NOTE: In light of this goofy Manti Te’o thing, I thought I’d re-post my old review of “Catfish,” a film that I thought was bullshit at the time. Now, I’m not so sure. Wait, yes I am . . . I still think it’s bullshit.
On one of my recent blogs, “DamnitDe’Mun” aka My Only Reader, left the following comment:
Fatty (see me for copyright infringement later),
I did see a movie worth mentioning recently. CATFISH. I just mentioned it. More on CATFISH: I know I’m expected to make the “Fat, Black man from the South thought he was watching a film on the delicacy” joke, but no!*
There was advertised, in its trailers, some huge surprise or a twist of some sort and I went in KNOWING that I would sniff it out before they revealed it. Uh Uhh — still threw me. Three film students, a couple of cameras, the internet and one great story is all it took to intrigue me, dumbfound me and ultimately get the characters. Loved it. No spoilers, just a huge endorsement to go watch it. CATFISH is available for $1 at your nearest RedBox.
*DISCLAIMER FROM THE BLOGGER: As an Obese Caucasian, I too was hopeful that the film would feature a fish fry, and I resent the implication that fat, useless slobs have a race-specific menu. I eat catfish, my grandfather who dropped dead early loved catfish, and his dad who died at the age of 23 due to a clogged body ate nothing BUT catfish. If we were picky, we wouldn’t be fat. Sorry, I didn’t mean to get political, but that’s what happens when you book a one-way ticket to Edgytown.
DOUBLE DISCLAIMER: Sometimes, I call my blog Edgytown.
Intrigued, and desperate to please my sole commenter, I added Catfish to the top of my queue. I’d read reviews in the past, and was interested to see it for myself. Here’s how IMDB sums up Catfish.
In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.
A little melodramatic, but the “of our times” part is pretty accurate. (Or inaccurate, if you’re reading this in 2017.) The most fascinating aspect of Catfish is how all of the info the filmmakers gleaned during their investigation were from online resources, mainly social media. A majority of the story is told using close-ups of computer screens, and it’s to the movie’s credit that the film stays interesting throughout, even though lots of times we’re just watching a scrolling cursor. The filmmakers (let’s just call them The Douches) are able to investigate the subject using only the Internet, and the dork in me was deeply fascinated, and a bit disturbed, by how easily they were able to track the subject down.
On the other hand, I don’t believe a lot of this. I think the story’s real, but I don’t for a second buy the moments where the camera is conveniently on when certain revelations happen. It feels like an event happened, then they re-enacted it for the camera. It feels a bit neat, for whatever reason.
There’s been speculation that Catfish is fake, but I think the story itself is real. I just think it’s been put together and presented by a bunch of toolbags. I found the brothers to be deeply annoying (the 3rd dude was just forgettable), however, my perception was probably ruined by this interview I read at the AV Club, which reveals that the main guy has a tramp stamp. A dude. With a tramp stamp. Frankly, that’s the kind of decision that calls a person’s entire character into question. I mean, look at this idiot:
Brutal. I’m guessing the main reason people don’t buy Catfish as a true story is because it’s being told by a guy with a tramp stamp. Critics everywhere have been forced to ask themselves, “He has a tramp stamp! Why should we believe him ever, or take him seriously, or not punch him?” These are perfectly valid questions. Embarrassing tattoo aside, Catfish is well worth seeing, and as that interview confirms, they edited out the tramp stamp for the most part, so you won’t be punching your screen in an anti-hipster rage.
Check out Catfish, an absorbing story that will remind you to eat more catfish, because it’s called Catfish.