E-Film Critic Review “Buy It Now”

by Collin Souter
“Definitely worthy of some serious Positive Feedback”

“But It Now” accomplishes so much in one hour that I wouldn’t be surprised if media arts teachers across the country used it as a springboard for class discussion. It is not only a unique viewing experience in and of itself, but the movie will have a life of its own long after the credits have rolled. It will make you feel uncomfortable, frustrated, shocked and maybe even confused, but if you have any interest in current trends in the media and how the mind can absorb and selectively discredit information, you’ll have plenty to talk about afterwards.
I almost hesitate to discuss the structure of the film, in case you’re lucky enough to see it. It’s the kind of film that should be seen with little to no expectations. It’s a documentary, but not quite. In the interest of keeping the movie surprising enough, I’ll just warn you that the next paragraph might give too much away. As a reviewer, I’m duty bound to do two things: Tell you about the film and what I thought of it, but I can’t do one without doing the other, so here goes.

(SPOILERS WARNING)
Right up front, the filmmakers tell us that we’re about to watch footage shot on a mini DV camera by a teenager who put her virginity on eBay. It has an amateurish quality about it and we feel as though we’re watching footage we shouldn’t be watching. The movie tells the story of Chelsea Logan, a troubled teenager with divorced parents and a drug habit. She lives with her mother and is prone to cutting herself. As a sign of desperation, she decides to put her virginity up for auction on eBay with little regard for her own safety, let alone her self worth. Her friends encourage her and eventually, someone places the highest bid. Chelsea brings the camera with her and films the inevitable experience.

And then…
(SPOLIERS END)

Nope. I can’t do it. Not even in the span of a SPOILERS section. It’s not a surprise ending I don’t want to give away, but an ideal this movie wants you to experience. “Buy It Now” comments strongly on our instincts as media consumers. We believe Chelsea’s story, because we have been conditioned to do so. It’s tawdry. It’s juicy. It’s in the moment. We want to believe it because we’re starved for it. In our media climate where we favor stories of runaway brides and missing college grads, Chelsea’s story fits right in with the dumbed down, video obsessed culture where we currently reside. 

It’s the kind of story that, if the media picked up on it, would be beaten into our consciousness, whether we wanted it or not. These days, two things will help make a headline: Attractive people and video. In the grand scheme of things, “Buy It Now” has both, but it also knows that where there’s a juicy story such as Chelsea’s, there’s a made-for-TV movie waiting to be made right around the corner that will likely sensationalize the events, dramatize the reality out of them and make chimps out of American viewers everywhere who think they now have the whole story. This is where we live.

You know that and the movie does not preach any moral value one way or the other. It merely represents two sides of one story and leaves everything up for debate. With role models such as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Eminem and Cosmopolitan leading the way of today’s youth, Chelsea’s story seems perfectly plausible and, at first glance, shocking. Did I believe it? Yes, but not for reasons you might think. To give praise where it’s due, I would have to elaborate, but instead I’ll take a cue from the editors of this film and simply let my star rating speak for itself.

About The Author

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BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in New York City, she studied voice, piano and cello, while honing her acting skills in after-school programs and summer camps, such as Stagedoor Manor in the Catskills. Chelsea has personified such roles as Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull, Lucy in Michael Frayn’s Alphabetical Order, and The Director in Luigi Pirandello’s Six Character’s in Search of an Author. In addition, she has performed in numerous works by Shakespeare, Ionesco, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, and other Chekhovian plays, as well as several musical productions. At the age of 15, she traveled alone to Ghana, West Africa for one month, and documented her time there on film. Upon her return, she founded the first International Baccelaureate Film Festival for students across the globe. Her film was recognized at the 2004 CU2 Video and Film Festival and screened in Times Square at the Virgin Megastore movie theatre.

In addition to appearances on Veronica Mars and Mind of Mencia, Chelsea has worked on several independent features. She collaborated with Antonio Campos, starring as a young girl selling her virginity online, in “Buy It Now”, a film that garnered First Prize in the Cinefondation category at the Cannes Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Cinevegas Film Festival as well as several other awards and accolades.   Additionally Chelsea played one of the lead roles in, “to.get.her”, directed by Erica Dunton, which went on to win the BEST OF NEXT Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, as well as nominations & awards at the Milan International Film Festival and RiverRun Festival amongst others.

In 2011, Chelsea graduated with honors with a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a drama major in the Stella Adler Studio with a Business of Entertainment Media minor from Stern Business School. She is currently living and working in Los Angeles and New York.