The new season of Project Greenlight is upon us! After an interesting first season of the series, which follows the production of a budgeted feature film, backed by none other than Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the product ended up being the inept comedy Stolen Summer, which did next to no business in limited release. The second time around, the product was The Battle of Shaker Heights, which was even worse and caused the show to move to Bravo for its largely forgotten third season. It’s back at HBO now and the duo behind the script for Good Will Hunting are again trying to shape a decent comedy out of a bright young filmmaker.
The trailer teases the same feuds and sudden eruptions of ego and catastrophe that plagued the first two seasons of the show, with the latest director asking to rewrite the script at the afterparty for him securing the deal with Damon and Affleck. It’s a terrific idea that’s never felt quite as insightful as it should, and part of that comes from the fact that what Damon and Affleck seem to be looking for is a helmer of crowd-pleasers, rather than a director with a genuine, radical style. The thrust of the show is more to crack the code of how to make an indie hit like Clerks than to actually detail the challenges of filmmaking, and it comes loaded with the same half-truths of any reality television show. To that point, the Farrelly brothers are consultants on this season, and though they are talented screenwriters, the fraternal duo have never been known for their audacious sense of framing, pacing, or editing.
The tragic reality of a show like Project Greenlight is that it’s end result is finding someone who can follow the rules and work in a pinch, rather than finding a filmmaker who can work within their own rules and still deliver a formally remarkable comedy. After all, Andrew Bujalski, Alex Ross Perry, Joe Swanberg, and Hong Sang-soo all make great modern comedies, and none of them needed a set of criteria to do so. Still, we can only hope that this next season of Project Greenlight will break the chain, especially considering that Affleck is now a respected filmmaker.
Here’s the trailer for Project Greenlight:
Here’s the full poster for Project Greenlight Season 4 as well: