Thursday, August 02, 2007

On the Lot: road week

It's road week on ON THE LOT. Out of the gate we learn that Andrew will hit it, Zach almost gets sideswiped by the viewing public's votes, and Jason cruises to the pole position, which earns a ride-along with Jerry O'Connell.

If you can make judgments by what little we know of the results, Jason should be the odds-on favorite to win. (His GETTA RHOOM mystifyingly landed in the top three in the show's early days.) Then again, there's no way of knowing who the public likes because typically all we've learned is who is voted off. For as much dead time structured in the show, you'd think that they would announce who got the most votes and give that director's film an encore.

I expected Zach's short to play well, but since everyone else is utilizing special effects, maybe he's lost his early edge. Computers have democratized FX work to a certain extent--anybody can do it with a little knowledge--meaning that Zach's output doesn't stand out like it did when their submission films were airing.

But enough theorizing...

Adam's DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE features a car radio that makes people dance against their will. So he got the embedded ad assignment this week. He's done this musical/dance thing before, and it feels like been there-done that. It ends on an off note, mainly because I don't think he knew where to end it. Ambitious? I suppose. Interesting? Eh.

Wow, they're really showcasing host Adrianna Costa's breasts tonight. (Sorry searchers, I still can't direct you to any dirty videos you're looking for. Apparently I have the right combination of words to fool the search engines and bring you here.)

Sam's BACKSEAT DRIVING TEST gets points for having a novel concept, which is about the best thing that can be said for these films every week. That was true for his last film, his wedding invitation stamps comedy, although the execution wasn't that hot. Here a backseat driver mother gets her comeuppance. It's not bad. Lin Shaye, part of the show's repertory cast, plays the nagging mother, so he paired the role and actor well. That begs the question of how the directors choose their actors. Is it a fantasy sports-like draft? The behind-the-scenes aspect of this show has to be more interesting than the films.

Zach's BONUS FEATURE TWO is a sequel to the film that almost got him eliminated, and it's a weird effort. The guy has talent, but I'm not sure his strength is screenwriting. His young lovers end up among pirates, a bad sword fight ensues, he gets all meta in his humor with a joke about the soundtrack, and he ends on a CASABLANCA quote. The judges, including Penny Marshall filling in for brother Garry, seem to like it better than his previous film. I don't get it.

Jason keeps the motivation hidden in THE MOVE until the very end. I actually sort of liked it even if it doesn't make the most sense. If we're giving credit for originality and somewhat relatable material--hey, I'm grasping at straws--then I'll pass him. I can't say that Jerry O'Connell gave him any advantage unless people remember the film because of his presence.

Will's ROAD RAGE 101 about a car that gets revenge on its abusive driver has some nice touches. I particularly liked the angry car's stereo display turning red. The car doesn't "fight back" as much as I expected or was needed, but it's hard to dislike the film or the mugging-for-the-camera director. Or maybe I'm a sucker for anything with Satie's Gymnopédie No. 1.

The winning entry in America's logline challenge is about a man who wakes up in a dress but can't remember what happened the night before. The remaining directors will have to use this as the basis for their next films. Oh boy.

Hey, wait a minute! What's this about the finale being on a new day--August 21? I thought we only had to suffer through two more of these? Maybe they're skipping a week. Knowing this show's haphazard production, someone didn't do their math properly.

The ON THE LOT site now hosts full episodes, which means that it's possible for me to keep up with the show while I'm on the road next week. Don't count on it happening, especially since installing a plug-in is required.


  1. Nothing good this week. I don't miss the girls, but I do miss crazy Kenny.

    I disagree with you about Jason's film -- the artificial tightness (and therefore smallness) of the film necessitated to keep the twist a secret made it really awkward to me. But it's nice to see that Jerry O'Connell has gone from low-rent Tom Cruise to low-rent Jason Bateman without breaking a sweat.

  2. Dave C5:55 PM

    "For as much dead time structured in the show, you'd think that they would announce who got the most votes and give that director's film an encore."

    The original plan, if I remember the first few episodes correctly, was to announce the top "box office winners" and make a big deal out of it. I had completely forgotten about that concept until you mentioned it this week. And you're right - with so much desperation to fill time, why not kill three minutes with a rerun of a popular film?