Dr. Ted Baehr, Film Critic and Founder of MovieGuide (which has a social media presence of 80 million + viewers each week) called me last night after reviewing all four episodes of our docuseries: Murf the Surf: Jewels, Jesus, and Mayhem in the USA. Ted, who is a dear friend with whom we have worked since the 1980s, contacted us to share his unsolicited evaluation. He applauded Imagine Entertainment (with This Machine and distributed by MGM+) for producing an extremely well crafted and entertaining series. After the first episode, he “couldn’t sleep.” The third episode was ”so fast moving he couldn’t leave his chair.” As a leading film critic, his review of "overall excellence” was music to our ears. Ted complimented me several times saying, “Your contribution to the docuseries was excellent throughout! You came across as totally honest and sincere and handled yourself really well sharing the Gospel and a Biblical worldview.” He also added that the episode dealing with the gruesome details of the Whiskey Creek Murders were particularly "shocking”. This is not a white-washed Sunday school story. For mature audiences only: viewer decretion is advised.
Ted believes the series will inspire many with its story of redemption while others will be provided with enough evidence to convict Murf - once again - as an unrepentant villain of darkness. He said, “audiences will take sides”. Those who hated Murf… who never believed he should have been released from prison... and those that believe he remained a total deceiver all of his life will find supporting “facts” and testimonies presented that will secure their opinions. However, those who receive the message behind the man – influenced by and yielded to the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit - will believe Jack was supernaturally transformed into a minister of hope to the hopeless. They will come to know our beloved friend, Jack Murphy, who surrendered the last 40 years of his life to serving God and proclaiming the freedom from the captivity of sin found in Jesus Christ alone.
When undertaking this film project many years ago, our goal was that Jack’s true story be told. In Ted’s professional analysis, he credited award-winning director, R.J. Cutler, with doing a superb job of weaving the “facts” from both points of view: “Murf”, the legendary criminal, versus the true life man of God that was Jack Roland Murphy a.k.a. Murf the Surf. Our goal as partners was to tell the story of how the “chiefest of sinners” is redeemable. It was to engage the audience with this question: “Do you truly believe a man can change?"
The most important thing we prayed for in this film project was that the good news of the Gospel would be shared. It was in all 4 episodes! This one film project gives us an opportunity to reach more people for Christ via this MGM+ release than we could ever have accomplished through all of our other ministry outreaches. Thank you, Lord, that we lived to see this 46 year vision you called us to come to pass! Soli Deo Gloria!
In closing, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Ted Baehr for his decades long friendship, Godly counsel, mentorship, and encouragement. What seemed impossible when we began our journey into film became possible through this divine connection. Never underestimate the power of two or three agreed as touching anything in Jesus’ name!
The Docuseries will be streamed on MGM+ beginning Sunday, February 5th