×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hard as Nails

Occasionally, a documentary is only as good as its subject matter, and on that score "Hard as Nails" -- about youth minister Justin Fatica, who employs the physique and demeanor of a high-school wrestling coach on behalf of Jesus -- ultimately goes limp.

Occasionally, a documentary is only as good as its subject matter, and on that score “Hard as Nails” — about youth minister Justin Fatica, who employs the physique and demeanor of a high-school wrestling coach on behalf of Jesus — ultimately goes limp. Fatica’s Elmer Gantry routine isn’t compelling enough to sustain a feature-length narrative, quickly becoming repetitive. After a while, it’s like “OK, we give up! You love Jesus. Will you please stop screaming in our faces?”

Admittedly, the 28-year-old Fatica doesn’t look the part of a clergyman, what with his ripped biceps and basketball jersey. He’s even shown patrolling the streets outside posh clubs to preach his message to sinners (or at least those hoping to sin a little before the night’s over). To demonstrate his commitment, Fatica regularly lets a member of his team crack him across the back with a metal folding chair as if this were a WWE event, and he talks about fiendishly working out as a means to avoid masturbating.

Unfortunately, director David Holbrooke doesn’t bring much more insight to the party, other than a respectful attitude toward Fatica’s proselytizing zeal. Indeed, there’s virtually no wider context here — unlike, say, Alexandra Pelosi’s “Friends of God,” which gently sought to shed light on evangelicals as individuals as opposed to a monolithic movement.

By focusing the lens so intently on Fatica, on the other hand, “Hard as Nails” has nothing more profound to offer. What emerges, then, is simply a snapshot of a not-that-interesting character driven by his faith — a young man taking his whacks (or not) for the greater glory of God.

Hard as Nails

HBO, Mon. Dec. 17, 8 p.m.

Production: Produced by HBO. Executive producer, Sheila Nevins; producer, Sarah Klein; co-producer, Sarah Holbrooke; director, David Holbrooke.

Crew: Camera, Etienne Sauret; editor, David Klagsbrun; music, Miltoncq. Running time: 90 MIN.

More TV

  • Maureen FitzPatrick Rob Silverstein

    Rob Silverstein Out as 'Access Hollywood' Executive Producer After 20 Years

    Rob Silverstein, exec producer of NBC’s entertainment newsmagazine “Access Hollywood” and its spinoffs, is leaving the syndication franchise after 20 years at the helm. He’ll be replaced by “Hot Bench” alumnus Maureen FitzPatrick. Silverstein’s departure was announced Tuesday morning at a staff meeting for “Access” producers. Silverstein was also exec producer of the hourlong talk [...]

  • '9-1-1' Billboard Vandalized With Anti-Beto O'Rourke

    '9-1-1' Billboard Vandalized With Anti-Beto O'Rourke Message

    A billboard for the Fox procedural “9-1-1” on Pico Blvd., adjacent to the studio lot, has been vandalized with an anti-Beto O’Rourke message, Variety has learned. The imagery was put up by a politically conservative man who goes by ‘Sabo.’ The promotional art for the series featured on the billboard shows a car wreck sticking out [...]

  • Ryan Phillippe

    Ryan Phillippe to Lead CBS Pilot 'Alive'

    Ryan Phillippe has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming CBS pilot, “Alive,” Variety has learned. The project was formerly called “Frankenstein.” The “Cruel Intentions” star will play Mark Escher, a San Francisco police investigator who was presumed dead after an attack and destructive fire at his home. Six months later, he shockingly reappears [...]

  • Anya Taylor-Joy

    Anya Taylor-Joy to Star in 'The Queen's Gambit' Limited Series at Netflix

    Netflix has put out an order for a new limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit,” starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Variety has learned. Based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel of the same name, the six-episode show will be set during the Cold War era and will follow orphan chess prodigy Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy) from the age of eight to [...]

  • Lucy Liu

    Lucy Liu's 'Unsung Heroes' in Development at ABC Studios International

    ABC Studios International has put anthology series “Unsung Heroes,” executive produced by Lucy Liu and Ruthanne Secunda, into development. The scripted show will tell the “untold stories of incredible women who overcame adversity to become pioneers of their time,” showcasing highly accomplished women who were not acknowledged for their achievements during their time. The first [...]

  • stream march madness 2019 online free

    NCAA Tournament: How to Stream March Madness Online

    The rankings are in, and the 68-team field is set. March Madness is officially upon us, and if you want to catch the action from home, from the office, or on-the-go, there are a couple ways to stream March Madness online for free. The first game kicks off today, and the tournament runs until April [...]

  • High Maintenance Renewed Season 2

    HBO Renews 'High Maintenance' for Fourth Season

    Half-hour pot comedy “High Maintenance,” created by Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, has been renewed for a fourth season, announced HBO. Starring Sinclair, the premium cable comedy follows him as the Guy, a nameless drug dealer in Brooklyn whose business allows viewers a look into a cross-section of New Yorkers and their stories. HBO describes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content