Spoils of Bablyon

Or more accurately, Eric Jonrosh’s the Spoils of Bablyon. This is a miniseries that played in the IFC (independent Films Channel), about a forbidden romance and the American dream.

When I first saw this miniseries, I wasn’t that interested in it. It was about romance, the love kind which I usually don’t go for. And romance, the idealistic kind, which I’m okay with. They had some big names in there, like Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig, but it really wasn’t the kind of plot I would go see.

Then I heard someone that did see it talk about the first two episodes. After that, I was all over it. Spoils of Bablyon is a serious love story as directed by a guy with not enough money and dubious talent: Eric Jonrosh. He wrote, scripted, produced, financed, directed and every other possible administrative position on the series, and it is wildly off.

In case you are still a bit confused, let me be clear in that the Spoils of Bablyon is a spoof of those serious drama stories. Every episode opens and closes with Eric Jonrosh, talking at the viewer about his process and thoughts, often going off on wild tangents. Also, Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig and all the other actors aren’t playing  their characters. They are playing actors playing their characters. Also, Eric Jonrosh is an actor as well.

The story presented in the miniseries could very well be a serious tale with just minor tweaks to the directing, and that’s what I love about it. There is not straight man here, no one to point out the ridiculousness that is going on. Everyone is playing their roles as seriously as possible. It just comes out as hilariously bad translating from book to film.

The budget jokes on the miniseries come a lot. Every large angle shot is an obvious model instead of real buildings or cars. It kind of gets tiring but also kind of not since the fact that the wide shots are models is never mentioned, pointed out or alluded to. It’s simply there, trying to be serious.

The most fun about the Spoils of Babylon is that it’s a mini series about an attempt at a serious film, by serious actors, with a serious write/producer/director/…, it just comes together as wholly something else when everyone is finished. And what you see is that result.

I really enjoy this kind of offbeat stuff so I continued watching after the first two episodes. I do wonder how many people were sucked in by the premise of a serious love story. Eric Jonrosh’s The Spoils of Babylon was a nice surprise for me and something I enjoyed.


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