Tag Archives: documentarian

Craigslist Joe

craigslist joe
Setting out to explore whether America still has a sense of community where people help each other through hard times, 29-year-old Joseph Garner spends a month depending on the goodness of Craigslist posters for his survival.

Rating: 6 out of 10

It’s a great concept for a documentary. But with any documentary that focuses on the filmmaker pulling a stunt — like the infamous “Supersize Me” — it seems to take away from authenticity of the film.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re not entertaining and “Craigslist Joe” certainly is. It’s not going to blow the doors off your house, but it will keep you thoroughly entertained for for an hour and a half.

It’s definitely interesting to see some of the positions he’s in, the types of people he meets and the places he stumbles to. He’s very much going with the flow. He sleeps whereever he can find a place, gets a meal whenever he can, and a ride to wherever someone is willing to take him. But he also makes some real connections with people who help him along the way, and it’s the glue that holds this film together. It is a stunt, just like the guy who ate nothing but disgusting McDonald’s for a month. He could stop whenever he wants, but that just doesn’t make for good TV. I did walk away, though, satisfied. It was a fun road trip to watch unfold, and there were some heartfelt moments where people genuinely helped out a person who is — kind of — in need.


KumaréFilmmaker Vikram Gandhi puts an unexpected twist on this sobering documentary about spirituality and the power of suggestion when he poses as a prophet named Kumaré and develops a sizable following in the American Southwest.

Rating: 7 out of 10

On the surface, it seems like Vikram Gandhi is just duping some hapless people when he poses as a guru from India and persuades them to follow him.

But what Gandhi did was teach them about “illusions” of spiritual leaders, and that they don’t need them and that all strength comes from within. He manages to get a group of 15 faithful followers — a medical student and death row defense attorney among them — who are firm believers in the teachings of Kumaré, Gandhi’s guru alter-ego.

I just love how Gandhi challenges the audience, making us uncomfortable as he teaches a lot of made up nonsense, talking in a fake accent (he’s from New Jersey), as he dons authentic garb of India with a grown-out beard and long hair. He gets people to do some pretty silly things and open up to him with deep, personal problems. If you have faith, it challenges your ideals. If you have none (like the filmmaker), then it reaffirms your belief. And Gandhi did his homework — interviewing other so-called gurus and guides. At the end, there is a reveal, and while I won’t give anything away, it’s a very satisfying closure. This film is available on Netflix streaming, and it’s definitely worth a watch. Such a great concept for a film.