3 Docs to Watch For: A Disgraced Governor, the Hot Bard of New Jersey and Steamy Mormon Sex
The problem with covering film festivals is that the things you have to see so often conflict with the things you want to see; bits of the latter have to be stuffed into the corners of the usual crazed festival going. There's also the problem of making choices: The other day a new acquaintance tempted me, like a cartoon devil on my shoulder, to check out a Mexican film, Leap Year, that supposedly had, she said, "Lots of explicit sex." Count me in! But after checking my schedule, I realized that if I went to see that, I'd miss the Alex Gibney documentary on Eliot Spitzer, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, which I was extremely curious about.
Dear reader, you'll be pleased (I hope!) to know that I turned down hot Mexican sex in favor of political intrigue, betrayal and heartbreak. OK, there's a little bit of sex mixed in there too. And I'm glad I did. But first, a few words about another documentary here at the festival, Errol Morris's Tabloid, which tells the wild and weird tale of Joyce McKinney, a onetime beauty queen who, in 1977, trekked from Utah to London to kidnap her Mormon boyfriend, who'd been sent there as a missionary. The account of what actually happened varies depending on who's telling the story, but by piecing together interviews with UK newspaper gossip columnists and photo editors, Mormon experts and McKinney herself -- a pleasant-looking, moon-faced woman who's clearly bonkers -- Morris lays out the basics: McKinney, hoping to rescue her beloved from the clutches of his nutso, controlling religion, enlisted a friend to help her snatch him away from the Mormon temple where he was stationed, possibly knocking him out with chloroform. She then whisked him off to a cottage in Devon, chained him to the bed and made mad, passionate love to him. It's not clear whether the beloved -- a guy named Kirk Anderson -- went along with this scheme or was forced against his will, but McKinney was nonetheless arrested and charged with kidnapping. She subsequently jumped bail and fled to the United States, and more scandal -- involving prostitution and kinky sex -- followed.
The UK press had a field day with the "Mormon sex in chains" case, and Morris casts a mischievous eye over the whole affair. Tabloid is minor Morris, but the picture is fascinating and hugely entertaining. McKinney is a strange one, all right. She beams beatifically when she recalls her lost love, and waxes poetic about the idea of whether it's actually possible for a woman to rape a man: "I think that's like putting a marshmallow in a parking meter!" she says in her soft southern accent, adding a girlish giggle. Morris also wrangles with the secret superpowers of Mormon underpants and the miracle of cloned puppies, two things you probably never thought you'd see addressed in one documentary.