I always thought that Little Edie Beale, of the Grey Gardens documentaries, was born too soon. Place her a few generations later, and this wonderfully daft, singing-and-dancing aged-out debutante would be the belle of the reality-TV ball.
Ditto for Joyce McKinney, the subject of Errol Morris' latest documentary, Tabloid. The film covers McKinney's wild (and that's putting it mildly) ride. In the '70s, McKinney was charged with kidnapping a Mormon missionary in England. The trial was a tabloid sensation, with competing papers taking sides.
McKinney claimed the man — who declined to be interviewed for Tabloid — was her fiancé and went willingly. The opposing view had her chloroforming the man, chaining him to a bed, and forcing herself on him. And that's just the beginning of this tale, which McKinney, decades later in Tabloid, recounts with half-cocked charm. She's gleefully outrageous and absolutely nuts in the best kind of way.
Tabloid ran for just a week in Memphis earlier this fall. You'll get a second chance to see it when the Brooks Museum screens it this week.
When Tabloid was making the film-festival circuit, McKinney, who had issues with how the filmmakers depicted the story, made a habit of showing up at the screenings and heckling the movie. Will she be at the Brooks? Probably not, but crazier things have happened.
"Tabloid," Saturday, December 10th, 2:30 p.m., at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. $6 museum members, $8 nonmembers.