Yesterday producer Glenn Zoller, an always thoughtful and generous fellow, sent me a short called Valibation, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) and produced by Ken Franchi.
“Valibation is pretty good — well acted and professionally produced with a certain visual discipline — and in some ways is very good, but it runs 21 minutes. Short films should not run longer than 14 minutes, and if you can bring them in at 10 or 12 minutes, so much the better. I was told this a long time ago. This could be trimmed down to 12 or 14 minutes and still make its points. Leaner is always better.
“It’s basically David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome with a tech update,” I went on. “I regret to admit the early part, before the gross stuff begins with the iPhone embedded in the guy’s hand and all, is a lot like me and my obsessive life. The CG messaging stuff is cool. I get it, it hits home. But the joke or the metaphor has more or less been delivered by the 11:00 mark, and after that you’re just waiting for it to end.
“And then towards the end the lead actor starts watching Singin’ in the Rain at 1.78 to 1? Stanley Donen shot it in 1952 at 1.33 and this bozo is watching it with the tops and bottoms chopped off? And then we get a close-up of his ass as he whacks off? The guy is a self-absorbed dick. This short is about basically about self-loathing. Ir’s basically really good for the first few minutes, then it’s pretty good until until the 10- or 11-minute mark and then it starts to slowly go downhill because we get it and can sense what’s coming.”