So last night I ‘hung out’ on twitter with the creators of ‘Movie Night’ – a group of transplants to LA who ended up meeting while working at Warner Brothers as tour guides. As transplants they formed something of a surrogate family bonded by a love a movies, and it is that bond led to the creation of “Movie Night” the web series.

If I were to classify this show into a genre, it would very easily fit into the “LA web series” class with its references to local geography, weird dieting, acting and conspicuously low ceilings. It’s been fun watching so many series over the last couple of years and seeing how strongly many of them are defined by the city they were made in.

Technically the show is a standout. For a series shot entirely in bland apartments they managed to keep the whole thing visually interesting all the way through. It’s not just that the shots were properly executed, it was that they do it with style. Long takes, candle light, macro shots, close ups, it’s all there. They took their time with it and it shows.

The artwork, and the intro title sequence might just be the best I’ve seen this year. Tell me if you can catch all the references in it.

For a series shot in LA apartments I am shocked to have never noticed any audio issues, the mixes were great and the sound clean and clear. The visual style was ever so slightly slanted towards a warmer red and the editing was great.

‘Movie Night’ has a lot going for it, enough for me to put the series on my ‘creators to watch out for in the future’ list, but there is still a lot of room for growth. Often when I write this column and I get to the part about how the show can get better I end up talking a lot about production value and technical quality – things that come with practice and experience. When it comes to ‘Movie Night’ – as the last couple paragraphs can tell you – this show has all of that down.

Sometimes when I discuss shows on this level my critiques can come off as nitpicky or based on my own personal tastes, a valid criticism so take these as you will.

‘Movie Night’ is centered around references to classic films and a big dose of pop culture. The style is that of a constant back and forth between characters who are friends but always at each other’s throats. ‘Movie Night’ is highlighted by fast paced dialogue and pop culture repartee between characters imbued with a level of self righteousness that can only come from a deep personal knowledge that they are never wrong.

This is a double edged sword. The movie and pop culture references are great, but obviously not everyone is going to get every single one. During our viewing one of the actors would tweet out every reference they saw or remembered in the show. I’d say I was picking up on about half or a little less, and I would consider myself as someone with a decent knowledge of film and it’s history.

Also while ‘Movie Night’ is not as egregious of an offender as say, the creators of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise, references to pop culture alone are not always funny. Most of the references here do tie in to other lines of dialogue or situational humor that add to the depth of the show, but there are moments that don’t. Some, like the baking montage sequence that starts out episode seven are funny when you can follow the references, but might not be for those in the dark.

That the show leans on it’s film references is not necessarily a problem, it just means that the target audience of the show will have to be big time film nerds who watch for the references. General audiences are going to have a hard time relating.

One trend I have noticed in web series that seems to be inspired by a lot of modern comedies is exaggerated characters. The characters in ‘Movie Night’ were described in the chat as ‘exaggerated versions of ourselves’ a winning concept in theory but with some hiccups in practice.

This is one I struggle with because it has become a very popular style, so maybe I’m just out of the loop on it, but I have a hard time with characters who are too over the top, too unbelievable and too unlikeable. This is a solid depiction of just about every character given decent enough screen time in the show.

This is not to say that these characters aren’t funny, or quality. It’s more akin to saying that a dish is too sweet, or too spicy. Take for example one Dwight Schrute on The Office. These characters are all leaning a bit towards the Dwight end of the spectrum on characters. Still if every character on The Office was Dwight, the show wouldn’t have lasted as many seasons as it did. Dwight is the best character on that show specifically because there is only one Dwight, and his whackyness is balanced by Jim playing it straight.

The audience wants their every man, the one they can root for, the one who let’s them know that yes, this crazy shit going on is in fact crazy shit.

This gets back to why I consider ‘Movie Night’ one to watch. These critiques are really just simple adjustments that would serve to make me a fan, but the quality is all here, and most importantly the group of talented individuals who put all of this together are here. That’s the real key in the long run.

The times when I only get one person to represent a show on #WebSeriesWednesday are the times I’m most likely to see something sub par. Every single time I’ve gotten as good of a turnout for our tweet along as I did this week for ‘Movie Night’ the group has gone on to produce some of my favorite content.

Good news is that they are looking to produce a second season, if only they can just find a few nickels and dimes in their seat cushions.

You can find ‘Movie Night’ online at