Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Episode 7

So, Marty’s sent home.
That was a bit of a surprise, and quick, as the news broke at the top of the show. Abrupt, but I guess ultimately, merciful, as two contestants didn’t have to endure the entire show before finding out whose time was up.
I did expect though that Kenny would go first, before Marty, given Kenny’s clearly non-blockbuster, non-mainstream brand of filmmaking.
And the other funny thing about Marty getting the least number of votes: how many blockbusting Hollywood thrillers out there are heaps of flash and style with the substance quotient—if any—coming in way behind? You’d think that there’d be a sizeable contingent backing Marty up. Unless it was Marty’s `tude that did him in.
Which brings me to a little something I’ve noticed.
I realize this is a reality show and there’ll always be a certain element of this going on, but some contestants are just playing up to the audience, when a lot of the time, they should just let the work speak for itself without having to try and garner votes by pushing buttons. Define yourself through your work and not your press, people.
And with that, let’s get on to this week’s batch of shorts.

Interesting batch tonight, and again, no Un-Favorite, so let’s kick it off, shall we?

MY FAVORITE: Zach Lipovsky’s “Sunshine Girl”
Another solid triumph for the wiz kid, this one is a heartbreakingly magical tale that manages to capture that elusive feeling of childhood in three achingly short and wondrous minutes. And the little girl gives one of the best performances of the night.
(Just go to and check this one out.)

Will Bigham’s “Glass Eye”
Like Will’s “Lucky Penny,” this one’s a nice little charmer about a man, his glass eye, and his dog. Props to Will’s wife, who sings Rigoletto in the background. (At least, Garry Marshall said it was Rigoletto, so I’m taking his word for it.)

Jessica Brillhart’s “The Orchard”
A horror short about a guy cutting a tree down to size.
Believe it or not, this one could have been a contender for My Favorite, but it lacked a punchline with teeth.
I mean, I get Jessica’s point, and the short looked great and she does manage to build mood and get some tension going, but I kept on hoping that tree would just b!tchslap the dude something fierce. (Or, you know, Evil Dead him.)

Jason Epperson’s “Blood Born”
Definitely better than Jason’s “Getta Rhoom,” this one’s about a drug addict who’s in a spot of trouble with some unsavoury people. Oh, and by the way, apparently, his blood can cure people of disease.
Interesting premise, even if the look was like bargain basement Marty Martin. And I get the irony too, that this gift is given to a lowlife scumbag and how that can rob the entire world of a miracle.
But the lead actor just didn’t have the chops, and Jason’s editing could use a little more work.

MY LEAST FAVORITE: Mateen Kemet’s “Lost”
Like last week’s “Beeline,” this wasn’t a bad short.
It was actually a rather good one, with some heavy mature material being dealt with (a couple confront some unresolved issues from their break-up). The dialogue was good, and the performances were better (along with the “Sunshine Girl,” the best of the night), but it just didn’t seem to have an ending that felt like an ending. (Or, as Carrie Fisher put it, “a third act.”)
We’re presented with the situation, but all we see are two people flapping their lips at a restaurant.
How do we know that the guy really has changed and that he’s got his priorities straight now? Because he says so.
How do we know that the girl really was being taken for granted and not just the really needy, clingy type? Because she says so.
Would it have helped if it had had a flashback montage of the couple in better times, with manipulative “cue the drama moments with some sad piano music playing” bits? Maybe, maybe not.
But at least we could have left that damned table.

Next week, six new comedy shorts.

Parting shot: I’m glad to see Kenny’s still in the game, though now, there’s no Marty for him to be the anti-Marty to…

Parting shot 2: It was also great to see Wes Craven, and though it’s been awhile since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a film he directed—Scream 2? Man, that was a while back—he’s one of those horror film icons who can sometimes still pull it out of the bag.
(I did enjoy Feast, on which he was an executive producer, as well as the Pulse remake, for which he wrote the screenplay. By the same token though, I did not enjoy The Hills Have Eyes 2 remake (review in Archive: April 2007), which he also produced and co-wrote the screenplay for…)

(Contestant image courtesy of; Wes Craven image courtesy of

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