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  Man Under Table Professional Jealousy
Year: 2021
Director: Noel David Taylor
Stars: Noel David Taylor, Ben Babbitt, Danny Lane, James Canto, Robert Manion, Alisa Torres, Frank Perry, Sarabeth Tucek, Katy Fullan, John Edmund Parcher
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: This guy (Noel David Taylor) thinks he's a writer. More than that, he thinks he can write movies, and has a bunch of ideas to implement, if only he could meet someone who would be willing to back them. The trouble is, they're all utterly self-absorbed in their own projects, and this is a source of frustration for him as he attempts to schmooze the producers, directors and other writers but is getting absolutely nowhere. What they want is for someone to realise their own visions for them, not do somebody else's, so you really have to be a personality in this industry city to gain a foothold: someone like Jill Custard (Katy Fullan), who actually gets stuff made...,

No matter how much the guy detests what she does as empty pretensions. From watching this microbudget comedy - at least, you think it's a comedy - you get the impression writer/director/star Taylor knew very well of what he was presenting here, and one thing was for sure, there was very little affection in what unfolded over the course of less than an hour and a half. There does not seem to be anyone specific he was taking potshots at, but only because he had aimed his satire at various types who were prevalent in Tinseltown, rather than someone in particular, yet if you knew the Hollywood indie scene, you may be aware of the sort of people who populated it.

The wannabes bigging each other up while others seethe with jealousy whenever something goes right for those they regard as their rivals, but would never admit as much out loud. The trouble with this was that Taylor was more or less stuffing what was already a niche movie with in-jokes that would likely only appeal to himself, so unless you despise YouTubers or indie filmmakers with ideas above their station, there would not be a huge amount to relate to here for the casual viewer. Couple that to a visual style that went beyond low budget and into the realms of home movies with its cheapo video effects placing the guy in what look like models of scenery made to prepare for the actual set being built.

Or the extras being played by blank cardboard cutouts for bar scenes and so forth, and you can imagine most potential audiences would find this something of a chore to get through. Despite it being so relatively short to experience. And yet, it appeared to be stemming from a place where Taylor was establishing what looked weirdly like a stern warning. The buzzwords the pseuds love to talk about, or at least pay lip service to, are fracking and identity politics, if your screenplay includes those things, you are immediately on their radar, and the guy, who is cornering the market in withering looks, drops them into conversation, barely concealing his contempt for the matters. Yet it does not register with these superficial folks, who plainly do not know the first thing about fracking or identity politics but now consider themselves authorities on the subjects.

That is purely because they want to look trendy and will abandon them both the nanosecond a new subject emerges that it's fashionable to talk about, having no genuine investment in such themes and cherrypicking whatever seems marketable for their own productions. The guy, as if to reject this, opts to work with an ageing director who it is clear (to us) is a loser who has no idea what he's doing, and wants to make his lead character a homophobic detective as some kind of statement against... political correctness? He has a bee in his bonnet about something, anyway, and it's just as useless as Jill Custard's right-on but vapid output. Not exactly the life and soul of the party, then, and apparently made for the grudgeful judging by the scathing gaze it places its characters under (which would appear to include its own director), but an achievement on almost nothing to get it made and released, nonetheless. Music by Danny Lane (who appears).

[Watch MAN UNDER TABLE first, on August 2nd 2021 - head to ARROW and start your 30-day free trial.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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