in about 100 words or less
US, 97m, Colour / US 96m, Colour
Director: Chris Smith for Netflix / Directors: Jenner Furst; Julia Willoughby Nason for Hulu
Based upon a friend’s recommendation, I recently watched these competing documentary films with no previous knowledge of the ill-fated event, let alone an understanding of the notoriety of the so-called social media “influencers”, or even having heard of the majority of the musical acts set to perform at the Fyre Festival. Presented as an inside look at the happenings of the so-called “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience” and those responsible for its organization, promotion and realization, both films are also darkly comedic attempts at a social commentary on the “well-to-do” festival attendees. While each of these productions are mildly amusing and present somewhat different takes on the festival organizers, Hulu’s Fyre Fraud provides a more thoughtful and honest examination than does Netflix’s “Greatest Party”. Most strikingly bizarre (in both films) is the portrayal of Billy McFarland, Fyre Festival’s co-organizer, who is touted as a charismatic business wunderkind. Maybe it’s just me, but fast-talking business-weenies like this dude are nothing new, and while his ability to secure “investors” is undoubtedly real, his success relies on the old adage that “there’s a sucker born every minute” (Klaus Ming May 2019).