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Barney Frank's Husband Calls Documentary About his Life 'Rude' and 'Embarrassing': VIDEO


Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank premiered over the weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. The filmmakers were given full access to follow Frank "everywhere but the bathroom," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Frank and his husband Jim Ready are not too happy with the final product, according to remarks at a Q&A with producer Alec Baldwin after the film's screening, THR reports:

“I don't understand why the moviemakers would want to embarrass someone who went out of the way to let them make a movie about him,” Ready told Baldwin. “That kind of bothered me.” What specifically bothered Ready was the movie’s inclusion of the 1989 scandal involving Frank hiring a male prostitute to be his live-in driver and housekeeper. Frank was accused of allowing his houseguest to run a prostitution ring out of his home, but after being investigated by the House Ethics Committee, he was found innocent and was reprimanded only for using his congressional office to fix his driver’s parking tickets.

“I really think that was irrelevant to put that in there,” added Ready. “It’s embarrassing ... it's just kind of rude," Ready said in reference to the fact there were family members in the audience, including Franks' great aunt, who asked a question earlier in the Q&A. Baldwin then quickly attempted to lighten the mood by referencing his own public controversies, saying, “There's a lot of things I'd like them to leave out of my movie.” He then added, after getting a laugh from the crowd, “It's not always that easy.”

The filmmakers defend their inclusion of the controversy in an interview with THR.

Watch the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Did they seriously think that a producer would make a movie about Barney Frank and leave that out? It sounds like Valerie Cherish and The Comeback.

    Posted by: Frank | Apr 28, 2014 12:24:11 PM

  2. Good documentary always includes the negative along with the positive traits. It is embarrassing to Frank -- not because it is in the film -- but because it actually happened. That is as it should be.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Apr 28, 2014 12:28:31 PM

  3. "Make a documentary about me, but only put in the good stuff."

    Posted by: bford | Apr 28, 2014 12:28:40 PM

  4. I voted for Frank and I think he was one of the better congressmen of the past few decades. And he is whip smart. But they were naïve to think this was not going to be a warts and all documentary. The prostitute living in the basement was a huge wart that was going to be covered.

    Posted by: MikeBoston | Apr 28, 2014 12:29:59 PM

  5. Another example of the arrogant attitudes of politicians. You agreed to a documentary not a glorification.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 28, 2014 12:33:13 PM

  6. Oh please -- I was there at the screening and q&a and this remark from Barney Frank's husband was totally out of line and revealed a naivete that did not come off in the film itself. The documentary is GREAT. You cannot tell the "improbable journey of Barney Frank" without including the scandal that thrust him into the spotlight. It was not handled in a malicious or hurtful manner. It was matter of fact, relatively brief, and actually extremely important -- not only in its significance in his career, but also in seeing how well Frank handled the crisis and MOVED ON. I personally think it makes Barney Frank look even stronger. The only thing embarrassing or rude on display at that screening was Jim Ready's outburst.

    Posted by: Clareece Precious Jones | Apr 28, 2014 12:36:47 PM

  7. Not only would it be impossible to produce a coherent documentary without mentioning the prostitute-ticket fixing incident, we can be pretty sure all that was discussed with the former prostitute houser before the documentary was made.

    Posted by: Jason MacBride | Apr 28, 2014 12:45:15 PM

  8. Barney Frank's is one of the great Congretional biographies in the history of the USA. And it's a hoot to boot.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Apr 28, 2014 12:52:38 PM

  9. "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy". Edwin Edwards

    Posted by: Allen from Austin | Apr 28, 2014 12:52:46 PM

  10. Sounds like he wanted a propaganda film instead of a documentary.

    Posted by: DJSauvage | Apr 28, 2014 1:01:41 PM

  11. Oh please, "not relevant"? It most certainly is relevant, particularly considering Frank likes to pretend that he is some-sort of hero by being the first congressman to bravely face publically coming out. Pish-posh. Before the scandal, Frank was as deep in the closet as every other closeted congressman and senator.

    The distinction between Frank and other congressmen who were/had been exposed as gay is Frank was the first to admit his true self and not resign in a continued effort to hide from public view. I'll give Frank credit for that;it could not have been easy and required extraordinary personal strength.

    Posted by: Mike in Asheville | Apr 28, 2014 1:28:15 PM

  12. Agree - its relevant - as long as it wasn't 30 minutes of a 2 hour documentary.

    Posted by: Alan | Apr 28, 2014 1:30:18 PM

  13. Are they kidding? I love Barney like hell, but he pulled strings and lied to cover up this relationship with that kid. It'd be a puff piece if they didn't include it.

    Posted by: joe c | Apr 28, 2014 1:32:15 PM

  14. I support Barney overall, but give me a break: A documentary about his life WITHOUT that would have been a total puff piece and that would've been the embarrassing part.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Apr 28, 2014 1:43:05 PM

  15. He was interviewed on NPR just the other day and spoke about the "scandal" and seemed quite comfortable talking about it. Seems a little disingenuous to say he's embarrassed about it here.

    Posted by: Bo | Apr 28, 2014 1:57:27 PM

  16. I'll chock this up to "spousal extremism". Rude? As in, "How dare they"? and "Why, I never"? BF can dish it out but can't take it?

    Posted by: anon | Apr 28, 2014 3:16:12 PM

  17. Spousal extremism!! LMAO!! Soo true!

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 28, 2014 5:01:56 PM

  18. That is a part of Frank's life and history. It needs to be in there. It would be like a documentary on Teddy Kennedy without Chappaquiddick, or on W without his inability to speak English at greater than a Grade 5 level.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 28, 2014 5:36:12 PM

  19. What? We're supposed to make a movie about lemonade that doesn't mention lemons?

    That scandal, painful as it must have been, was one of the best things that ever happened to Barney Frank. It forced him into a great life. Might he have found his way into a great life without it? Maybe, quite a bit later and with a lot less clarity of purpose, I would wager.

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 28, 2014 6:45:32 PM

  20. Thanks for the update. Towle is on top.

    Posted by: Arrow | Apr 28, 2014 11:26:44 PM

  21. Saw "Finding VIvian Maier" the other day, another warts-and-all portrait of a one-of-a-kind individual. Sometimes, it's the imperfections and foibles that make someone human. (Wasn't it Leonard Cohen who said "There's a crack in everything--that's how the light gets in.")

    Posted by: Dback | Apr 28, 2014 11:57:22 PM

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