Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Episode 13
Road Night

Well, that was a shock.
I was scared one of my favorites would go home tonight, but I didn’t think it would be Andrew.
And he was in the bottom two with Zach! Another shocker.
I’m really bummed to see Andrew go, and I’ll never quite forget the drunken aliens from “Spaced Out.”
Here’s hoping the right people are watching On The Lot and give Andrew the break he deserves.
I’ll be keeping my eye out for you, dude.

You know the drill…

MY FAVORITE: Will Bigham’s “Road Rage 101”
A guy stuck in traffic takes it out on his car… then his car takes it out on him.
Is it just me or is the caliber of the work going down as we head into the home stretch? This was the only really good short tonight. Will’s choice of shots and editing are spot on, and the cars all coming together in musical union was an interesting (and chilling) note in this excellent entry.

Sam Friedlander’s “Backseat Driving Test”
A son gets back at his backseat driving mom by getting some expert help.
Unlike Carrie Fisher, I don’t think this is Sam’s best; in my books, that would be “Replication Theory.”
I mean, this one’s funny, sure, but we spend too much time preoccupied with the driving stunts, and the punchline is kind’a what you’d expect.

Adam Stein’s “Driving Under The Influence”
A guy gets a second-hand car, cheap, only to find out that the radio makes anyone who hears it, dance.
So Adam gave us “Dance Man” and “Dough: The Musical” (still your best, dude, and like Sam’s “Replication Theory,” definitely one of the best of the entire competition’s shorts). What does he do tonight? Give us more of the same, but bigger.
Of course, if we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that bigger isn’t necessarily better. (Look at any random sampling of sequels.)
Sure, we’ve got lots of dancing extras here, but in getting that large production number on the screen, Adam lost the charm that was so evident in his former, smaller, and far better work.

Zach Lipovsky’s “Bonus Feature Two”
And speaking of sequels…
We follow the adventures of the couple from Zach’s limp entry from last week, as they’re accosted by… pirates.
Granted, unlike many a sequel, this one is actually better than the original. But then again, the original was easily Zach’s worst short in the competition. (And he ended up in the bottom two because of it.)
I commend Zach for not lying to us when he said “To Be Continued Next Week,” but still. I understand Carrie’s frustration. Zach’s a whole lot better than this.
You gotta wonder, was Zach planning ahead when he had the DVD player in a car last week, so he could have a sequel this week, with the “Road Night” motif? But there was a reason why “Bonus Feature” was in the bottom two. So to follow up a short that nearly got him eliminated with this…
And pirates?!
Using elements that are currently cool on the pop culture radar is not a surefire thing; take a look at what superheroes did for Andrew. (And take a look at the trouble Mark Burnett is having with the dreadfully-titled Pirate Master.)
Snap out of it, Zach!

MY UN-FAVORITE: Jason Epperson’s “The Move”
Jerry O’Connell is conflicted about driving off with a bunch of furniture, only to leave the stuff (and a little surprise) out in the forest.
Jason took last week’s Box Office champ, and got O’Connell, but wastes him in this pointless exercise that feels like really really bad M. Night Shyamalan; you think one thing is happening, only to get a reveal that tells you that you were wrong.
The thing is, this reveal was a pretty lame one.
Oh, and look, my Un-Favorite category is back… Thanx a bunch, Jason.

Tonight, we get two guest judges, Penny Marshall, pinch-hitting for her bro (who’s apparently busy with Happy Days: The Musical), and Gary Ross. Pleasantville’s a personal favorite, so this was a treat for me.

Next week: shorts based on the winner of the On The Lot logline challenge: a man wakes up in a dress, but can’t remember the night before.
Cross-dressing hi-jinx galore!

(Contestant image courtesy of; Penny Marshall image courtesy of; Gary Ross image on the set of Seasbiscuit courtesy of

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