I watched the documentary Finders Keepers on Netflix last night, and it was fantastic. It was funny and heartbreaking. It had a great hero and villain, both of whom went through incredibly transformative story arcs. I was laughing at and wanting to hate the seemingly evil redneck swindler, Shannon Whisnant aka the “foot man,” then minutes later he had me on the verge of tears. Then there’s John Wood who you can’t help but root for despite the terrible things he’s done. This movie has death, addiction, swearing, bickering, insane legal drama, family strife, and plenty of laughs – all centered around the discovery of John’s severed foot inside a meat smoker.
Now you may have heard about this crazy story when it went viral a few years ago, but you do not know the whole story unless you’ve seen this movie. There is way more to this tale than a silly custody battle over a foot. And there’s probably still more yet. There’s a wealth of interesting things uncovered over the course of the documentary and several surprises, so I don’t want to ruin any of that. I recommend anybody interested in documentaries or even wacky court cases check this movie out.
I will say this, though, as I don’t think it ruins too much. What I find to be the most interesting aspect of Finders Keepers is Shannon’s desire for fame. Granted, you could guess the man who refuses to give another man’s own severed foot back because he wants it for a roadside attraction is looking for some degree of fame and fortune, but you really have to see Shannon and hear his story. He’s kind of an asshole, but at the same time he’s extremely charming – in a deeply southern, greasy hillbilly salesman kind of way. But it’s not his charm that wins viewers over, it’s the inherent sadness prevalent in his desire for fame. He loves entertaining people and wants some recognition from it. Is that so much to ask? In an era where every teenager thinks they need a YouTube channel and they need to snap pictures of all their food for others to see I think not. Shannon just wants to “get paid to make people laugh.”
John, on the other hand, has no interest in fame. He just wants his mummified foot back. Why? Not because it can be re-attached, of course, but because it reminds him of what – besides his foot – he lost in the tragic plane crash so many years ago. He wants to build a memorial. Neither John nor his family want anything to do with the “foot man,” they all just want to move on.
So I don’t want to give anything else away or go into any more detail. This is not a review either, just a suggestion. Check out the trailer below then, if you like it, check out the movie on Netflix. Let me know in the comments below what you think of the trailer or movie. And, after watching Finders Keepers, who do you think has rights to the foot?