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By Mark Bell | June 21, 2007

Last week was an interesting one, in that all theories about Fox speeding up the competition by eliminating four out of five directors were tossed out the window when four directors moved on and only one, Trever James, was shown the door. If we lose one director a week, this show has got, what, THIRTEEN MORE WEEKS!?! And considering last week’s episode delivered even worse ratings than usual, we all know there is no way this can continue as is.

Honestly, they should’ve elminated four and advanced one, and made for a more cutthroat, compelling experience. As is… slow and boring. Is this the face of filmmaking I want the world to know? Or the filmmakers?

The biggest problem with this show is the lack of anyone to root for. It’s more of a game of hoping for Arrogant Prick of the Week to lose over wanting anyone to win. Hopefully as the show goes on (and it’s a weekly betting pool over just when this show gets cancelled) my feelings will change in this regard, but as of right now… eh, let’s just talk about this week’s episode.

The Elimination…
Right off the bat, no two filmmakers waiting around like last week, Marty Martin got the boot. Did he deserve it? Yes, guy went two rounds making trailers instead of shorts, got mouthy when criticized… he’s got some work to do as a filmmaker, and now he’s got a headstart.

The Judges…
Garry Marshall and Carrie Fisher aren’t going anywhere, it seems. So who’s the special guest judge this week? How about writer/director Wes Craven!?! Considering no one has veered remotely close to horror, you get the feeling Wes is going to be bored out of his mind.

The Shorts…
No guidelines anymore, seems like they’re just making shorts about whatever, so here goes:

“Glass Eye” Directed by Will Bigham
Should’ve sold that the guy was slapping at a fly and not randomly beating himself. Cute, WAY too long, thought the male lead was a little weak. Not Will’s best.

“Blood Born” Directed by Jason Epperson
The answering machine dialogue was practically unintelligible, very eerie filmmaking-style… to Jason’s credit, while I wasn’t 100% on board with the drifting camera / flashes style, he took a whole new approach and showed growth as a filmmaker. The ending with a possible drive-by was weak, he went too far for faux-edgy. Once again, however, this being nothing like “Getta Rhoom,” shows that Jason is one of the few to step outside his comfort zone to make something wholly original… for Jason.

“Sunshine Girl” Directed by Zach Lipovsky
FX wiz-kid Zach follows Jason’s lead and steps somewhat out of his comfort zone to make a dramatic short that… is actually pretty good. The idea of a kid pulling the sun from the sky, world descending into chaos and then kid conquering her fears to put the world right… that’s just sweet. Still like to see how he does with something that involves more than three lines of dialogue, but once again he’s proven to be the filmmaker to beat.

“Lost” Directed by Mateen Kemet
The outdoors restaurant looked more like someone’s backyard, so art direction could’ve been better. Not entirely sure what the point of this short was, not really any character development. Mateen’s got chops as a filmmaker, it was a very adult piece, but, to agree with Carrie Fisher, it needed a bit more.

“The Orchard” Directed by Jessica Brillhart
Jessica’s first short was horrendous, and somehow she snuck through. This horror short, from a tree’s perspective… an interesting premise, but how can you have floating camera work as a tree’s perspective? Definitely the worst of the evening, and if life was just, she’d be gone next week, just as she deserved during the first cut.

Final Thoughts…
The last two weeks, my personal theory has started bearing out, that you can sneak through the door but talent is what keeps you in the room. As the films roll out, we get to see who really has the chops and the votes are starting to line up with quality (and by that, I mean MY definition of quality). That said, Jessica Brillhart should be eliminated next episode. Why torture her any longer, she’s made two awful shorts, been told as much… it’d be better to let her go.

Oh, and apparently Carrie Fisher has become the Simon Cowell of the show, considering how often her opinions were booed this episode. Carrie’s been on-point, so booing her is just silly.

You’ve got to wonder how long the show will continue if this episode shows lackluster numbers, but they’ve set up next week as a six film face-off, meaning they could tweak things so that only one advances in the next two weeks and the entire show ends in three so… we’ll see.

– Mark Bell, Editor-in-an-Orchard

Got your own opinion about this week’s screening episode? Are you one of the filmmakers? Join in the conversation at the Official “On the Lot” Discussion Thread.

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