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.
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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.