It really was just a stroke of luck that a movie lover like me is living in the town that hosts arguably the world’s biggest and best independent film festival, Sundance. For 10 days every January, Park City becomes a hub of film premieres, concerts, movie stars, directors, dopey (but usually very nice and overworked) entertainment media, people who can’t drive to save their lives, and PIBs (People in Black) from LA and NYC. It’s Crazytown, and it’s so great. Not only do I get to see about a dozen new indie dramas and documentaries every year, I cover the red carpet for Park City Television. I interview movie stars and musicians and directors. It’s fun representing PCTV and standing next to crews from E! and Access Hollywood and Reuters… until it isn’t. Entertainment reporters can take themselves a bit seriously and they start to wear on me after about 6 days. Not that I’d give it up. This year, I did ten movie reviews, too, which was different and a lot of fun as well.
Now that everyone is finally gone from Park City, and I can make left hand turns on the road again (and get in to MY Starbucks), I thought I’d share some photos of my favorites from the red carpet and give you early heads-up on movies you should/shouldn’t see this year.
And the movies. I was blown away by Whiplash , a film by a 28-year-old director, starring Miles Teller and JK Simmons. It won the Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award. You have to go see it.
Michael C Hall’s Cold in July was right up my alley. Quentin Tarintino-esque with Dexter in almost every scene. Terrific.
Alive Inside was the best documentary I saw. It’s about how familiar music lights a spark in folks with dementia. Powerful, and it will change lives.
Imperial Dreams was a twist on a classic story of a guy trying to reclaim his life, set in Watts. Star John Boyega will be a star. See if you don’t think he looks like a young Denzel Washington.
I loved, loved, loved Ernest and Celestine. It’s the English version of a Belgian animated film about a mouse and a bear (voice of Forrest Whitaker) who make friends. It’s the first ever Sundance movie for kids. It’s already nominated for an Oscar.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball is about one of the greatest sports stories you probably have never heard. And it features Kurt Russell’s dad. A real life Bad News Bears story. Loved it.
See Difret if you can. It’s about an Ethiopian girl who’s abducted and raped by a man who wants to marry her. It’s also about the bigger issue of changing a horrifying tradition and helping women and girls. Based on a true story.
The Skeleton Twins stars SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig. It’s not what you expect. It is sometimes funny, but deals with serious issues and complicated relationships. Bill Hader was amazing.
Hits was ok. It has some horrifying things to say about social media, media, crowd mentality, and internet sheep (i.e. people who follow the trends without doing the research). The big scene at the end made it worth watching.
Happy Christmas is a whole lot of ok. It didn’t go anywhere for me. I’d save my $9 if I were you.
Run the other way if you get the chance to see Memphis or All the Beautiful Things (you probably won’t get the chance). It’s been a few years since I’ve wanted to walk out of a theater at Sundance, but both of these self-indulgent, boring movies sparked that feeling. My niece, Jen, and I were almost the last people left in the theater at Memphis (the guy behind us doesn’t count. He was asleep). And even though he promised to stay awake in All the Beautiful Things, I don’t think Patrick had 20 minutes of conciousness before he checked out.
That being said, I loved Sundance, as usual. You can see some of what I did on Park City TV. I think I might have just set a record for the number of links on a post. 🙂
In other news, I feel almost back to normal, though the eating and drinking still gets perilous occasionally. I thought I was going to choke to death a couple of weeks ago when I took too big of a bite and drank too big of a gulp of water. I required a bit of a rescue. Dr. Kokeny says even after all these weeks (9), my esophagus still isn’t fully recovered. Hard to believe. But I have ten days til I leave for my Mount Kilimanjaro climb with Livestrong and the Survivor Summit. I don’t feel as strong or as fit as I did back in October/early November, but I figure my stubbornness will make up for the strength that I’m lacking. Next post will come from somewhere along my Kilimanjaro adventure. LIVESTRONG!