In Hindsight: On The Lot – Episode 1-5

Judging from the ratings and the new format, the powerhouse team of Burnett and Spielberg have found out something that they might not like – that most of the viewing public doesn’t care about who the next big director is, unless they’re directing a (not direct-to-video) sequel to a blockbuster popcorn flick.

So naturally, this week’s guest judge is Michael Bay, who knows a thing about blockbuster popcorn flicks. And throughout the hour, we get several gratuitous plugs for his July movie, Transformers, which I’m probably not watching, even though I’m a big Transformers fan. Given that it’s Bay, I’m sure that the movie will deliver on the action while having a piss poor story, but the shots we’ve seen of the Cybertronians so far remind me of the Ninjazord in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, and that bothers me a lot.

Also bothering me? While the show isn’t filmed in HD – and it’s a bloody shame since it’s a show that critiques direction, acting and production – we get a clip of Transformers that IS in HD.

Anyways, since I was talking about Transformers and gratuitous plugs, here’s one for Transformers at the Nexus, where Kaye, Charles and Alessandro give you the lowdown (am I allowed to say 411?) on all things Mecha.

Back to the show. The host is Adrianna “Costa”, who just might be worse than the Treasure Hunters guy, and your resident judges are Carrie Fisher and Gary Marshall. As stated previously, the guest judge is Michael Bay.

Now, since the show has been cut down to on episode a week, the voting process has been altered from American Idol-style to Last Comic Standing 3-style, where x number of directors (this week: 5) will show their films, and y of them (we haven’t been told how many) will be eliminated.

I should point out that emulating the Last Comic Standing 3 model of voting is probably not a good sign, given how thoroughly that season bombed. Of course, noone knew what the hell was going on there, either, so perhaps it’s rather fitting.

Anyways, we’re seeing five short films tonight, with the following criteria:

  • They can’t be longer than three minutes
  • They are done in five days

First up is Sam, whose short is entitled Broken Pipe Dreams. It’s about a guy who loses his engagement ring down the toilet on what I assume is the Big Day, and he can’t bring himself to fish it out due to a traumatic experience from his youth. It turns into a comedic thriller of sorts – it’s cute but I wouldn’t call it great. Still, it does a good job of telling a story without using a whole lot of words.

Carrie – It was very cute, very surreal.
Michael – I cared more about the fish than the guy. You took a two minute story and you stretched it to three minutes. It was fun.
Gary – I understood the plot of this film better than the three Mission Impossible movies.

It’s at this point that I notice that Jason is wearing a “Ghetta Rhoom” shirt. Personally I wouldn’t be that proud of that short, but that’s just me.

Next is Trevor, who debuts Teri. The idea is that he’s meeting an online date for the first time, and imagines what she looks like. It’s funny, using exaggerated stereotypes, with a happy ending, but it seems generic.

Carrie – I thought it was very cute, very well made.
Michael – You have good comic pacing with your editing, but you gotta work a bit more on your photography and a bit more on style.
Gary – The characters were more like caricatures. I think you can do a little better.

Our third competitor is Hilary, showing The First Time I Met the Finkelsteins. The premise is that a girl is meeting her boyfriend’s parents for the first time, and it’s not pretty. I didn’t think that this was very funny, and I see what Hilary was trying to do here – show political incorrectness in a humourous way – but it came off about as well as Ghetta Rhoom – that is, not well at all.

Carrie – You can write, but you do yourself a disservice with the camerawork.
Michael – In Hollywood it’s what we call a “groaner”, where the audience is laughing at you, not with you. Didn’t really work for me.
Gary – I got two words for you – Back Up.

Adam is next, and he says that Sam and Hilary are his biggest competition, implying that the contestants knew who the five directors would be this week. He cooks up Dough: The Musical, where a man is looking for a woman, and a woman is looking for a job. As you might expect, the lip synching is a bit off (especially with the woman), but the direction is fun, and the short feels longer than 3 minutes (in a good way). Very enjoyable.

Carrie – Incredibly original. It was a really good job, it was totally entertaining.
Michael – Very good job for five days. You got work a little bit more on your photography.
Gary – It was so theatrical I thought a curtain would fall down.

Our final contestant is Shalini, and she’s showing Laughing Out Loud: A Comic Odyssey, a documentary about a gay Indian comic. It’s an engaging story, but with only three minutes, there probably wasn’t enough time to showcase any of the actual comedy act. I was genuinely curious, since my favourite comedian also happens to be Indian – Russell Peters (check out his “someone gonna get hurt real bad” routine here). Again, this really could’ve done with a few more minutes to the story, but well done regardless.

Carrie – I thought it was really, really well made. I thought the advice, “be yourself,” you could do better than that.
Michael – In three minutes, you told a very succinct story, and you gave me a chill. Really, really great job.
Gary – You need to engage more.

Now, the judges tell us their favourite film of the night:
Carrie – Sam
Michael – Shalini
Gary – Adam

As for the 10 remaining contestants, they liked Shalini’s the best, and Hilary’s the least. Will that hold true next week? Hopefully, we’ll find out!

Sir Linksalot: On The Lot