going to continue to offer audio descriptions for Talking Head Documentaries, we need to shift the priority to identifying who is talking. Even if it interrupts a bit of dialogue, it can go a long way to know who this person is, what their relationship is to the topic at hand, and why their viewpoint is relevant.
There’s a lot to like about God Forbid, they just shouldn’t have taken the Trump bait. It’s too easy, and this film was strong enough on its own without it.For once, including him here actually diminished the result.
Final Grade: B+