R | 82 min | Documentary
Review - Matt Mungle
**In select theaters September 25th**
Click here to hear my interview with Directors: Bryan Carberry and J. Clay Tweel
Synopsis: When his amputated leg is discovered in a grill sold at a North Carolina auction, John Wood finds himself at the center of a worldwide media frenzy. Believing the new-found attention to be his chance at doing some great things in an otherwise disappointing, wayward life, he's quickly swept up in the hysteria as the leg's enterprising buyer, Shannon Whisnant, then sues to regain its custody.
Review: I will admit that I go into most documentaries a bit half hearted. It is not my favorite genre and it takes a quick, interesting hook to grab my attention and carry me through. FINDERS KEEPERS took about 90 seconds to lock me in and it kept me riveted for nearly the entire time.
John Wood and Shannon Whisnant on their own are both interesting and entertaining pieces of small town Americana. How they both ended up in the same true life story is a question only the universe can answer. Wood is a good old boy trying to get his amputated leg back after it was sold in an auction. That alone is enough to make you scratch your head in amazement. Then you meet Shannon Whisnant. Hollywood has tried over and over to create the persona that is Mr. Whisnant. But once you experience the real thing, everything else will now seem mediocre in comparison. He is boisterous and cocky but so hilarious and sincere that you can't wait to see more.
The documentary uses several archived news and television pieces to tell this true and remarkable story. The holes are filled in with interviews and on location interviews with John, Shannon, and their friends and family. If you lived in the North Carolina area during the time that this took place it is more than likely familiar. Seems that these guys were the top story for a while. And understandably so. Who finds a guys leg in a grill and then doesn't want to give it back? Or even better, who leaves their amputated leg in a grill in a storage locker?
This movie also uses the personal struggle of John Wood as the tendon that holds the bones of the story together. Take the leg away and his journey alone is one to study. But not so uncommon that it makes for a good movie. The moments spent on the sad and often depressing plot points rob the story of its light hearted humor. You want to laugh at the progress but John's story and even Whisnant's personal demons bring suck the wind out of the sales.
FINDERS KEEPERS is rated R for language. Nothing more nothing less. John and Shannon are not afraid of the F bomb and it seems part of their daily vernacular. So it only makes since that it show up here. I give it 3 out of 5 high bids. The story and characters are worth the watch for sure. It is the Debbie Downer moments that keep it from being spectacular.