The question of whether technology has made us colder, more narcissistic, and more inclined to live in social bubbles has already become trite and tedious. Few who tackle it seem prone to original thought when seeking answers. Joe Garner, a twentysomething Los Angeles resident with a sweet nature and sad sack demeanor takes his shot at it when he embarks on a 30-day cross-country journey in which he carries no cash or ATM or credit cards, and only relies on ads he places on Craigslist for temp jobs, shelter, and food. He’s accompanied by a cameraman—which he finds on CL, of course. Directed by Garner, Craigslist Joe is sweet, moving, and frustrating. The people Joe meets on his journey include a dominatrix, a little-known character actress battling cancer, and an Iraqi family whose warmth and generosity could warm any curmudgeon’s heart. But though he’s from L.A., Joe’s sensibilities are strictly Middle-American, and he lacks the intellectual chops or curiosity to do much more than utter clichés and look wide-eyed at what he encounters. Questions such as how his cameraman was supported on the trip and the extent to which the presence of a documentarian’s camera colored people’s reactions are never addressed—nor is the question of how a young, white, hetero male undertaking this experiment might be granted social privileges denied others.
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