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08/10/2003 Archived Entry: "Red Light, Green Light"
Posted by CKL @ 11:54 PM PST

Tonight, DeeAnn and I watched the last episode of Futurama (wah! but thank ghod for DVDs) and the third-to-last episode of the second season of Project Greenlight ("PGL" if you're hip, or employed by Miramax's marketing division). Then, not coincidentally, we went to the QuickTime web site and watched the trailer for The Battle of Shaker Heights, the film whose making is documented in PGL2. DeeAnn ("D" if you're hip, or monosyllabic) remarked that the movie advertised in the trailer is a far cry from the movie which we've seen the production team discussing on the show.

This last episode ended with a public test screening of Shaker Heights, which scored a disappointing 48 out of 100-- according to the producers, 55 is average, and 82 is American Pie. I suspect the final two episodes will include a lot of frantic re-editing and the novice directors butting heads yet again with people who know better. I'm so amused. This, my friends, is great television.

Also not coincidentally, on Friday night, we watched Stolen Summer, the first PGL movie. It didn't suck-- there were some good moments in it, mostly involving Aidan Quinn and Bonnie Hunt-- but it showed a lot of seams. Salon.com's review pretty much says it all: "Stolen Summer isn't so bad that it's an embarrassment, but it does have an unfocused, amateurish sheen."

Does documenting the creative process cheapen it or interfere with its purity? I don't know, but hey, people were making crappy movies long before Project Greenlight ever got greenlighted. (Pun intended.) And just like any other no-purchase-necessary, void-where-prohibited, all-American sweepstakes, the big prize comes with strings attached.

Replies: 2 comments

My Husband and I are avid movie watchers and love disect the plots and the acting ability of the characters. This is our only experience with making a movie - being on the receiving end. We happened to channel surf to the first episode of this years Project Green Light. We were enthralled. It was so much fun to watch such varied personalities at play with the goal of making a successful movie.

We excused ourselves from dinner parties early, left family gathering and canceled plans just to see each new episode unfold on the scene. (Yes were do have a VCR and can program it but that wasn't the point.)

In the end we talked a lot about what we had learned and decided that making a movie is much harder, more involving, and emotionally draining than we had ever imagined. The experience of watching it done has given us much appreciation for those talented people who made "Lord of the Rings" or "Pirates" not to mention all the great movies we have enjoyed for so many years.

Thanks to everyone involved with this project. We learned so much.

Beverly & Lorren Fletcher

Posted by Beverly Fletcher @ 09/19/2003 02:03 PM PST

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