Monday, May 28, 2007

On the Lot: 18 one-minute comedy films

The Lot continued tonight (Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, 2007) with eighteen one-minute comedy films from the finalists. The judges were Carrie Fisher, D. J. Caruso, and Garry Marshall. (Caruso replaced Brett Ratner, who had been a judge for the pitches.) I voted for four of these films to get 10/10 scores myself at

Spaced Out, by Andrew Hunt (from Minneapolis, and I lived there from 1997-2003 and got to know ifpmsp pretty well and went to a lot of indie film events there) had a UFO, a cop responding, and cute little robot-looking aliens who barfed on the cop.

Danger Zone, by Zach Lipovsky (from Vancouver, BC, itself a big film center) has the “domino theory” in a product safety lab where nothing can ever go wrong, until it can. There just a bit of Michael Crichton in this concept. Let the high school kids watch this and give them a video quiz on the details. (By the way, Zach, SAFEco is a major insurance company, especially for land title insurance.)

Check Out, by Shira-Lee Shalit, from Johnannesburg, SA, made a nice erotic fantasy out of the controversial TSA pat-down going through airport security (procedures which may change with better technology).

Replication Theory, by Sam Friedlander, took the common fart, again on an airplane in flight, and drew out the sky marshals, after some humorous fantasies and flashbacks (one of them back to “The Dawn of Man” in 2001). A blowout can be covered up if it can be replicated, or if it becomes flatulence and contributes enough to global warming.

A couple of other films should be mentioned.
Lucky Penny, by Will Bigham, from Texas (where I lived 1979-1988, in Dallas, with studios now at Las Colinas in Cowboyland – that is, Irving) has a “World According to Garp” effect with a falling piano and a poor slob who found a penny. I love the Pizzicato Polka music of Johann Strauss in the background

The most controversial and perhaps troubling concept came was “Getta Rhoom” (sic) from Jason Epperson of Kentucky. When a couple smooches in a movie, another patron tells them to get a room, and a poor guy whom Jason claims to be a nerd starts repeating it and gets thrown out of the theater, and then out of heaven. The reviewers felt that the character had “special needs” or was developmentally disabled, which could make the concept offensive. But he could just be very withdrawn (like some people with Aspergers) and not know how to communicate. The film suggests that certain people might have no place in the cosmos, which certainly sounds like a disturbing idea (compare to Ben Affleck's speech two blog postings up), given the lessons of history. The concept is certainly double-edged. The next night, we learned that this film finished in the top three, whatever its "offensiveness". Mainstream America is not as concerned about political correctness as Hollywood? Or is it different strokes for different folks?

Marty Martin, instead of a one-minute comedy, showed a trailer for a project “The Big Bad Heist” which seemed like a "Grindhouse", Tarantino interpretation of “Oceans 14” with a little bit of Smokin’ Aces thrown in. The cast did not include Ben Affleck (or Matt Damon).

British director Phil Hawkins, the youngest contestant, exploited the failure of 911 with “Get Hold” and somehow the clip reminded me of the Dogme 95 style of “Red Road.” (Phil was eliminated, but I thought his film worked.)

"Love in the Year 2007" (Shalini Kantayya) tried to connect Myspace (the "friends" list) with hatred of speed dating but didn't quite put all the pieces together for these socially important phenomena.

15 of the contestants remain for next week.

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