By Julie D. Griffin
One preacher goes around America with a group of people known as The Show. Praise the Lord, and Thank God to coin a pun that Steve Martin knows that the cop plays a secret violin. Mark on the chin line. He does what self-proclaimed cutting edge ministers of the day call what they do. He counsels or more specifically and honestly, cons the man and gives him some sweet ministry. The poor State Trooper does not even realize despite hours of college psychology that a child could give him the exact same information. Director Richard Pierce got the small town greasy spoon more than right. Gladly the waitress spots a fake when she sees one, and as Debra Winger smartly advises the preacher man, her boss that in spite of his secret illusion that the small town waitress wants him, the preacher, fails to ask the important question. If so, what for? To tell her why in the world he commits sex sin with a number of women, demands complete amnesty for himself for that and then excuses heinous sinners, all male of course, of acts so atrocious they should go to prison for it, get awarded instead custody of a precious baby child two weeks later, then lie and say it was his female partner who did what he really did just to hang onto a child and some property. In short, the preacher wants to stab and wound a good woman, and later turn around and ask a question so stupid it defies any justification. “Gee, gollie, why is she hurting so bad?” Next, comes the most stupid question of all times. “Why is she afraid to come back to my church?” Because stupid, said the assistant (Debra Winger) as she finally fled from him for good, in so many words, the gig is up. I got you figured out. You aint’ in it for my heart. Your in it for your money. Consequently, it is a perfectly logical, albeit a strange thing to see stuff like that, even the smashing of the watch taken into consideration. But to know the difference, that is quite another thing. And then at the local business office though, it seems that even business man Liam Neeson (Will) who falls in love with Winger and takes her away from all of that mad world of church revival life.. At least Meatloaf knows the scoop which is that the preacher, the father of original sin, the same kind of womanizer who watches out for some church girls, but for political reasons not for others ~ The motif of preachers who part the red sea for a man to beat a woman half to death, say she did it when he did, use and sell drugs, say she did it when he did, and then makes the perfect forum (for money) for the lying drug dealer to get her child and all to retain a patch of property. But with thirty-five hundred a day the limit, the richest family in town the Rayloves, and a headphone set that tells the man exactly who needs a miracle for what. Debra and the others getting sick of the fake preacher by now come to the point of walking away or wanting to cry out themselves, do the damn rabbits of Trudi and the troops howl or not? Only When Rabbit Howls perhaps. The preacher has it all planned out from the wake up call to the story though, and it all would have been good if his heart had been in it. However, as it was when an innocent person who he gets close to gets sick enough to die and the power to bring it on quite missing, how sad. Worse than just burgers tonight. But likely these are not the only good ones who are sick of not enough money to pay the utility bills, buy food and clothing and even just survive. But whether you think hard enough for something good to happen, or get a miracle for real, the film does point out that nothing ever had a thing to do, despite what they would have you to believe, with any man. Folks have lost their jobs, their land, so they sure can’t afford a con man like you. And as the clock rolls past at a quarter to twelve, being a radio station preacher albeit even at the helm of a small town aint’ so bad, as even if a heart gets weary and the road gets rocky, you got to keep on. In a way, the man does have a point about using fake props to get them to revival. In a way you can’t blame him. But in another way, you feel for the people who believe something they have no way to know is really true until they die, which you must admit, is a hard way to find out. And each of them has their troubles. She wants a great dane as a travel companion and he gets sad after he fails at making the new pretty town girl fall for him. But all rattling snakes aside, people like this really know how to make a real thing look bad, as some is real and some is not. But she has got the whole thing under control and knows the whole life story of each congregant ~ From who is pregnant out of wedlock to who has been sleeping with who, the ministry team coached as to exactly what to say. For the show must go on.