For thirteen weeks, I’ve watched a ratings dud simply because it had the slightest cinematic relevance and then written about what I’d seen. Finally, Fox’s “On the Lot” has ended and the development deal winner has been announced. But does anybody care?
Honestly, probably not. The fact that I’d predicted which filmmakers would be getting the boot for weeks upon weeks led me to believe that I was the only one watching and my voting was a big piece of how things were turning out. Then I remembered that I wasn’t voting, no one I knew was voting and so that theory was done.
Anyway, here we are in the final week, down to three finalists: Will “Silent Film” Bigham, Jason “Getta Rhoom” Epperson and Adam “Not Quite as Good as Will or Jason” Stein. The show started just as lame as it possibly could with an outside theater facade, obviously set up on a stage somewhere, peopled with folks pretending to give a s**t about the finalists as they walked into the “theater.” Case in point, the little girl who goes nuts when they walk in… yeah, you’re not going to get anywhere over-acting like that. As Jim Carrey and Mike Myers have proven, that card only works for so long.
Carrie Fisher and Garry Marshall were introduced, and Carrie was rocking some severe cleavage which simply made everyone fondly remember the gold bikini in “Return of the Jedi.” Okay, so it made me fondly remember the gold bikini, no one else was watching. This was followed up with a re-cap of all of the previous weeks, leading me to slam my head on the table as I realized all I really needed to do was watch the finale and I could’ve saved myself the previous weeks of torture. F*****g Fox bastards!
Then, awkwardly, the previous contestants sat down on-stage and got the softball questions lobbed at them from Adrianna, as if anyone cares. Still, with an hour of time to kill, they had to do something, right? So how about they recycle the shorts? I’ll admit it was cool that the three finalists got to pick the shorts we were going to see. Of course, when Adam chose Zach’s “Die Hardly Working,” it really underscored just how big of a nose-dive Zach took from being the man to beat to being eliminated prior to the final show.
Will went with Hilary’s “Under the Gun,” which was notable for the great usage of Lynn Shaye and the plot of a sperm bank robbery. While it has its moments, it showed why Hilary was nowhere near the final three.
The show then rocked a montage of the judges best (or worst) comments, which offered up a possible reason why the show failed, as the judges feedback didn’t really MEAN anything. They didn’t get to choose who won, the audience did, and as Jason showed when he got slammed by Carrie that first week, it doesn’t matter what the judges think if America likes it. Pretty much sums up how it feels to be a film critic too.
Jason went with Mateen’s “Catch” for the final favorite short of the finale, and it was nice that Mateen got some additional attention. Mateen was one of the filmmakers who was loaded with potential, and the short film format of the competition didn’t lend itself to Mateen’s strengths. We’ll be seeing more films from Mateen.
When the finale started focusing on the behind-the-scenes of the final three as they made their shorts, it made me wish they had gone with fewer filmmakers at the beginning of the series, and allowed more in-depth of the filmmakers’ personalities and styles AS they filmed; it would’ve been more compelling television. As a simple exhibition of short films, it fell way too short. I guess I wanted more “Project: Greenlight” and less “American Idol.”
And now on to the winner of “On the Lot.” As some may remember from last week (like, my mother and anyone else who may’ve actually read my column), I predicted it would come down to Will and Jason, and that most likely Will would take the title. Well… I was right:
Will Bigham won “On the Lot.”
I will admit that I knew that Will had won Saturday night. A friend informed me that the finale had already been pre-taped, and that Will was the winner. So, for those thinking the show delivered on the live whimsy… well, in my mind, pre-taping the finale was the last f**k-up Fox could pull off, so OF COURSE, having screwed up at each step of the way, they’d have to do something else for the finale.
Anyway, admission number two, Steven Spielberg is one of my favorite directors, and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is my favorite film of all time (judge me all you want, I’m not going to lie). Seeing anyone get to meet Spielberg warms my heart and, you know, makes me envious. Still, and I’m not saying the final moments of “On the Lot” redeemed the weeks of Hell that ran previously, it sure was nice to finally see Spielberg associated with the show he had been one of the guys behind, and kudos to Will for winning.
Now I can finally forget about “On the Lot,” and focus on enjoying the upcoming season finales of “Entourage” and “Flight of the Conchords” (two shows that will be having additional seasons because they didn’t suck).
– Mark Bell, Editor-Off-the-Lot