I confess that I know too little about Elvis Mitchell's activity as a film critic. His TV show out of which it looks like (according to IMDb) that only the eight episodes that I have seen were realized tries to be something similar to 'Actor's Studio'. Actors and directors are invited to talk about their work but especially about the films and actors that influenced their careers.
It's not a bad idea, and quite an interesting and intriguing theme for film fans like I am. Mitchell also has a good TV presence, he knows to ask questions and listen to answers, and as a TV viewer you know, feel, and in most cases resonate to his acknowledgment, questioning, or surprise to what the guest is saying. Here is where the parallel stops however, as episodes in'Under the influence' are too short, and do not follow a logical or chronological order in the discussions as these in 'Actor's Studio' do. The selection of the guests is also uneven, Terrentino, Pollack or Bill Murray are a different league than Norton or Fishburne, not speak about Joan Allen or John Leguizamo. Maybe if the show lasted more this would not have counted so much, but with a total choice of eight the selection seems weak. Despite the low numbers however, some themes and even films of the period seem to repeat, 'Tootsie' is mentioned by three if not four of the guests, which makes me suspect that the host preferences played a role, maybe too much a role in guiding the guest's confessed preferences. The principal misses however seem to be the absence of live audience which makes 'Actor's Studio' and interactive show and the too high ration between talking and film images to illustrate the talking. In the absence of more cinema material to watch the few episodes of 'Under the Influence' bring a few interesting point of views from the guests, but more than everything the story of a TV show about films that did not take off and we understand why.
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