On The Screen: Craiglist Joe

I heard about Craigslist Joe a few months ago and got really excited and also to see if Joe could measure up to Craigslist F. As a couple who met via Craigslist, found too many cars to count, bought our house, and have bought and sold many miscellaneous items, we immediately assumed that this would be an exercise in trying to build a life from nothing via Craigslist (as in get a job, an apartment, a car, etc.). That wasn’t what this movie was about.

Rather than an exercise in obtaining basic material needs through an alternative means, Joe explores how Craigslist can be a way of drawing people together in an increasingly isolated world. Joe set out on his adventure with nothing but the clothes on his back, a cell phone and a lap top journeying to see how Americans in the midst of a recession could “take care of each other.” He meets people though Craigslist (and in bars, dance classes, and volunteer gigs he found on Craigslist) who let him ride in their cars, sleep on their couches, and dine with their families.

While the movie was not what we expected, we enjoyed following along with Joe’s adventures in meeting people and traveling around the country. We were surprised by his lack of negative experiences (he only had a couple of “no shows” and no real weirdos), occasionally cheered by the people he found, and found ourselves wanting to shake him and give him advice (for example, “If you need to get to New Orleans, any destination on I-10 is probably a good bet”). If you enjoy a good travel documentary that features the good of people (even people you meet on the Internet), check Craigslist Joe.

On The Screen: The Way

Tuesday night we settled in to watch The Way starring Martin Sheen. The movie written (and directed and acted in) by Emilio Estevez tells the story of Tom’s (Martin Sheen) reaction to the death of his globe trotting son Daniel on the Camino de Santiago. The film examines Tom’s growth in the face of death as the inexperienced trekker carries his son’s ashes down the Camino.

The “journey” metaphor is used so often that it is very nearly cliche but the simple truth that a journey can be trans formative keeps it from being so. I found the film’s arms length examination of Tom’s emotional journey (and those of the three travelers he meets along the way) to be well done and interesting and in the end mostly avoids cliche. The characters are fleshed out enough that the viewer feels like they know them but there is still an element of the unknowable surrounding each one. This sense of mystery was enough to have Forrest and I talking about the film on the way home last night; we discussed what each character took from their journey. We discussed what catharsis was achieved by each one.

It made me itch to jump on a plane to Europe (but it isn’t hard to make me crave travel these days). It made me want to take a long, perhaps walking, journey. It made me think about people and the things they seek to escape in their lives. It made me consider ritual (and religion). So all in all, we give The Way the 3Up stamp of approval.

And this tagline? I LOVE IT.

You Don’t Choose A Life, You Live It.