So, let’s wrap up the whole PGL 3 thing (or PGL as a whole as it turns out) – given how much of this blog so far has been devoted to that.
(I just realised it’ll be one year tomorrow when I first posted on PGL 3.)
I notice from last year’s entries that I mentioned PGL 2 coming out on DVD but I didn’t comment when I finally got hold of it. I bought the box set that contains the TV show and the movie.
So it was another lack-lustre movie. It was another coming-of-age tale starring Shia LaBeouf as a war-reenactor highschool kid and his various struggles with family, friends and the girl he likes.
Actually the story had real potential and Shia in particular is a likeable and engaging lead. I think the problem – or at least the problem as the show portrayed it – was that there was a conflict between whether they cut it as a comedy or a heart-warming family drama (movie-of-the-week style).
The TV show was entertaining – perhaps more so than PGL 1 – but largely in a train wreck kinda way. This time they picked a writer winner and a director winner – where the director winner was a winning team of 2 guys. They were made the bad guys of the TV show – passive aggressive, non-communicative, changing things on the fly, etc. How much was true and how much was the show is hard to say – but it was interesting to watch.
But, I dunno, there’s a real disappointment for me that we haven’t had a really good movie come out of PGL yet.
Well things changed quite a bit this time. First, HBO had dropped the TV show but Bravo picked it up. Which actually meant 13 hour-long eps vs however many 30minute ones. The downside was that this is a less popular network and it’s been harder to find episodes online (I’m not in the US). So what I’ve gathered about the show this time has been from reading the online blogs and watching a couple of the shows only.
So they went genre this time – specifically horror. It was a very definite decision to try to get a more commercially successful movie. Let’s face it they need a hit and a low-budget horror movie (or other niche market) is perhaps easier to target. So they had Wes Craven as an executive producer – which means he appears as part of the selection panel in the early eps. His company bought Wild Card – which means it might get made into a half-decent movie.
Another change was that this time Miramax – who put up the movie budget – insisted that their guys do the day to day producing. Which means no Jeff Baliss but instead two guys from Dimension – Miramax’s horror production company. One side effect of which is why Feast got chosen. They basically said that they wouldn’t work on either of the other two finalist scripts. This led to a huge argument with Matt Damon apparently.
Partly in reaction to this, Damon and the others pushed through the choice of director Jon Gulager – despite a terrible interview. His obvious talents in filmmaking are somewhat let down by his interpersonal skills. Though it’s interesting that the blogs consistently praised him in reaction to the slating he was apparently getting on the show.
I guess the TV guys have to make a ‘story’ of it and Jon was the fallguy for that.
Anyway the TV show got cancelled 9 eps in due to bad ratings. The movie apparently is pretty good and they’re preparing a release in December.
So maybe the choice was always between good movie and good TV.
Oh and even if the movie is successful – Gulager comes from a Hollywood family. His father’s an actor, his friends and family are all in the business. So PGL’s idealistic goal of helping an outsider break into Hollywood is exactly what’s going on here.
So the PGL experiment is probably over. Even if Feast makes money it probably won’t bring the show back. If Feast is a surprise mega-hit – the next Blair Witch – then *maybe* we’ll get more PGL – maybe not.
Still – kinda fun while it lasted.