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Real Time/Reel Time

I don't usually bring y'all into my process, but as I struggle through a review of Catfish (no spoilers), I'm feeling gun-shy. Am I being gulled, like those champions of memoirs by J.T. Leroy and James Frey? Was Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop a documentary or a prank? (Final verdict: It was a good documentary of a great prank.) Was I too easy on Joaquin? (Question for Thought: Would he have been as entertaining on Letterman if he'd been clean-cut and said, "Blah blah blah, it's a great movie, Gwyneth Paltrow is great, I bought a house...?" And would that have been more "real" than his unhygienic monosyllabic jerk?) As a critic, I have always had a responsibility to watch documentaries with a skeptical eye, aware that reality--even in supposedly fly-on-wall depictions--can be so easily manipulated. But do I now have to view every documentary filmmaker as a potential scam artist? (Sorry, Fred Wiseman: We card everyone.)

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