26 May 2005 | plarkin
An instructive course in movie-making
The first time I saw this, I agreed with all the other posters who say this is a BAD, BAD movie. Watching the acting is like eating old, cold popcorn with no butter, salt or anything. And the better I knew the actor to be, the worse the acting seemed. For this I blame the director. The plot was transparent, the characters cardboard, the motivations only hinted at or missing entirely. For this I blame the writer. The second time I saw it, it was vastly more entertaining because I knew not to expect any better, and I could appreciate the flashes of creativity, humor and even humanity that are peppered through the film.
The writer, Jim Geoghan (if that really is the writer's name/identity -- have you taken a look at his photo? is that for real?), has mostly written for sitcoms. The punch-punch-punch, joke-every-ten-seconds style needed to keep the attention of the average sitcom watcher does not translate well onto the movie screen, and the 22-minute time frame doesn't lend itself to the habit of thinking deeply or extensively (or sometimes at all) about character, meaning, emotion, motive or the nature of creativity.
The director, Kelly Sandefur, appears also to have gotten his start in sitcoms, and the same comments apply. But he also seems to have mainly done Visual Effects Filmography, which explains a lot. Just as movies directed by long-time stunt performers tend to have lots of spectacular stunts, sometimes (often) to the detriment of the story and music video directors tend to create chaotic, nihilistic, iconoclastic films, this film looks just great, but the other qualities suffered.
In fact everything about the look of this film is really very good. The cinematography, lighting, staging, focus, sound -- everything technical is in fact excellently done.
The serious film student, especially one with ambition to make films of one's own some day, can definitely profit from a study of this film and its faults and its strengths. The main lessons: writing is important. Match your writer to your subject. For example, the humorous parts of this film fell flat because the writer is used to a laugh track guiding the audience to the (intentionally) funny parts. A playwright can often write a more effective script because he's not used to relying on a sound track to guide the emotion of the viewer -- he has to do it with the story. Also, match your director to the material. Don't ask a music video director to direct a tender love story, or any scene that lasts longer than three minutes. And if you ever get to make a movie (and if you can afford it), get all the technical crew of this movie to work for you! But first, see to the writing. A badly filmed great story will be easier to watch than an excellently filmed mediocre story.