Synopsis by Mark Deming
The name Rollen Stewart may not mean much to most people, but anyone who watched professional sports on television in the 1970's and 80's would certainly recognize him, and Sam Green's documentary traces Stewart's strange rise to fame as well as his disturbing fall into madness. Stewart grew up in a troubled home, and in his early thirties, after a failed marriage, he was making a living growing marijuana and watching a lot of television. In 1977, Stewart hatched a plan to become a TV star without going through the usual show business channels -- he put on a rainbow-striped Afro wig, bought a ticket to a Portland Trailblazers basketball game, and captured the attention of a cameraman panning the crowd when he began mugging and dancing for the camera. Hooked on the media attention and determined a lucrative television career was around the corner, "Rock 'n' Rollen" Stewart became an unavoidable presence at televised sporting events, and eventually he enjoyed a small payoff when he was cast in a popular beer commercial. In 1980, after doing his act at the Super Bowl, Stewart had a religious experience and turned his life over to Jesus Christ; he traded in his tacky suits for T-shirts citing bible passages (most frequently John 3:16), and eventually abandoned his trademark wig in favor of large signs urging viewers to embrace Christianity. But the television networks eventually tired of Stewart and his antics, and a run of bad luck left him homeless in Los Angeles, where he devised a scheme to make his way back onto network television to warn the world about the coming end times. The Rainbow Man/John 3:16 features an exclusive interview with Stewart, as well as rare footage of his televised exploits.
insanity, celebrity, craziness