Saturday, September 18, 2010



Well, I basically had a perfect Saturday. A great Saturday is when I see a movie; a perfect one is when I see two!

I went to San Francisco to see Catfish, which is only in limited release. Like everyone, I was intrigued with the trailer and was dying to see what was going on.

For starters, I’m not going to give away any plot points but just my opinions of this film may make you feel like I’m saying too much. If you truly want to experience this yourself, stop here. If you really want someone to tell you if this is worth your time or not, read on.

This is supposedly a documentary about a guy who builds a relationship with an entire family via Facebook. His brother and friend are both filmmakers and decide to chronicle his experience.

I wondered if I was going to feel this movie was fake and to that, I have to say no. I feel this was all real. What I didn’t expect was to be the victim of poor marketing.

The trailer for this film leads the audience to believe it’s some type of shocker, which it is not. I heard a group of 20-somethings grumble on the escalator ride down after the film so I asked them, “Were you guys pissed?” They answered in unison, “YEAH!”

Here’s the thing: this is a captivating documentary and as psychological portrait, it totally works. The problem is it probably would’ve been on HBO or maybe IFC, not a theatrical release. Some marketing genius (?) decided to put this out in a different way, a là Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. The trailer sets this up to be a huge shocker, even going as far as to say the last 40 minutes will “take me on an emotional roller coaster ride I won’t be able to shake for day.” Really?

It would appear that the filmmakers are hoping to profit by the curiosity effect and once that ticket is paid and the butt is in the chair, the profit is made. I’m interested to see if there’s going to be some serious backlash of viewers feeling they were misled. I would also advise against the idea of opening this to a limited release because I’m here to tell you to save your dough and rent it on DVD, which is the better forum this film to begin with. It seems to be fashionable these days to seek any kind of attention getting spotlight, even if it’s negative. If that’s the goal, mission accomplished because I have a feeling you’re going to have a lot of pissed off people.

I wondered if I’m too jaded. Would other people be blown away by the revelations in this film? Maybe, but I think younger people and people familiar with Facebook are the demographic and I heard no gasps or whispers from them in the auditorium. Tread lightly boys…your Facebook pages may have some pretty nasty comments in a few weeks!


Catfish said...

Have you seen the recut trailer, Jersey Shore edition? Worth a gander:

Rachael said...

I think the previews were really misleading for this one. I read a post over at four four where he reviewed it and it did have spoilers. After reading it, I am definitely not going to see this. I just don't get the point, there are other movies I want to see way more.

iluvcinema said...

i just skimmed your article. i think i am going to see this this weekend. i am purposely not trying to find out a lot about the film ahead of seeing it. if it is good i will be happy if it is bad oh well. that is what goes with being a movie enthusiast! gotta separate the wheat from the chaff.