Armageddon > Deep Impact. Dante’s Peak > Volcano (confession, I’ve never actually seen Dante’s Peak). Tombstone > Wyatt Earp. Olympus Has Fallen > White House Down. The Prestige > The Illusionist. No Strings Attached > Friends With Benefits (I think?). Patriot’s Day > Stronger. A Quiet Place > Bird Box (Yo, FUCK Bird Box).
It’s quite common for Hollywood to produce two competing projects about the same concept or event in the same year. Two stubborn studios are in a race to get their version released before the other and almost always the first one to come out is significantly better. No one ever remembers the second movie or frankly cares about it at all. It’s like when you and your friend take a great pic and there’s a quick draw to see who can post it faster to Instagram. Whoever posts it second is forever deemed a fraud by mutual followers, or something.
So all of these movies above came out in the same year, but what I haven’t seen before is two such projects coming out within a week of each other like Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre. This was just a masterfully orchestrated move in deception on Hulu’s part. I have to assume both projects were aware of each other during production, but Netflix had their release date on the books (Friday, January 18th) for at least a couple months. Hulu, on the other hand, kept their cards close to the chest and surprise released their documentary the Monday before Netflix’s dropped, without even any advertisement. How cunning. Now, Hulu’s footprint on streaming commerce will not eclipse Netflix anytime soon, but this small victory should at least feel good for them.
For those who don’t know what Fyre Fest is (Hi Mom!), Fyre Fest was a lavish music festival marketed towards wealthy, party hungry 20-somethings slated to take place in the Bahamas in April 2017, however turned out to be one giant scam that created a lord of the flies type situation at the abroad concert venue for 24 hours. Because many victims of this crime were the type of assholes that would pay $10,000+ to see Major Lazer, it was mostly regarded as a hilarious occurrence on Twitter when the news broke. While both of these documentaries ARE very funny when looking at it from that perspective, each film also takes a step back does a good job of shedding light on the real victims of the scam, the people of the Bahamas that were never compensated for their time and materials (The Netflix version is particularly heartbreaking in a few scenes). Since the release of the films there’s actually been a GoFundMe created to help these people if you want to help out.
Both of these movies are good and I would recommend either depending on what subscription you have, but there are no ties on Rated Greg. So which one is better?
I strongly believe that Hulu’s Fyre Fraud is the superior film. I’ll admit I did see the Hulu doc before Netflix’s and viewers are obviously inclined to like the one they saw first in these situations, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. There are two main reasons why Hulu’s Fyre Fraud is better.
1. Netflix’s Fyre is fairly straightforward when it comes to this story. It examines the creation of Fyre Media, the bonkers planning of the April 2017 event, and the aftermath of the festival failure. Hulu covers all of this just as well, but also does a better job at looking at the bigger picture. There’s a great section that assesses how Instagram influencer culture came to be and it’s consequential effects on a FOMO-ridden millennial generation. It explains why Billy McFarland, the villain at the center of this debacle, was able to sell ridiculously priced tickets to a fantasy festival in the first place.
2. Speaking of that villain, Hulu’s doc has a sit down with McFarland whereas Netflix does not and it turns out to be a crucial aspect in fully absorbing the story. Remember HBO’s The Jinx? Imagine watching The Jinx without the interviews with Robert Durst. It might still work, but definitely not as well. Apparently Netflix also tried to get a sit down with McFarland but they failed to meet his compensation demands. Now, it is a little fucked up that McFarland is still profiting off of this scam, but the optimist in me hopes that the Hulu money is going directly to his victims and not his lawyers. I understand if people are hesitant of Hulu giving McFarland a platform to explain himself, but in no way does the sit down paint him in a positive light. For such a criminal mastermind, the guy is sort of a doofus and repeatedly shoots himself in the foot (kinda like The Jinx). Hulu also has an interview with McFarland’s current girlfriend who’s quite strange herself, but she’s never mentioned in the Netflix doc.
Anyways, you really can’t go wrong with either, but if you have access to a Hulu log in, I would go with the Hulu doc before Netflix.
Hulu’s Fyre Fraud: A-
Netflix’s Fyre: B+