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The Rainbow Man: John 3:16 (1997)

Director: Sam Green, Sam Green
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Other Cinema
Genre: Documentary, Biopics
Running Time: 70 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

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. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Short films: Pie Fight '69, The Fabulous Stains: Behind the Movie, and N Judah 5:30
  • Trailer for The Weather Underground

Special Features:

  • Short films: Pie Fight '69, The Fabulous Stains: Behind the Movie, and N Judah 5:30
  • Trailer for The Weather Underground

GreenCine Member Reviews

You weren't paying attention! by GGoodsell March 27, 2005 - 7:12 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
It would have been very easy for "Rockin'" Rollen Stewart to fit into his role as a local loser, taken to spending long afternoons in his easy chair smoking reefer. But as is the case in most scenarios that end in disaster, Stewart watched too much damned television.

Stewart began to brood on the nature of the celebrity and the value of recognition. Donning a rainbow afro wig, Stewart began to crash nationally televised sporting events. Running up to cameramen getting grab shots of crowds, Stewart would force himself into the lens, jump up and down and give the "thumbs up" sign. Viewers would grimace and exclaim, "Now who is DIS fruitcake?" Undeterred, Stewart would travel thousands of miles to televised games to shake his wigged head into the camera lens. For the remainder of the Seventies, he was seen as a colorful nut. The height of his career was a bit part in a Budweiser commercial, the money from which he made supporting him for the better part of two years.

At the 1980 Rose Bowl, Stewart tired of the rigors as a professional freak and began to contemplate that maybe there was more to life (let's hope so!). Turning to his friend the one-eyed monster, Stewart lucked into a late-night televangelist droning on about doomsday. Dedicating his life to Christ on the spot, Stewart began his second career as "John 3:16," shoving the bible verse ("For God so loved the world ...") into the world's cameras at sporting events -- and televised tragedies. America's fiercely secular worldview didn't find the new Stewart the tiniest bit amusing, and the cheerful nut overnight became an unpleasant religious nut. Things went on the slide -- choking his wife when she dared to misplace a John 3:16 banner at a golfing tournament, Stewart was soon forcefully escorted out of happenings. Destitute and broke -- Stewart turned to his one true friend the TV (do we see a moral lurking in this freak show?), and decided that maybe a few well placed bookstore bombings would better get out the word. After a few very unpleasant hours spent holding a maid hostage in a Los Angeles hotel room -- Stewart was finally thrown in the stony lonesome, unlikely to ever see the outside of prison walls ever again.

THE RAINBOW MAN is a fascinating, hilarious, spell-binding documentary & and on some level, it's all our fault for not paying attention.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.46)
24 Votes
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what would mad max do?
movies wth that jesus guy ( send all death threats to green cine c/o ('i heart jesus)
school/ monsters of ROCK!!!!!!
dvds with the ROCK!!!!!!. duh

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