The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with another selection from the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival: the thought-provoking documentary Feels Good Man, winner of the Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker at the Sundance Film Festival.
FEELS GOOD MAN (US, 2020, 93 min.) Laidback artist Matt Furie created the goofy cartoon character Pepe the Frog for his stoner hangout comic Boy’s Club, but in a twist that could only be caused by internet chaos, Pepe transformed into an irony-laden tool in the alt-right’s attempts to confuse reality and enact violence. Feels Good Man harnesses every imaginable expert –– internet researchers, 4chan users, occultists, crypto currency traders, you name it –– to explain how Furie’s frog went from a silly meme of immense popularity to a cartoon associated with historic and contemporary atrocities. Longing for the days of a purer Pepe, Furie fights to reclaim the character from nameless 4chan trolls and infamous online villains like Alex Jones, but the iconic image might be too far gone, fundamentally altered by an angry subculture averse to “normies.” Director Arthur Jones’s remarkably assured, gripping debut exposes the unbelievable truth about a confounding meme and a perplexed artist who just wants to be “hardcore happy” –– a vibe best illustrated by the film’s many groovy animated sequences. U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker, 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Beginning September 17, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Feels Good Man at home for free. To receive access, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure to include the word FROG in the subject line or the first line of the email. You can view a trailer for the film below.
While there is no new episode of our Cinematalk podcast this week, we recommend listening to this episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast featuring Arthur Jones and Matt Furie of Feels Good Man. Look for a new episode of Cinematalk next week!
Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.