Cinecast Episode 185 – Social Networking Can Be Dangerous

 
Once again Kurt is out of house. But movie freaks eager for some discussion are never too far away and here to save the day is our good friend Goon (@coreypierceart) as well as the triumphant return of Jay Cheel from and The Documentary Blog. In this episode we get into a nice lengthy (*SPOILER*) discussion of two social media related film currently in theatrical release: The Social Network and Catfish. Discussion of the latter should definitely be skipped if you have not yet seen the film. The former is a little hard to really spoil much, but we do get into the details so consider yourself warned. There’s also some chatting on favorite DVD commentary tracks, Oscar nominated animation, more David Fincher fare and a defense of the great Tony Scott all wedged in this episode as well. And of course we get into this week’s interesting DVD releases as well. Enjoy.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 
 

 
 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_185.mp3

 


 
Full show notes are under the seats…


show content



show content



show content


IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
New York Lately DVD – with commentary by Andrew! order now!


MAIN REVIEWS:
The Social Network (Marina’s review) (SPOILERS!)
Catfish (SPOILERS!) (Mike’s spoiler free review)


WHAT ELSE WE WATCHED:
Secret of Kells (IMDb)
Red Riding Trilogy (Andrew’s review)
You Again (IMDb)
Streetdance 3D (Corey’s Breakdance Fight)
Silent Running (IMDb)
Domino (IMDb)
Serenity (IMDb)
Blood Simple (IMDb)
Various television shows (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Community,” “30 Rock,” “Deadwood,” etc.)
Se7en (IMDb)
Defendor (IMDb)
Vigilante (IMDb)


DVD PICK #1:
        ANDREW:

Grindhouse
(IMDb)

        JAY:

Grindhouse
(IMDb)

        GOON:

Grindhouse
(IMDb)

DVD PICK #2:
        ANDREW:

Hard Candy
(IMDb)

        JAY:

The Exorcist
(IMDb)

        GOON:

Caprica (s1)
(IMDb)


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Beauty and the Beast [Blu-ray] The Karate Kid
The Last of the Mohicans (Director’s Definitive Cut) [Blu-ray] Splice
Human Centipede
The Secret of Kells
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
[Blu-ray] Robocop Trilogy [Blu-ray] Bad Lieutenant (1992) [Blu-ray] Secretary [Blu-ray] Troll 2 [Blu-ray] The Blair Witch Project [Blu-ray]


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
The MACHETE Trailer IS in the Grindhouse Blu-ray Disc!

Yogi Bear Poster:


NEXT WEEK:


PRIVATE COMMENTS or QUESTIONS?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us:
feedback@rowthree.com (general)
andrew.james@rowthree.com
kurt@rowthree.com

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
rot
Guest

Haven't listened to this yet, not sure what the consensus is about Catfish but having just seen it I think it is easily the best doc of the year, and all around top 5 material for me. I haven't looked it up much but I am assuming its all real.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Yea, just caught it last night at Sitges. It's pretty wonderful, pretty creepy (the voyeurism/danger/weirdness aspects and how they play off the mundane as well). Pretty Awesome in how it affects the audience. There was a big interview with Abby's Mom on 20/20 last night. If someone has a full vimeo/youtube, etc. link, please drop it in here.

rot
Guest

I bet Herzog would love it, its just that kind of sublime quality to the story that he repeatedly goes for.

rot
Guest

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

I'm curious, Jay, what makes you think the infatuation wasn't real for Nev? The ethical issues you bring up, particularly with the joking over the sexting, and asking Angela to use Meghan's voice, are to me not so callous as you make them out to be. First of all, I believe Nev was infatuated with Meghan, given the amount of time they spent talking, if it was him toying with Angela I think they would have accelerated the romantic part… or would you spend what is it, 6 or 9 months on the phone and texting, playing a part for the sake of a documentary you don't even know is going to result in anything? If Nev was infatuated with Meghan, and he fairly quickly discovers there is no Meghan (it seems like in the film its a matter of days) than I think for the sake of indicating the intensity of the infatuation, it makes sense to have the sexting scene in there, it was a real moment. Nev asking Angela to do the Meghan voice also seems entirely just, because by that point they had started to talk to each other like friends, and Angela was aware of being a fraud and letting Nev down. The Meghan voice request came after Angela acknowledges how hurt Nev must have felt and apologizing for the deceit (schitzophrenic or not, she appears aware enough that she did something wrong in this scene). My reading of the request was of someone who was truly infatuated with someone that never existed and he was trying to find that person in the predicament he was in now (again, I think a couple days at most since he first realized she wasn't real). It played genuine to me, he was emotional, Angela wasn't a dancing monkey, she was doing a small favor to someone he betrayed.

If there is evidence of the filmmakers toying with Angela and playing up the infatuation I would be interested to hear about it… I don't see it. The real ethical issues is with Angela, and what she did to Nev. In the end you come to understand why she did it, and Nev appears to forgive her, but I don't think Angela is the victim in the story, but neither is she malicious. That is why it is a great and complicated bit of drama.

The signing of the release forms may also have come from a sense of guilt for what she did… what does the 20/20 interview say? She is ill but she seems aware of enough of what she did and was fairly adult in the moment where she broke free of her lying tic and confessed. Maybe the filmmakers used her guilt to get the release forms signed and that could be ethically dubious, but not unequally so.

rot
Guest

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

**************Catfish Spoilers**************Catfish Spoilers*********

also I think your chronology of events are unclear: There are no signs of Meghan being anything but genuine until they go to Colorado (he mails the postcard with the penny New York before he leaves and finds it at the Michigan farm). While in Colorado he asks if Meghan wants to meet him halfway, and there is an excuse made I think. In Colorado they discover the fake song and in the same night that Abby doesn't have a gallery. That then inspires them to go to Michigan and find out what is going on, and that seems to be a matter of days at most. So in what we have to go on in the documentary, this toying with 'Meghan' is a matter of days, and as someone who feels betrayed it seems completely justified to go there in person and confront her.

Jay C.
Guest

*****************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS**********

**********SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS**********

**********SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS*****

Just to clarify, I'm not claiming that I 100% don't believe the events in the film. I'm simply skeptical about how everything unfolded. It very well could have happened the way it's presented. I just like the fact that it creates conversation that challenges the expectations and conventions of non-fiction filmmaking. To put it into religious terms, I'm a Catfish Agnostic rather than Atheist. That said:

"If there is evidence of the filmmakers toying with Angela and playing up the infatuation I would be interested to hear about it… I don’t see it."

Well if there was any true evidence we wouldn't be having this conversation. My thoughts (along with many others) are simply based off of the experience of watching the film and thinking about the chain of events that took place. The question is less about why this guy would believe these people and follow through on this relationship but rather why would they film it?

You say that Nev's trust in Meghan and her family isn't unusual because he was given enough time and information to never really assume anything was wrong. This scenario might be easier to swallow if they weren't making a film about it. Based on this perspective, they're investing their time and money into a project that seemed to have very little potential. If we're supposed to believe that their film was originally intended to be a portrait of an online relationship (be it a romantic one with Meghan or a friendly one with Abby) do you really think that a team of filmmakers would jump right into shooting this story with little to no information on whether or not Abby is actually the great artist they think she is? There had to be an initial point of interest that made them decide to take this project on. Was it a child painter they knew NOTHING about? Or an internet relationship (boring) from one perspective? I would love to see them try and sell THAT idea to a potential investor. If you were going to shoot a documentary on a subject, shouldn't one of the first steps be some background research? Perhaps to prepare a pitch to a potential distributor or investor? How about securing permission from the subjects so that you don't spend five months filming something that will ultimately be canned because the "people" on the other end of the msn chat window won't be willing to take part? ESPECIALLY when dealing with the participation of a child. They had many opportunities to get this information from the conversations they had with Abby's mother, but instead Nev simply fed the 'relationship' (remember, it seems as though it's not until late in the 'confrontation' does Angela discover they'd been making a film this entire time).

If you guys are saying this budding relationship had gone on for MONTHS, don't you think that from a filmmaking perspective, the director's are missing an EXTREMELY important piece of their film? Meghan's side of the story! You're telling me at no point did they say to themselves "You know what? We're doing this film on an internet relationship and all we have is some footage of our friend in his apartment talking on the phone with this girl. What kind of film will this make? WE NEED TO FILM MEGHAN." Same thing applies to Abby. All of these conversations on the phone with Angela and they never asked if they can come out and interview them? No Skype video chat? Come on. All of the effort put into documenting Nev and they never thought they would require anything other than him talking on a phone in his apartment or office? THAT is the kind of logic that I find hard to swallow. If this film didn't take the turn that it took, it wouldn't be a film at all. Yet the guys behind the camera (and Nev) pushed forward the entire time, as though they knew something we didn't. It's a little hard to swallow.

Regarding Nev requesting that Angela speak like Meghan: still don't see it as anything other than a moment for the camera at the expense of Angela. In fact, that whole scene of her drawing him is too heavy handed for my taste. Outside of that, I wasn't totally turned off by their interaction with Angela. They were very polite and respectful. I think as you'd mentioned before, the true issue is whether or not the film should've been released at all. I don't think it's something that should've been buried, but I do feel like the presentation of everything (the marketing, the narrative structure) was in favour of creating a mystery first over exploring the psychological nature of Angela and other people like her online. The film succeeds in that regard. It was an engaging and sometimes thrilling viewing experience. I just don't think it gets much deeper than that. Certainly not as deep as some of you guys are making it out to be. For me, Catfish played more like a film about some New York filmmakers who got duped rather than a film about a struggling artist who finds solace from reality online.

P.S. Taping the coin to the postcard seemed like a pre-determined strategic piece of 'marking' in order to make it easier for the audience to immediately identify the two pieces of mail as being the same.

Mike Rot
Member

*****************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS**********

**********SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS**********

**********SPOILERS********************SPOILERS********************SPOILERS*****

fair points, but my understanding is that this was not conceived of as an actual documentary until the song discovery. When you film Reed are they anything more than filming to past the time, or is it in service of some grand scheme, the REED STORY? I am not sure how much they filmed, but going from what is in the documentary, it is a lot of nothing UNTIL they get to Colorado. You have to remember all of the stuff online is added later, so you have I think one or two phone calls, two or three scenes of Nev opening boxes, him sending the postcard (by that point the Colorado trip was established) and a couple of interviews of Nev explaining the situation and his feelings for Meghan. That to me is fairly believable, I think the directors said they found Nev extremely photogenic so it could very well be shooting him for the sake of shooting something. The discovery of the song also seems believable to me because the second it is announced Meghan is going to send Nev a song you would record because that is something more intimate.

I read somewhere that the stamping on the postcard is how it would be given where it was mailed to (I suppose they could have created a stamp return to sender and understood that in a rural area it is not required for the person living at the address to request return to sender first).

If I was filming my friend casually, and the most interesting part of his life in this online flirtation, I would see Meghan as an unknown commodity worth keeping hidden at least for awhile, so that the revelations about her can be captured live on camera. Also if thinking about it as filmmakers, aren't you supposed to keep out of your subject's trajectory? In the back of your mind you may think we need to get Meghan on camera and signing release forms, but then when would you do that? Before an emotional tie has been established with Nev? The more she trusts him, the easier that part of the process would be, I can see them just letting things happen (the Colorado trip seems planned to me, as perhaps some point where they wanted to have the encounter spontaneously filmed – remember when they do crash Angela's house its prior to signing release forms).

Film Ape
Guest

Where can the breakdance fight that Goon talks about be seen. Searches on youtube came up with nothing.

Film Ape
Guest

Thanks for pointing it out Andrew, just call me Zatoichi. As for the video that was incredible.

Kurt
Guest

I expect gigantic viewing for that one. I'm quite surprised nobody has ever attempted at Zombie Apocalypse TV show up until this point…