CATFISH (2010)

Catfish2

Christopher

I definitely thought this move was fake when it came out so I never saw it. I also found out the ending petty quick so it added to not caring about this movie but Elizabeth somehow still didn’t have the end ruined for her so she wanted to check it off our list before it was. I’m glad we watched it because it was far more interesting than I thought. I kind of figured the movie would be over once you actually saw the people on the other side but the fact that the movie kind of turned into a movie just about them rather than the fake relationship, I was hooked.

I think this movie was great and worth watching especially if you don’t know the full story.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I had been wanting to see Catfish for a really long time, mostly because I thought it was a movie that had a giant twist at the end and I was afraid it would be spoiled for me before I could see it. I was sort of right . . . there is a twist, but it was one I already knew about. So it wasn’t 100% the movie I was expecting, but it was still fun to watch.

The documentary follows Nev Schulman, who becomes Facebook friends with an 8 year old painting prodigy, Abby, whom had sent Nev a painting of one of his photographs. Nev becomes Facebook friends with Abby’s family, too, including her mother, Angela, her father, Vince, and older sister, Megan. Then Nev and Megan form an online relationship, which turns romantic pretty quickly. When Nev discovers that some songs Megan sent him, as originals, were actually ripped off from other people’s Youtube accounts, the filmmakers go to Megan and her family’s homes in Michigan to confront them and/or meet the real people in person.

As you probably know or would expect, Nev discovers everything to be a lie. First Megan texts him and says she’s in rehab, then Nev confronts Angela and she tells him that Megan really is in rehab but has been for a long time and it was Angela Nev was talking to the whole time. Later, Nev finds out Megan doesn’t exist and the photos Angela used were of a family friend. Even later, Nev finds out that the pictures weren’t of a family friend, but of a random model that Angela found online. The paintings weren’t done by Abby, but by Angela. And Angela’s life is much sadder than even Nev could have anticipated: she essentially gave up her possible painting career and most of her life to marry Vince, who had severely disabled twin sons from another marriage that needed 24/7 care. She’s quiet and obviously sad and at least a little bit delusional.

You leave this movie feeling kind of bad for everyone: Nev, for being lied to about everything; Vince, for not knowing any of this was going on (plus he thought Nev was buying Angela’s paintings); the model whose pictures were stolen to be Megan; Abby for having a mother that lies and tells people her daughter is a child prodigy when she’s not; and of course Angela, whose life just seems so sad and empty that she had to resort to lying and making up fake identities. Even though everything she did seems super crazy, in a way you can kind of understand it all when you know just how sad her life is.

LEGALLY BLONDE (2001)

Elle-Woods

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I think Legally Blonde is severely underrated. It was such a popular movie that I’m sure most people who haven’t seen it only know what saw in the trailers that played repeatedly. And those trailers pretty much highlighted one aspect of the movie: blond girl goes to Harvard! Hilarious!

Because really, Legally Blonde is much more powerful than that. Yes, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is rich and gorgeous. But it’s still a movie about acceptance, and really more than anything having the confidence to come into your own. Post-undergrad Elle thinks her boyfriend, Warren (Matthew Davis), is going to propose to her but he dumps her instead because he needs someone “more serious.” And it sucks, because Elle loves him, and anyone who has been in a relationship where their love was completely unappreciated can feel the pain that would come with getting dumped when you truly thought you were getting proposed to. And, like many a 22 year old, Elle decides it’s a good idea to attend Harvard Law School, where Warren is going, to win him back. I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say I’ve been in relationships where I thought of every possible way to “get him back” and would have, at certain times, done anything. So even though Elle is very outwardly confident and outgoing, uprooting her whole life just to follow a guy who’s not even nice to her shows her vulnerability and true lack of confidence.

Everyone at Harvard thinks she’s stupid. I graduated from an art school as a Writing major and I can’t do anything visual arts related with any kind of skill, which doesn’t exactly make you popular at art school. Particularly in my freshman year, once my lack of visual skills was apparent (usually within the first class), most of my classmates would not give a shit about me. It was like it meant I wasn’t interesting enough to talk to or worthy of their time or something. So when everyone treats Elle like shit because they think she’s stupid (even though she got into the same school they did), it felt very real to me, despite Elle’s looks. She befriends a local manicurist, Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), who is the first person in Cambridge to treat Elle like she’s a person worth even looking at. Paulette is incredibly shy and has next to no self-esteem, which Elle continually helps her with. But Elle isn’t taking pity on Paulette, she’s helping her but also helping herself. Elle is the kind of character that wants to help and gets genuine joy from it, so everytime she helps Paulette she’s really giving her own self-esteem a boost, too.

When Elle realizes she “will never be good enough” for Warren, she starts excelling in school. When she gets an internship at a prestigious law firm, she very slowly starts to become more accepted by her peers. But when she wins the case completely on her own, it finally comes full circle. By the end of the movie, Elle has graduated, long forgotten about Warren, has friends, and a healthy relationship. It’s extremely satisfying to see. Elle in the beginning makes sense, but when you see Elle in the end she truly has grown and become a better person.

What I like most about Legally Blonde is the fact that Elle is never mean. She sticks up for people she doesn’t know, she’s nice to people even when they’re mean to her face, and only when she’s tricked into wearing a costume at a non-costume party does she call someone a bitch (and it’s warranted, come on). She also never changes everything about herself, even if that would have made so many things easier. Elle wins her big case by combining what she’s learned in law school with what she knows just from being herself (she catches a witness lying once she realizes that the witness said she showered right after a perm). I just love it and I think that Elle is a deceptively good role model for women and a just a great character all around.

Christopher

When I think of this movie I think of TBS. I remember this being played on that channel non-stop. I never really had any desire to watch it. I thought it would just be cheesy and lack any kind of humor it might think it has. However, I really liked it and it was solely due to Reese Witherspoon. She did a great job acting and her character was fantastic. She was smart and likable. It’s terrible how female characters are represented in movies so often. I think many could take a hint from Legally Blonde on how to do it well. The whole premise of the movie was pretty great and funny. Not what I was expecting at all.