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"Project Greenlight"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Project Greenlight" More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Idea and the Show Could Have Been Better

Author: bosochima from Chicago, IL
12 February 2002

Project Greenlight is the brainchild of actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and Producer Chris Moore, the trio that brought `Good Will Hunting' to the screen. The show is based on a competition during which wannabe directors submit their scripts to Live Planet, the trio's production company, with the winner getting the opportunity to turn their script into a film, courtesy of Miramax. The series follows the exploits of the contest winner, Pete Jones, as he directs his feature, `Stolen Summer.'

Having worked on film sets before, I know that movie shoots that go well can be pretty boring places to be. The hours are long and the work is hard, but basically you set up, you shoot, you have lunch, you shoot some more, then you go home. It seems to me that the P.G. creators and producers stacked the deck against Jones to wring out as much `drama' as they could. First they give Jones, who has never directed a film before, less money and less time than would be optimal for the movie he is making. Logic would suggest you would want to give a neophyte more time and cash to make mistakes, do things over, etc. Logic would also suggest you would surround the newbie with the best people you could get to provide support and guidance. Instead, Jones is hooked up with a first-time Producer (Jeff Balis) and a Line Producer (Pat Peach) and cinematographer (Pete Biagi) who seem more interested in furthering their own personal agendas than making the best film for Jones. All through the series the question of `Who's in charge?' hangs in the air, with Executive Producer Chris Moore coming by the set to yell at people and threaten Balis with firing (as opposed to, say, providing genuine leadership and guidance to the production) and studio suit Michelle Sy occasionally dropping in to `represent the interests of Miramax,' whatever that means.

The series shows all the major screw-ups on the production – Jones shoots under a noisy train platform that renders sound recording impossible, the big baseball scene is rained out and the crew does not have an alternative location, the scene of the two main characters swimming is hindered by the fact that the child actors are terrible swimmers. The crew gets worn down but soldiers on through the confusion, taking note of such basic directing/producing mistakes as not having a daily shot list. The series is very good at depicting just how chaotic movie making can be, especially when the people calling the shots do not really know what they are doing. Unfortunately, the series did not show anything that went well on the set. Despite the numerous gaffs depicted in the show, a movie apparently did get made. It would have been nice to see how the crew went about crafting and shooting a normal, regular scene, without all the conflict that went on behind the camera.

The last episode of the series showed Stolen Summer's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It seemed the reactions of the audience to the film were upbeat, but not overwhelming. I hope the film is good – I'll probably check it out when it goes into wide release. I also hope the mistakes depicted in the series do not hurt Jones's chances of directing again. All in all the idea of Project Greenlight is an admirable one. Any opportunity for fresh talent to break into the insulated world of major films can't be bad. If Affleck and Damon decide to do this again, however, I hope they forget the whole reality series angle and just give the contest winner the money and people he or she needs to make the best film they can.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I love this series!!

Author: CoenHead from Southeast TX (USA)
5 February 2002

I've never seen anything like this before - where the making of a movie is unmasked from start to finish. We see it all - warts, nose hair, the works, all the interesting behind-the-scenes stuff which you really don't get a taste of otherwise unless you are actually in the production side of the movie business, and HBO and the Project Greenlight staff deserve a great deal of credit for putting this together.

The movie involved in this documentary, "Stolen Summer" appears to be a train wreck from hell, with a childish script, a novice, completely untalented director (Pete Jones), and a faux artiste director of photography. It is perfect for a behind-the-scenes expose because there are so many engaging conflicts in its production. Let's start with the "auteur" - Pete Jones, who wrote what from all appearances seems to be a wholly inadequate screenplay and who was selected to direct this for reasons unknown. He is passive-aggressive, clearly hasn't a clue how movies are really made and doesn't have the first idea how to manage the production crew at his disposal. It is hilarious to see how stupidly he directs this movie - throwing his lot behind a director of photography who is clearly only interested in his own self-interest. Further, Mr. Jones doesn't have the first clue how to frame shots or how to obtain good performances from good actors, let alone untrained kids. Then there is the illustrious Mr. Jones pontificating on how he has a "track record" after three weeks of shooting - classic !!!! He truly has no understanding of how lucky he was to have been given this chance to direct a movie and how many other, far more talented writers and directors would have done a far better job on the film. I can't wait for Stolen Summer to be released just so I can see how bad it truly is - I'm thinking it might just be the worst movie of 2002 !!

Now let's deal with the director of photography - who apparently feels that the most important thing in moviemaking is delay, delay, delay - who couldn't set up a shot quickly if his mother was on fire and he had to get the shot in to go put the flames out. His artistic pretensions in full bloom, he spouts off reverently of his "European" orientation, blah blah blah....and Pete Jones trusts this guy??? Please !!!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Can dreams *REALLY* come true?

Author: Aussie Stud from Providence, Rhode Island
6 December 2001

This imaginative, creative and inspiring 'reality' series was created by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris Moore. The three men set up a competition via the internet aptly titled, "Project Greenlight" and encouraged aspiring screenwriters, directors and film-makers who wanted a chance to have their dreams and creations turned into an actual film that would be screened nationally, to send in a copy of their screen-plays. Out of an astounding 10,000 plus entries from all around the U.S., the number was narrowed down to 10 where each successful entrant was flown to L.A. to meet with Damon, Affleck and Moore and the head honchos at Miramax Films to try and pitch their ideas.

The next 10 was broken down into the final 3 where the deciding jury spent a grueling 6 hours in a hotel room trying to decide which entrant would be the winner. It was quite obvious that all of the 10 finalists were deserving people, but to break it down to three and decide who the winner out of that bunch would be was really tough. Out of the final three, Pete Jones, a native Chicagoan married man with a young daughter was chosen as the winner.

With Pete Jones behind the camera to direct his first feature film, Miramax Films has agreed to produce his film for $1 million. The question this series will have to deal with is if it is realistic that a project of this magnitude can be kept under that budget.

This series is comprised of 10 episodes and is shown on HBO. It is unfortunate that such a small audience will get to view this extraordinary series that examines the film industry and the people involved at close detail. I feel that every film student throughout the U.S. and the world would find this show to be inspiring, very informative and could benefit quite a lot from "Project Greenlight".

Kudos to Matt, Ben and Chris! This series gets a 10 out of 10!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fabulous peek at the Glamorous Life

Author: Damir Smitlener (damir00@yahoo.com) from Boston, USA
22 February 2002

Ok, maybe not so glamorous - but then that's a useful thing to learn, no?. This multi-part docudrama takes a fascinating look at making movies by following the making of a movie by a first-time director.

I only hope they put this on DVD so others can learn from their mistakes. ;-)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very entertaining, but...

Author: funnyguyla from Los Angeles
14 October 2002

I enjoyed the Project Greenlight series, however, I think a lot of it was BS. I think a lot of the conflicts we saw were staged to make the show more compelling, and the only one who wasn't in on it was poor Pete Jones. Why wouldn't they have made sure the child actors could swim before they cast them? Why was Chris Moore constantly yelling at Jones as if he were an experienced director who should have known what he was doing, when he was just some guy who won a contest? Why did they pick a DP who was such a pill? Was this really the best script out of 10,000, or was it the one they thought the most things would go wrong on? I think we all know the answer.

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Everything Good and Bad about Independent Film

Author: caspian1978 from Boston, MA
2 September 2002

It's safe to say that every film studies class in the country will have to watch this documentary series in order to graduate. Not that anyone student would have to be forced! This is an amazing series from HBO that tells the truth about the struggle to make a "Hollywood" Independent production. From the very important pre-production, to the filming itself, it is all amazing to watch and learn what it takes to get it done.

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A bunch of white boys their chests.

Author: (Surfivors@aol.com)
19 January 2002

Trying to make a low budget independent feature movie is always an interesting lesson in futility. It reminds of that line in "Body Heat" when William Hurt visits his client, Mickey Rourke in jail: "When you commit a crime, there are 50 ways to screw up. If you can think of 10 of them - you're a genius". Although this does give an interesting "behind the scenes" look at the complexities - the process is somewhat tainted by the fact a camera is ever present. What we are left with is a bunch of white boys beating themselves on the chest in a battle over self importance.

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Good show about what looks like a bad movie.

Author: BenjCarr from Atlanta, GA
10 January 2002

Watching this one-disaster-after-another reality show, I can't help but wonder if Pete Jones realizes just how lucky he is and how much scrutiny he's under. I mean, he's been pushy, demanding and silly on the set. He's not following a shot schedule or taking advice from anyone, particularly Chris Moore (who comes off in this show as a sort of wiseass, common-sense-spouting hero).

Incidentally, did you count how many drinks Ben Affleck had in the first episode? No wonder they sent him to rehab.

"Stolen Summer," which had a script that Matt Damon said sounded too much like an afterschool special, looks like it's going to be painful to sit through, but this show makes me want to suffer through it.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very entertaining, but...

Author: funnyguyla from Los Angeles
14 October 2002

I enjoyed the Project Greenlight series, however, I think a lot of it was BS. I think a lot of the conflicts we saw were staged to make the show more compelling, and the only one who wasn't in on it was poor Pete Jones. Why wouldn't they have made sure the child actors could swim before they cast them? Why was Chris Moore constantly yelling at Jones as if he were an experienced director who should have known what he was doing, when he was just some guy who won a contest? Why did they pick a DP who was such a pill? Was this really the best script out of 10,000, or was it the one they thought the most things would go wrong on? I think we all know the answer.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I love this series!!

Author: CoenHead from Southeast TX (USA)
5 February 2002

I've never seen anything like this before - where the making of a movie is unmasked from start to finish. We see it all - warts, nose hair, the works, all the interesting behind-the-scenes stuff which you really don't get a taste of otherwise unless you are actually in the production side of the movie business, and HBO and the Project Greenlight staff deserve a great deal of credit for putting this together.

The movie involved in this documentary, "Stolen Summer" appears to be a train wreck from hell, with a childish script, a novice, completely untalented director (Pete Jones), and a faux artiste director of photography. It is perfect for a behind-the-scenes expose because there are so many engaging conflicts in its production. Let's start with the "auteur" - Pete Jones, who wrote what from all appearances seems to be a wholly inadequate screenplay and who was selected to direct this for reasons unknown. He is passive-aggressive, clearly hasn't a clue how movies are really made and doesn't have the first idea how to manage the production crew at his disposal. It is hilarious to see how stupidly he directs this movie - throwing his lot behind a director of photography who is clearly only interested in his own self-interest. Further, Mr. Jones doesn't have the first clue how to frame shots or how to obtain good performances from good actors, let alone untrained kids. Then there is the illustrious Mr. Jones pontificating on how he has a "track record" after three weeks of shooting - classic !!!! He truly has no understanding of how lucky he was to have been given this chance to direct a movie and how many other, far more talented writers and directors would have done a far better job on the film. I can't wait for Stolen Summer to be released just so I can see how bad it truly is - I'm thinking it might just be the worst movie of 2002 !!

Now let's deal with the director of photography - who apparently feels that the most important thing in moviemaking is delay, delay, delay - who couldn't set up a shot quickly if his mother was on fire and he had to get the shot in to go put the flames out. His artistic pretensions in full bloom, he spouts off reverently of his "European" orientation, blah blah blah....and Pete Jones trusts this guy??? Please !!!

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