Televangelist Bobby Paradise "saw God" in some space debris when he was returning to Earth as an astronaut. Or at least he was convinced he did by his wife, a Cape Canaveral groupie at the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Reverend Bobby Paradise
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Elizabeth Paradise
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Manny Marquez
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Sammi
Vivienne Benesch ...
Alison Paradise
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Luke Paradise (as Patrick Flueger)
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Matthew Paradise (as James LeGros)
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Grace Paradise
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Isabella
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Old cowboy
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Clark Cavanaugh
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Jeremiah Alcott
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Senator Michael Linney
Haley Fife ...
Susanna
...
XL
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Storyline

Televangelist Bobby Paradise "saw God" in some space debris when he was returning to Earth as an astronaut. Or at least he was convinced he did by his wife, a Cape Canaveral groupie at the time Bobby was with NASA. Now they have built up an extensive TV empire. When their proposal to merge with a somewhat tarnished mogul is investigated by the government, skeletons in the Paradise closet come to light and the family either rallies behind or disparages the enterprise. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief drug use
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Release Date:

2004 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Corruption Within: Televangelism Scrutinized
17 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Frank Pierson continues to create films that are controversial and thought-provoking ('Soldier's Girl', 'Dirty Pictures', 'Truman', 'Conspiracy', 'Citizen Cohn', etc). In PARADISE he examines the workings of a 'showbiz evangelist' family and in doing so opens doors and windows to inspect not only the backstage shennaigans that are gaining more media coverage of late, but also the the very important family values and human frailties that make people support this brand of 'religion'.

With a blistering screenplay by Norman Steinberg and Richard Christian Matheson. PARADISE relates the story of one Bobby Paradise (David Strathairn), a past astronaut who apparently believes he spoke with God upon re-entry into earth's atmosphere while crashing into the Indian Ocean, and has been driven to tell his story and spread the gospel with his wife Elizabeth (Barbara Hershey), his lawyer daughter (Vivienne Benesch) who has a penchant for shady behavior and who is having an affair with a boxer (Kirk Acevedo), his business manager son Matthew (James LeGros) and wife, and his alcoholic mother Isabella (Elaine Strich).

Bobby is haunted by his own demons and feels he is at the breaking point, but his wife and family encourage him to continue is financially successful business (palatial mansion, jets, money to burn and to keep everyone out of trouble, etc). But the media begins to pry and slowly we watch the family power tend to disintegrate as we discover Bobby has a son newly released from a prison term (apparently for justifiable homicide), the boxer's wife and child are 'bought out' so that the daughter can marry, etc.

The film works well primarily because of the quality of performances by Strathairn, Hershey, Strich, and all of the cast. Just when the story appears to be going over the top, the understated characters of Bobby and Elizabeth keep it grounded in reality and the possibility that this sort of family CAN exist. Too many questions are left unanswered, as though this movie for Showtime was being considered as a series for TV, but for a dissection of TV Evangelism it is a tasty investigation.


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