Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Episode 14
America’s Choice

Wow. Second nasty On The Lot surprise in as many weeks.
Zach. That is such a bummer. The guy I thought was a shoo-in for Final Three. Zach was like the Hiro of On The Lot, you know? The one who seemed the most enthusiastic and excited about the whole prospect of working with Spielberg at Dreamworks.
In retrospect, I think Zach just sort of stumbled badly with that one-two “Bonus Feature” fiasco. I’m almost sorry I pointed out the whole sequel/pirates thing last week.
Crap. Well, Spielberg better be watching his own show, and can spot the creativity in Mr. Lipovsky, or some other movie mogul is gonna swoop in and take him under their wing.
Zach, I’ll be watching for you, dude.

So tonight’s shorts all took off from the logline, a man wakes up in a dress, and can’t remember the night before.

MY FAVORITE: Adam Stein’s “Army Guy”
Sgt. Joe wakes up in a dress, and is constantly accosted by Candy, who wants to marry him, but Joe’s too busy tracking down the Russian scoundrel Dmitri, who also apparently has a thing for girly clothes…
Hands down the most ambitious short tonight, and the clear winner (all three judges thought so too). Though the reveal wasn’t really a surprise, and the film does owe a lot to Joe Dante (recalling Small Soldiers and Dante’s “It’s a Good Life“ segment from Twilight Zone: The Movie), Adam still delivers a good, solid, and fun piece.

Will Bigham’s “The Yes Men”
The big boss wakes up in his office in a dress, and all the lackies and the sycophants take note.
A great, absurd look at the working environment and just how far people are willing to go to get ahead, Will’s entry is the only short to pretty much sidestep the “why” of the dress and focus on the effects of it on the characters around it (as opposed to the character in it).

Sam Friedlander’s “Dress For Success”
A lecherous, chauvinist boss is taught a lesson by three female employees.
The short starts out good, with some Saw overtones, but stumbles into 9 to 5 territory, diluting the entire affair. (Guest judge F. Gary Gray rightly points out that the two tones don’t quite mesh.)
The punchline was okay though, and was quite possibly the reason why it played better for me than Jason’s short…

MY LEAST FAVORITE: Jason Epperson’s “Oh, Boy.”
A man wakes up in a dress on a suburban lawn, with explosives strapped to his waist. He’s then ordered to do ridiculous things, or else, boom.
Again, Jason doesn’t do it for me, and the ending he delivers (the best of a dozen, or so he claims) just plays like one of those hokey Hollywood, Hey, look! No one got hurt and no one died in this movie (even if, by all rights, they should have) endings.

So these are the shorts that are gonna determine who the Final Three are, and if past experience has taught me anything (just look at last week’s results), Jason will slide into Final Three like a greased pig.
So… I don’t really want to think about who’s going home next. Let’s just all be surprised next week.

As I mentioned above, tonight’s guest judge was F. Gary Gray, who brought us Friday, The Italian Job, and The Negotiator. Of that sampling of Gray’s work, I’ve only seen The Italian Job, which was one of those okay Hollywood heist films. You know, popcorn entertainment. But hey, at least Gray comes across a lot better than Michael Bay does.

Next week: Final Three.

(Contestant image courtesy of; F. Gary Gray image courtesy of

No comments: