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It was impossible to miss the buzz about the spectacular failure of the Fyre Festival. Festivalgoers arrived on a remote Bahamian island, expecting to experience what might ultimately be the next Coachella. Instead, they were accommodated with FEMA disaster tents and those infamous cheese sandwiches (and no way to leave the island).
It was the perfect storm. Immediately, social media was abuzz with jokes and memes about the fate of the people trapped at Fyre Festival. Behind the jokes, though, was a more serious story built on a premise of fraud, deceit, and scam, one which put the founder on trial.
Last month, two competing documentaries were released to tell this story. Although Netflix’s documentary, Fyre, had already been announced, Hulu dropped its documentary, Fyre Fraud, with no warning. This timing draws the opportunity for comparison: Which documentary is better?
Opinions have varied. Judging purely by Metacritic scores, Fyre’s 76 far outperforms Fyre Fraud’s 66. Similarly, on Rotten Tomatoes, Fyre’s 92 outweighs Fyre Fraud’s 76. As individual critic opinions go, The A.V. Club’s thoughts are in line with these scores: In a simultaneous review of both, it states its preference for Fyre. Vinyl Me, Please, on the other hand, says Fyre is “the weaker of the two docs, all considered.”
Making matters more complicated is that each film could be considered journalistically unethical or biased. Fyre is produced by Jerry Media, an agency that was heavily involved in promoting the festival; Vice Media, which is no stranger to journalistic ethics battles of its own, is also a producer. Fyre Fraud, though, paid Billy McFarlane — the con artist architect behind Fyre Festival, among plenty of other scams — six figures for an exclusive interview.
With the many opinions and conflicts surrounding these two films, it might just be best to watch both. They’re both well-reviewed overall, and hey, even if you wind up strongly preferring one to the other, at least you can fully be part of the conversation, which is still going strong nearly two years after the festival’s dazzling demise.
Did you see the Fyre Festival documentaries? Which did you like better, and why? Leave your feedback in the comments!