Jul 15, 2007

I Left "The Lot" And Never Looked Back

I'm a fan of Steven Spielberg. I've seen nearly all of his work, and I feel that he's the epitome of the classic filmmaker (not a modern filmmaker, mind you; as much of a fan I am, I think the directors of A Band Apart are what I'd like to be if I was a director). I know he has been a producer for . . . ever, but some things I wonder if Spielberg just signed on for a paycheck only.

On The Lot is one of those occasions.

Filmmakers competing for a chance for a $1 million-dollar contract with Dreamworks, the studio Mr. Spielberg co-founded and sold to Viacom, who already owned Paramount Pictures (but that's a whole other story). At first, it seemed like a grand experiment. Then, all of a sudden, it transformed into a nerdy "American Idol" for film geeks. Hoping to see the show improve, it, alas, didn't. Fox pared down the airings from two episodes a week to one, and effectively killed the show, though the show is still on.

I can't totally blame Spielberg for the lacklusterness of On The Lot. Like Tiny Toons and Animaniacs before it, Spielberg's only the executive producer and has little to do with the series, and Mark Burnett, well, everything he does is scat.

Survivor (which he didn't create but acquired American rights to) wore thin after the second season, as did The Apprentice (but that wasn't totally Burnett's fault but rather the arrogant bastard who runs the show, you know, a man so vile he personifies six of the seven deadly sins (save sloth).

Needless to say, the first episodes of On The Lot intrigued the latent film geek in me, the former Dawson Leery within that wrote stories and the like back in grade school imagining them on the screen (I still do that, but with comics and novels only though). Then, they turned the series into "Filmmaker Idol," and it just ruined everything. In lesser hands, it probably would have been a better concept. Cross the initial episodes of On The Lot with a Project Greenlight-like environment without the audience participation, and it would have been a great series, not to mention a successful one. But alas, it was not meant to be.

The last time I felt this way was when I heard about and then saw NBC's "Fame" reality show a couple of years ago. The producers only used the "Fame" movie brand, but essentially made it into "Young America Can Dance and Sing." Nobody remembers it, and why should they? It was an abysmal series that only existed to capitalize on Idol's success. Again, in lesser hands, it could have been a great series.

I would have gone the same route as the original movie did, making it a four-year project at the same New York School of the Arts as in the movie chronicling several students as they evolve from freshmen to seniors. But that would take patience, and television execs don't have patience for anything. They want a show concept right now, which is why a lot of shows on the air seem rushed and unappealing.

Kind of like "On The Lot."

Jul 4, 2007

Transformers, Chipmunks, and That JJ Abrams . . .


Action, comedy, romance, intrigue, man, that completely blew away my expectations. Wonder why they couldn't do that kind of a movie back in the 80s? Oh, yeah, technology has advanced. I think you could do a movie like the original Toy Story on a home computer now. I didn't want Transformers to end, and there's going to be a sequel. So, if you haven't, GO SEE TRANSFORMERS!!!!! I'll review it in full on the main site in the coming days. Wait for it.

Second, when I left the movie, I saw a poster for the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. Without seeing a scene, I can safely say "No." No, no, no, no, NO!! Not another ill-concieved cartoon-to-live-action project. As if Underdog was bad enough, now we have . . . okay, realistic-looking chipmunks wearing the trademark colors, but not the trademark attire. Alvin . . . in a hoodie. I'll say no more.

Third, that JJ Abrams-produced movie trailer was probably the best movie trailer I've seen since the original Spider-Man trailer back in 2001. Twenty-somethings throwing a party for a friend named Rob and sharing their thoughts on their friend via videotape. All of a sudden, a loud screech followed by what is thought to be an earthquake rocks the city, briefly causing a blackout. Moments later, a series of explosions is seen deep in the city, almost as if the explosion is alive. Chaos erupts in the streets and the rolling head of the Statue of Liberty is seen.

From Producer JJ Abrams. 1-18-08. End trailer.

What is this movie about? What is the title? Why can't I get it out of my head? That's how you promote yourself. Keep the audiences excited, curious, and, in the end, hanging. This is the most interesting theatrical promo I've seen in a long time, and I'm already getting ready for the long weekend (partially because my 30th birthday concludes it that Monday).

Happy Independence Day

To the American readers of this site, happy Independence Day, the day a bunch of rich White slaveowners declared they didn't want to have anything to do with the British monarchy anymore, announced they were no longer British, and considered themselves (but not the slaves they owned) free. Of course, we celebrate this great day with explosions, cookouts, and other activities.

As a descendant of West Indian slaves, Creoles, Britons, Scots, Irish, and the Powhattan tribe, not really sure what to make of Independence Day myself, but since I am an American, I celebrate my country's 231st birthday this day.

To celebrate, here's a YouTube video celebrating two of America's greatest contributions to the world: Latin American music and television promos.

Enjoy, and happy Independence Day:

Jul 2, 2007

Happy Canada Day (observed)

Although yesterday was the actual day of celebrating the greatness that is Canada, today is the official observation date.

Oh, Canada. A beautiful country filled with creative minds, diverse viewpoints, and talented individuals. The home of YTV and Teletoon, not to mention several of my favorite animation studios like Nelvana, Mainframe, and Nerd Corps. Americans don't really give Canada its due, which is unfortunate.

So, on this day of days, celebrate the greatness that is Canada. Check out Storm Hawks on Cartoon Network. Go to iTunes and pick up a few tunes from Alanis, Nickelback, Avril, and Barenaked Ladies. Buy a couple of ReBoot titles if you can find them (or at least check out the awesome Art of ReBoot book in a bookstore near you). Watch a few episodes of Kids in the Hall, You Can't Do That on Television, DeGrassi, Eek! The Cat, DaVinci's Inquest, and Ed, Edd, and Eddy if you can.

Or check this out, a third of an episode of Class of the Titans straight from the show's official YouTube page (you can catch the remaining 2/3s there later). Class of the Titans. Interesting and fun show that, for the life of me, isn't on in the States in any form. Season two's coming up this fall, more than a year after the last season was completed. They take their time and much pride in their show.


Jul 1, 2007

Happy Canada Day

It's July 1, 2007, so I would like to wish all my Canadian readers a Happy Canada Day. Canada has given the world so much in the world of entertain - - what?

It's celebrated tomorrow? Oh! Well, I had a small post to say . . . guess I'll make it tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this small clip from Class of the Titans, a series Americans have yet to witness, and it's a bloody shame: