Daily News header

One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story Film Review

By Kam Williams

Documentary Chronicles Born-again African-American's Salvation via Sermonizing and Painting

Albert Wagner (1924-2006) freely acknowledges that he frittered away his first half-century on Earth chasing skirts to the point that his wanton ways left him on the brink of ruin. A slave to wine and women, he fathered 20 children between his wife and his mistresses.

He would bottom out while spending time behind bars when he was accused of sexually molesting one of his own kids. He admitted committing the act of incest, and considered himself lucky not to have received a stiff sentence of five years instead of just five days.


Blaming his profligate behavior not only on lust, but on a combination of racism and narcissism, Albert turned a new leaf after God spoke to him through a piece of wood on his 50th birthday. From that point forward, the shameless sinner reformed, dedicating his life to Jesus and seeking salvation by creating Christian-themed paintings and by preaching as an ordained minister.

Having spawned such a large extended family, Reverend Wagner discovered that he had a ready-made congregation in his own relatives. Meanwhile, he also met with success as a prolific, self-taught folk artist, first in his hometown of Cleveland, and then all across the country, as word of his colorful masterpieces started to spread.

The arc of Albert's life from heathen to hero is chronicled by One Bad Cat, a compelling documentary narrated by stentorian-throated Delroy Lindo. The biopic was shot mostly on location at the subject's home/studio shortly before the ailing octogenarian's death, although director Thomas Miller also mixes in some interesting archival footage.

The charismatic Wagner proves to be as controversial a figure as you're going to encounter onscreen, as he somehow comes off as simultaneously likable and despicable. Yes, he strikes you as sincerely Born Again, but this belated conversion came only long after his having apparently wreaked enough havoc to leave lots of females' fragile psyches emotionally-shredded.

Yep, this was definitely one bad mother (shut your mouth!) who could have written a Bible for today's ghetto gangstas on how to be a player.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 81 minutes
Studio: Tesseract Films
Distributor: IFC Center

To see a trailer of One Bad Cat, visit: http://www.onebadcat.net/Trailer.shtml

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

There were no upsets in terms of the major categories, with Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) prevailing in the lead acting categories, as expected
Kung Fu Elliot is a kickboxer on a desperate quest to be star. He ropes his girlfriend in to his delusional scheme and the question is, can the relationship last longer than the dream.
We see a procession of movies about artists throughout history suffering for their art, rarely are there sightings of the women in their lives made to suffer too.
Here are the top DVD releases for this week, starting with Whiplash, and just the right time for a fond farewell to the love month of February 2015!
Chris Elliott talks to Prairie Miller about The Rewrite, nutty jobs he's had just to get by, other fellow funny guys who've inspired him, and getting stoned on Groundhog Day.
Will was as eager to share enlightening information, as much about getting into the trickster head of his artful dodger character Nicky, as what he learned about himself.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site