×
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

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

  • Nicole Maines Supergirl Trans Hollywood Portrait

    TV Roundup: 'Supergirl' Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV's First Trans Superhero

    In today’s TV News Roundup, The CW releases a first look at Nicole Maines on “Supergirl” and Variety unveils an exclusive look at Gabriel Iglesias’ new comedy special.  FIRST LOOKS truTV has released the first trailer for season 2 of Emmy-nominated series “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” The variety sketch comedy returns Tuesday, Feb. 19 at [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most

    Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most Outrageous Moments

    It is perhaps only fitting that two documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, one of the most high-profile fraudulent failures in history, would arrive during the same week — a fitting cap on a tragicomedy of errors that, as both films outline in excruciating detail, unfolded like a slow-motion plane crash in the spring of [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content