OK, hopefully you have seen the film if you are still reading this, which means you get the above opening of this article.
Catfish was screened at Sundance earlier in 2010, and many of us had the same reaction. This sucker is fake isn't it. Here's 10 reasons why CATFISH feels like a fake documentary. Let me preface this by saying I loved this film, and thought they SHOULD be allowed to lie, and I strangely enough wouldn't be mad due to some of the the storyline parallels.
1. When the movie opens on our handsome main character Nev, in about 20 seconds you can sum him up as an "actor type". If you live in Hollywood you know the type, just watch how his eyebrows individually move up and down and he seems to have that "actory" feel at times, especially later as he tells a story crossing his legs in his undies with a subtle theatrically homosexual fashion. (He also picks at his nose in the beginning of the film in a suspiciously conspicuously obvious manner.)
2. They just happened to fall into this wonderful story that seems very similar to the storyline of the Sundance darling documentary My Kid Could Paint That. I could almost buy that, but the fact that when they meet the mystery woman behind the Facebook page, she is AMAZING on screen. The chances of both of those happening is astronomical, and she did such a beautiful job, let me be the first to go on record and say SHE SHOULD BE NOMINATED FOR AN ACADEMY AWARD. The scene when she paints our hero Nev at the end reminded me of beautiful Meisner inspired acting improvisations.
3. When we first meet the mysterious mother/love interest, the shot is angled so that her face is obstructed by a plant and then a post, we have been waiting the whole movie to see her. If I was filming this I would at least try to move the camera a little to the side, unless of course, I was trying to increase the dramatic tension.
4. The whole, "lets figure out how to use a wireless lavaliere microphone scene", with the comedic placement of static hits just afterwards stunk of filmmakers trying to make something look rough and real. Not to mention the testing of how it would sound if you were being hugged, which also gets a laugh later when she gives him a long hug during dialog. There is also another hidden camera a few feet away, did it not have a mic?
5. Other audio issues included the fact that the guy behind the camera always sounded too good, not like a documentarian usually sounds, you know he's usually more muffled due to him being behind the mic. As a matter of fact it sounded a little like the documentary the Last Exorcism, oh yea, that was fake, never mind.
There are other suspicious scenes, like when they are in the car, and all of them sound great, you don't hear one the guy in the back sounding different or further away from the guys in the front, even with sound clean up, mixing and sweetening this sounds almost too good for the gear they were using. (cannon tx1 camera with crappy mics)
6. Parallel 1 - While riding in the car away from the mysterious garage door ranch, our hero states that he didn't really feel fooled by her, because he was being tricked by believable harmless type lies that he didn't even really care about. Which is why I don't feel too bad that they are tricking us, I love that the story line is small and believable enough to have happened, and I'm sure there is some truth to this, but really. I mean really?
7. Parallel 2 - What a great lesson, a story about a guy that gets fooled by media (website) by not checking into things, and yet thats what this media (film) may do to us.
8. Parallel 3 - Think about this. The mom sells slightly faked art to our hero, the film makers are selling a kind of slightly fake art to us my friends.
9. Parallel 4 - The Catfish story, the Catfish is added during shipping to keep the Cod from getting soft and mushy by keeping it more alert, so to speak. In the film it seems to refer to the mom being a trickster catfish. But I think the MOVIE is the Catfish, we are the Cod, and we should not become complacent. (BTW You're def not too complacent if you are still reading this)
10. Parallel 5 - At the end of the film it says the story continues at their website. The website contains another great parlor trick - you can make a full screen FAKE desktop that looks like our hero's computer.
Though I could go on talking about the genius of these parallels or casting actors that can't or don't have any false moments, like the mentally handicapped twins, I will stop here, and give you...
5 reasons why the film IS real.
1. The filmmaker/actors say that it's real. And the Studio website classifies it as "Reality Thriller".
2. Shullman says if it was fake, "my brother would be the best actor since Marlon Brando."
3. Exec Producer Brett Ratner would never try to fool us ( Director of Rush Hour 3, X-MEN 3).
4. There is a special thanks to JJ Abrams (LOST, CLOVERFIELD) he would never leave more of a mystery to be unboxed.
5. All the above are all just things that I felt about the film, some sarcastic, and some unfounded. So who knows, the whole thing could be real after all.
Either way, I think this film is pretty much genius due to the fact that I have this odd feeling, not dissimilar to the way I felt about my ex-girlfriend. I love it, and hate it, and can't quit thinking about it.
Nev says it's all true.
Art by Angela Pierce
Pick up a painted picture by yours truly before they go up in price. Here's one painted of Abbey, is it painted by Abbey? http://www.artbyapierce.com/portfolio/h28b6c8d#h28b6c8d Paintings and prints range from $2450 to $6
What did you think about the film? Please leave comments below.
If you are one of the film makers please drop a thank you note in the comments to all of the interweb junkies like me that will spend way too much time reading and writing about this film.
I hope to catch a catfish.