Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the Lot Take 2

This is my crosspost of the second Film Premiere Episode, where they randomly went down to doing five films a week. Oh you wacky producers, what are you thinking?

I think On The Lot needs to decide what it wants to do and who it wants to be, because the show is seriously floudering and I want them to last enough seasons for either me to make my big break and get a job in filmmaking or be on it, whichever comes first.

Broken Pipe Dreams
This movie wins for best title of the night, don't ask me why, but it does. I like it, so there you go.

I think that it does a good job taking movie conventions and turning them every so slightly on their head, like cutting the blue or red "wire" and the end where it's so Shawshank Redemption-like it's almost not funny.

But sadly, it had plot holes which made me grumpy. For one, the fish was flopping in his hand at the end (maybe it wasn't, but it seemed to be) and he didn't freak out and get him to water. He gets his fish back, and he doesn't rescue it? Second, I agree with Zoe, he looks like he's following a sprinkler system pipe, not a sewer pipe. Mostly because he is. And honestly, I know that to make this short film he couldn't have really dealt with sewer pipe, but you know, I can only suspend disbelief so much, I can only go "Oh, who cares!" so often. Plumbing doesn't work like that, and the story wasn't so phenomenal that I didn't care.

The camera work was good, the performance from the actor was good. I really wish this was more a directing competition rather than a writing one though.

Teri (Blind Date)

This really...well, I agree with Carrie Fisher (I think it was her) there was nothing new in it. Nothing really making me go "Oh wow, that was funny."

I disagree with her on one thing. She said a murderer should be the last punchline because the worst thing couldn't be a guy showing up. Actually, to a lot of guys I've known in my day, it would be the worst thing. Don't ask me, I don't get it.

Anyway. There wasn't really anything revolutionary in the shots, they were straight on mid-shots (why can't I remember the technical term?) and you went back and forth. The performances were good, but they were stereotypes and stereotypes are easy to play.

It was okay. But really, if I'm being honest with myself, it was the weakest of the night because it was just more of what's been done.

Also, Mr. Marshall, this is a man desperate for love. I thought you said that was a women's issue, hmmmm?

The First Time I Met the Finklesteins

First off, are you blatantly ripping off Meet the Parents? I mean, I haven't seen either of those movies, but your title just says it right there, doesn't it?

Secondly, Michael Bay is now my hero for saying what I was thinking. None of those jokes were funny, they were groan humor, they were "OMG, she went there" jokes. And the scene where the son suddenly blows up (which hasn't been in his character) and says "Sure, I'll cure cancer, and AIDS, and Diabetes" was just...I can't even describe how much that entire line made me want to turn off the tv. If it had been a movie, I would have changed the channel.

I think her lack of wide shots and establishing shots was because she had a poorly chosen set. She seemed to be filming in a friend's split level house, and you can't get a good wide-shot from that in most cases. But she should have tried really, or picked a different set. Or given us a reason for the closeness. Or just hung a lantern on it and said "Sorry it's so cramped."

The only amusing part was at the end when the son said "Drive safe. Most parents would say drive safe." Otherwise, the jokes were just...lame.

Dough: The Musical

This was well shot, and very well acted, and phenomenally well written. I say this because I can't rhyme that well with two months to work on it, and he had five days.

They picked good sets, they decorated them well. The actors did need to look at each other more and have more chemistry as Garry Marshall pointed out. But I think it was technically very well done, and having just watched Bride and Prejudice this weekend, it amused me because it was a musical. I liked how the man and woman never actually were talking about the same thing, even in the end. She didn't suddenly notice how cute he was, and he didn't suddenly say "Well, I guess I'll just hire her."

Overall, one of the better ones. Honestly, I think this and Sam's were the only ones that impressed me that much.

Laughing Out Loud: A Comic Journey:

I know this director has a background in documentary, or at least I think they mentioned that before. So was this a documentary or a short fiction film? This is vitally important because I have two completly different critiques for it.

Documentary: Well shot, very visual and interesting. The subject needed to be coaxed a little more, driven to give a few more non-cliche moments and a little more heartache (I know being followed around and being called a homo is no picnic, but I know people who were treated MUCH worse in school so it didn't raise my sympathy enough). We needed him to be more, new, different. But he was heartfelt, and he believed what he said. The only funny line, and it was the funniest of the night, was when he was trying on costumes and said he looked like a terrorist and followed it with "What am I going to do, make an axis of evil float for the pride parade?"

Short fiction film: This movie was terrible. I know it's not a writing competition, but if it was, this writing was flat out cliche, it was trite, it was said and done so many times I couldn't be bothered to care. The only thing that could elevate it would be if it was real (see critique above). Visually, it was well done but needed a few more identifying shots. She was worried we wouldn't identify with him, but most of the shots we got were ECU eyelid or far out. Where were the shots where we felt very involved with him, close to him and what he was saying? There weren't enough. If this was fiction though, the actor was phenomenal. If that wasn't his life story, then he's a really really good actor and she should hire him for everything she does, because he took a tried and boring script and made it look real, he felt it. Go method acting.

But like I said, if it was fiction, it was written so poorly and was such an overdone concept that I can't be bothered to like it. If it was documentary, then it was a fine example, though she should have, as a director, gotten a few more stories out of him, things to make him a unique subject worthy of our study.

Yup, there you go. Overall, some decent directing but no stand-outs. I'm hoping one of the women go home. I know, I know, I'm a horrible traitor to my gender.

You know why? Because every time somebody talks about a woman director as a "woman director" they're pinning a stigma on her, they're damning her with faint praise. She's a DIRECTOR. She can be a good or a bad DIRECTOR. She might have a different viewpoint or be good or bad at things because of her gender. But quite frankly each person and each experience is unique enough that everybody has a unique viewpoint, it's not gender based.

I fully believe that it's only when we're BLIND to gender or race that we can truly say we've gotten rid of sexism or racism. Because the fact is every time somebody singles out women, for good or bad, they're still singling them out.

We're all people. We should all be treated as human beings.

And quite frankly, the last girl said that being a woman director she has the deck stacked against her, and that attitude is not good enough. Go get some confidence. Go realize that you as a person have talent, and that you can make it on that talent and hard work if you don't let people stomp you down.

Don't be a woman filmmaker. Be a filmmaker. THAT is what this gender needs to prove we're just as good, to prove that we're not good "in spite of" we're not good "because of." We're just good.