Craigslist Joe: The Journey is the Thing

Lisa Waugh

Craigslist Joe kind of blew me away. For 31 days, filmmaker Joe Garner leaves his comfortable job, support system of close friends and family and travels across the U.S. relying only on the good fortune of Craigslist. Garner wants to see if he can survive and discover for himself if there is still a real community out there. If you are looking for a film to lift you up going into the new year or if you’re a cynic who needs a recalibration on your view of humanity, see Craigslist Joe.

Garner gets a free bike off of Craigslist

Garner starts out a little unsure of how this is going to work and has a slow start but in a few short days, his journey kicks in and immerses him and his camera man (whom he met just a week before on Craigslist) in a rich set of experiences.

The doc is straight forward without a lot of narration filled with hyperbole. Garner is likable, flexible and fearless which makes the whole project ring with sincerity. I haven’t read anything about the prep of this film and don’t want to do that until after I post this piece.

Actress Fran McGee shares some of her juice with Garner and another volunteer

Whether he intentionally finds such a world of diversity or there is a seamless eye toward pre-production, Garner encounters people from varying points of view and walks of life. Simple moments moved me. Garner’s attempt to create comfort for  actress Fran McGee in her New York apartment is one of those moments.

His tenderness and respect toward her is one of the many reasons we want to see him do well not just on his project but in the world.

I want to believe in the organic loveliness of this story even though the Executive Producer credit for Zack Galifianakis picks at something in the back of my brain.

I thought that the climax of this story would be when Garner meets unassuming Craigslist founder, Craig Newmark. But it isn’t. You’ll just have to watch to see the payoff. And don’t expect explosions. It’s about the journey we go on with Joe Garner.

One thing I did notice about the credits to this film. The word “performed” is misspelled each time as “preformed.” I’d make a joke about how the post guys should find some free spelling lessons on Craigslist but that would make me a cynical dick head.

I really enjoyed this movie. So I think I’ll let that go.