Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Film Premiere 2

The rules for this batch of short films: write, shoot, and edit a short film with a running time of not more than 3 minutes, in 5 days.
Now, for some reason, the show decides that they’ll be pitting five of the remaining 15 directors against each other, and the one whose film scores the lowest numbers of votes from the audience, goes home next week. I’m curious to know though how the five directors were determined, or was it all totally random (which somehow, I don’t think is the case, ‘cause if it were random, they could’ve just pulled names out of a hat right then and there).

Anyway, with a field of five, I’m choosing to forego my usual alphabetical rundown of the short films that comprised my middle pack (neither my favorites nor my un-favorites) and cruise through the five films, going from my favorite to my un-favorite.
So without further ado…

MY FAVORITE: Adam Stein’s “Dough: The Musical”
An inspired and delightful tale of a baker searching for a woman to wed, and a girl searching for a job to pay the rent.
Not only does Stein display his songwriting skills (always good to wear a lot of hats in Hollywood), but he’s got some interesting wordplay with the title going, to reflect how two people looking for two entirely different things can come together and discover mutual satisfaction.
This one’s funny and heartfelt, and if I have one complaint, it’s that the actors’ lipsynching skills aren’t completely convincing. (I’m a lipsynching stickler, sue me.)

Sam Friedlander’s “Broken Pipe Dreams”
Ingenious short about a man with a toilet bowl trauma (see it to believe it) losing an engagement ring to the porcelain god.
After getting me solidly in his camp with one of my favorites last week (“Replication Theory”), Friedlander has fun with Mission: Impossible and moves the audience with the apparent death of a fish. I can safely say I’ve never spent any previous 3 minutes of my life quite like this.

Shalini Kantayya’s “Laughing Out Loud: A Comic Journey”
The life of a gay Hindu stand-up comic, just before he has his first big show.
This one was the only short film of the batch that tended more towards the dramatic than the comedic, though it does play like a confessional camera piece, and the final advice, “Be yourself” is sort of really Hallmark-y and trite. (Carrie Fisher said it a lot more nicely and without the snarky tone.)
Of the five, this was also the one that looked most like a music video/advertisement, thus gaining guest judge Michael Bay’s vote.
It was moving though…

Trever James’ “Teri”
Another funny blind date short, this one is passably entertaining, till we get to the end.
While Kantayya’s effort had an ending we’d pretty much seen before, “Teri” has sort of a non-ending, as all Ben’s nightmares about his blind date evaporate into the aether when the nice-looking, normal Teri shows up at his door.

MY UN-FAVORITE: Hilary Graham’s “The First Time I Met The Finkelsteins”
Once again, Graham ends up an un-favorite with this “first dinner with potential in-laws” concoction. Just as real-life dinners of this sort can turn out, this one’s a disaster.
The end result is just coarse and unappealingly vulgar. Of course, that’s because the Finkelsteins are coarse and unappealingly vulgar, but then again, this is from the woman who gave us “Bus #1” (where a woman just really urgently needs to pee), so you gotta wonder, why is she still here when Phil Hawkins was sent home last week?

I learned two things from this episode: that having Friedlander and Stein on my lookout list was so on the money, and that Michael Bay talks like he’s a director who’s far more talented and gifted than his films actually indicate.
Who knows, maybe he is, but dude, lighten up. You were only on the show to promote Transformers anyway, right?

Parting shot: Due to its less than stellar ratings, On The Lot has been pared down to one episode a week.

(Contestant image courtesy of; Michael Bay image courtesy of

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