Tonight I was fortunate to see a screening of the movie Catfish with the San Diego tweetup group. (Another stellar meet-up, the organizers continue to fantastic.)
The story is about a three New York friends who randomly get to know a family in the upper peninsula of Michigan via Facebook. Their relationship grows over several months to the point where the two filmmaking buddies convince the main character that he has to meet his Michigan friends.
At the end, the audience is left with more questions than answers. Which is part of the experience of the movie itself, clearly intended. Namely, it is either a narrative documentary or a screenplay reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project. As we milled about in the narthex of the theater no one could really figure it out. My theory is that part of it really is a narrative documentary but when they went to cut it they realized that they needed more of a plot, so they went back an added some screenplay to it. But that’s just my theory. It could be straight documentary and it could be straight screenplay. If it’s 100% screenplay than the writers went largely unnamed and they wrote something brilliant.
Overall, while certainly entertaining, Catfish is not nearly as titillating as Blair Witch Project. Which means it is probably destined for a limited release in theaters nationwide and a quick entry into DVD-land. I could be wrong– but I just don’t see something there that is going to force a major box office smash.
As a social media person, I thought the concept was actually pretty fun. It plays with all of the stereotypes and fears people have about living a digital life. Just for good measure it adds a subplot of what big city people think about rural town folk and visa versa.
You will laugh at the main character because he does stuff that we all do. And you will cringe with him as he shares far too intimate details about his personal conversations via text with his would-be girlfriend, Meg.
If you like quirky independent movies, this is it.
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