Catfish “Documentary” Inspires MTV Reality Show

catfish+quad+poster Catfish Documentary Inspires MTV Reality Show

Who was it that originated the fake documentary?  Was it the guys from Spinal Tap?  Since then there’s been others like  The Blair Witch Project and The Fourth Kind. Although with The Fourth Kind I think it was a giveaway that Milla Jovovich was even involved.  This one, like Exit Through the Giftshop, is one of those that leave you with an uneasy feeling that you may have just been pickpocketed. 

Catfish is a self-proclaimed documentary about a photographer who enters into an online relationship with a woman off Facebook.  It starts out where he receives a painting in the mail that a little girl named Abby made of one of his photographs which was printed in a New York Newspaper.  Abby, lives in Michigan. (How an 8 year old girl in Michigan came across a photograph in an obscure New York Newspaper is a bit of a chin-scratcher right away).  Her sister Megan, a model-esque singer and dancer, develops an online crush on photographer Nev and they enter into a long-distance romance.  The film takes a turn when she offers to record a quick song for him and he realizes that she just swiped it off Youtube. So obviously, the crew takes a road trip to see these people for themselves only to find in typical fashion that they are nothing like their photos on Facebook.

I have to say that I was skeptical from the first five minutes because Nev’s acting is so bad.  This made me want to discredit the entire film and quit watching right there.  But others who have seen it  and believe that it may be real convinced me to watch it through to the payoff, which by the way, doesn’t happen until the second half of the film.  The general consensus is that only part of the documentary is authentic, which makes sense because it doesn’t start to feel real until Nev actually goes to Michigan and meets the  woman behind the paintings.

I had a hard time buying this documentary for several reasons.  First, like I said, Nev’s acting.  I guess the shots in the beginning could have been staged after the footage they took in Michigan.  Two, I didn’t believe that the paintings were done by an 8 year old girl from the get-go so why did he?

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Next, I couldn’t believe that someone like Megan would ever be in a position to fall for someone like Nev online.  She’d have a ton of guys lining up in real life so why would she even bother wasting her time with him?

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And furthermore, I don’t buy that a New York photographer was duped in such a manner; he who knows all too well the deceptive nature of people, photography and the internet. I mean look at this picture she posted.  This doesn’t have Photoshop written all over it?

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The film, which initially cost $30,000. to make, went on to earn the filmmakers $3 million after it wowed audiences at Sundance.  Since then there has been a lot of negative publicity about the documentary possibly being faked. On the heels of this, the record company who signed the singer whose video was used in the film sued the Catfish producers late last year citing breach of “fair use” if in fact the documentary is actually a feature-length film.

Even though the masterminds behind this thing are still refusing to admit any part of it is a farce, MTV is now creating a reality show around this basic premise about people who meet online and discover that one or both of them are guilty of false advertising and the Catfish guys are involved.  At this point I’m as skeptical about the TV show as I am about the film.  It seems like they’re either going to end up catching pervs or humiliating lonely teenagers.  Either way,  I think I’ll pass.  Here’s the trailer from the Catfish movie.

Catfish Trailer

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[Source: Variety]

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