Phoenix Film Festival Review: Randy Murray's The Joe Show

Randy Murray Productions
Joe puts on a show.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio can't carry a tune.

Yet America's toughest sheriff sings both the intro and outro to Randy Murray's documentary The Joe Show. Bordering on funny and sickening, he starts the show with a poor take on "My Way," made famous by Frank Sinatra. For the finale, Joe takes a stab at "Fame," the title song from the 1980 musical.

"I'm gonna live forever" has never sounded like such a threat.

These tone-deaf gimmicks illustrate the gist of what's in between: that Arpaio's zest for attention trumps all else.

See also: Clark Gregg's Trust Me Is a Hopeful Look at Cold-Hearted Hollywood

The documentary was met with groans and gasps during a sold-out screening at the Phoenix Film Festival.

It details the many scandals and stunts that anyone keening tabs on the sheriff will recognize: the walk-a-con, chain gangs, the birther stunt, inmate deaths, millions raised (and millions mismanaged), re-elections, and the resulting headlines.

But its interviews with Joe supporters, haters, and observers provide interesting new context for Arpaio's transgressions.

Ted Nugent voices support. Same goes for Steven Seagal. Larry King essentially calls Joe a villain but balks when asked if Arpaio's racist.

Arpaio's media coordinator Lisa Allen acknowledges that while her boss is "addicted to the media," it's not in a classic narcissistic way. "He's a media hound. So what?"

Allen spews a few more gems that would be funny if they weren't so upsetting. When asked about Arpaio's invitations for members of the media to interview and film inmates participating in chain gangs, she says that the inmates can't be embarrassed or humiliated; being on TV is the best part of their day.

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WhoKnows topcommenter

Wasn't the next act of the Joke show due yesterday?  That letter that he and Jerry the Idiot have to sign and distribute to all MCSO folks, that proves they understand what Judge Snow told them!

Or did the Joke ignore the court and the law again?

Cozz topcommenter

"I'm gonna live forever"...right Bozo Joe, right up to the moment you finally die off and give the tax payers some relief from you're never ending corruption and bullshit thats cost us over 100 million of tax payers money.

"That final curtain has to close sometime. Right?"

Not soon enough !

Bonnie Brogan
Bonnie Brogan

Great movie, but it shows how the media, and we, who watch, are complicit it the creation of this horrific cartoon character.

TommyCollins topcommenter

Yes. I ABSOLUTELY encourage the elderly sheriff to run for governor. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want him to!

Please, Shurf, we REALLY want you to run for governor!


Actually, the cost of The Joe Show is approaching a half billion.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@TommyCollins  what the hell is wrong with you Tommy? are you aware that for him to run for gov he'd have to qui.......................???         

um.......never mind.........................please, do continue. i find your theories interesting and would like to support your cause sir. can i contribute either money or time to this campaign?

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