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"On the Lot": The Logline Challenge

"On the Lot": The Logline Challenge

This week's episode of "On the Lot" started with a somewhat shocking elimination: Zach, the director who honestly seemed most likely to win from the very first week of the competition, was eliminated after last week's vote. Yes, I said his movie last week was one of my least-favorites, and I think Zach made a strategic mistake by making a not-great sequel to an even worse original film. On the other hand, I think he's one of only a couple of the "On the Lot" contestants who I think could actually have a career in Hollywood, and it's unfortunate that he won't be there at the end.


The remaining four guys were tasked with making a film based on a logline submitted through the logline challenge the show has been running all season: a guy wakes up wearing a dress with no memory of the night before. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of films that came from the logline; I think all four directors realized they needed to move beyond "hey, it's a dude in a dress!" and actually give us a story. The guest judge, by the way, was F. Gary Gray of Friday and The Italian Job. As for the contestants' films:

  • Will started off the night with The Yes Men. He said he wanted to focus more on the people around the man in the dress and go for something Coen Brothers-esque. I did get a little Hudsucker Proxy out of it, and there definitely was a man in a dress, but he really didn't deal with the second part of the challenge (about the guy not remembering what happened the night before) at all. Still, it had a cool screwball feeling to it. Carrie liked the dialogue and the fact that Will didn't feminize the man in the dress; F. Gary said it was well-designed and funny but he wanted a little more punch at the end; Garry said everyone was funny, from the lead to the supporting players, and that's a compliment to the director.
  • Sam followed up with Dress for Success. His interpretation featured a bunch of women getting revenge on their sexist, sexually harassing boss by making him wear a dress and heels while performing menial office tasks and, for some reason, walking on a treadmill while getting smacked on the butt. He emerges having been taught a lesson ... except then he suddenly starts sexually harassing guys instead. Something just felt off about the film, whether it was the pace or the tone, and I think he tried to hard for his big punchline at the end. Carrie said it wasn't original enough to separate it from other office films; F. Gary said the torture scenes and office scenes felt like two different movies, and Garry liked it fine but said it probably needed to be a bit better at this stage of the competition.

Two more films, so read more

  • Adam's film, Army Guy, involved stunt doubles, an actor and an actress playing multiple characters, and a fight scene that included literally taking someone's head off, as well as some baffling dialogue and an odd penis joke. I was completely confused until the big reveal at the end that the film's actual conceit was kids playing with a dollhouse; then, the film started to seem strangely brilliant, and I actually rewound to watch it again. Carrie said it was the most innovative film of the competition; F. Gary called it Fellini-esque but wished the audience had gotten a little more something to hold onto; Garry got to use the word "crotchsicle."
  • Jason finished off the show with Oh, Boy, about a guy who gets revenge on his high school nemesis by putting him in a dress, strapping a bomb to him and ordering him to do various embarrassing things — except it's not the nemesis after all. It had the trademark Jason cringe moment for me (this time a sex joke), but I have to give Jason credit for managing to tell a complete story, even when it's not a story I particularly relate to. Carrie and Garry both said that Jason is good at capturing his particular world; F. Gary said the movie seemed a little safe, but Jason has definitely improved.

Judges' favorites:
Carrie: Army Guy
F. Gary: Army Guy
Garry: Army Guy

I actually have to agree with them, though I don't think I was as in love with Army Guy as they all were; Will's film would be a relatively close second for me. My least favorite on the night was Sam's, and given that he was the only one to get truly negative feedback, I'd say he should be worried about going home.

And that's (almost) a wrap — next week is the final competition round! Who's excited? Who's still watching? And which contestants do you think will be there at the end?

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