Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Craigslist Joe

Film #269


In a time when America’s economy was crumbling and sense of community was in question, one guy left everything behind to see if he could survive solely on the support and goodwill of the 21st century’s new town square - Craigslist.

Year 1, Day 268

BEFORE: As I mentioned yesterday, I’m doing a brief documentary chain here at the end of March. Starting with today’s Craigslist Joe, there will be a bit of variety but the same general theme or idea should run throughout, and that is, modern events. There’s things about global warming and a lot about 9/11, but we start off with a more general topic: community.

AFTER: Documentaries are an interesting type of filmmaking as they are different from standard narratives. Both still tell a story but documentaries are nonfiction (or at least their pitched as nonfiction). That means they take normal, everyday actions and try to make them interesting, palatable for an audience. This is accomplished by having an interesting point or message to get across to the viewer. In Craigslist Joe, the film was about Craigslist and posting/responding to various ads, but the deeper theme was about community and that’s why the documentary succeeds.

Craigslist Joe has that same feeling as Supersize Me - one of my favorite documentaries - in that it’s one guy who gives himself a task to do for one month with a list of rules and restrictions. In this case, Joe Garner is leaving his home and friends for one month (31 days - in December) and with nothing besides the clothes on his back, toothbrush, and his passport, try to live through the generosity of others on the internet. Not only is this an interesting challenge, but it provides a sense of randomness. You can plan and predict what may or may not happen along the way, but in reality, things can change. What I liked most about Craigslist Joe is that this shows. A lot of planning clearly went into the documentary but there’s still mayhem and chaos, both positive and negative to his experience. Plus, it was all presented in a easily digestible way where you could easily follow along but never get too tired of what was going on.

In terms of overall quality though, there’s something missing from Craigslist Joe. For a documentary it was exciting and informative but it’s not really memorable. It was great to watch this one time and allows you to see a new side of life and adventure. But I feel as if that’s it. Nothing to get me to watch it again or go do research/investigation of my own into what this would be like for me. So while I thoroughly enjoyed Craigslist Joe and would recommend watching it, there is no lasting effect to make it a classic.

RATING: 4 out of 5