More bad movies. Me at the Zoo seemed promising. It was meant to be an exploration of fame derived from youtube and other online avenues. This premise is quickly abandoned once the movie settles on Chris Crocker, the transgendered Tennessee teen who famously posted a video of him crying in agony over the treatment of Britney Spears by the media. Pretty soon, you realize that the movie is nothing more than a bunch of his youtube videos strung together with little to no narrative. Crocker is a lunatic and not a lovable one. Saying something about this kind of fame and using him as an example would have been a fascinating idea. Letting the movie be 90% him ranting and raving in his exaggerated, drag queen preening makes you want to kill someone (him, especially). He was at the Q&A and I remember him saying he was glad the movie was out there so people could see he isn’t a total crazy person. Sorry to break it to you Chris, but that is the one thing we’re certain of now. The guy had no sense of how he relates to other people. I came out feeling angry. SCORE = 2
This was actually supposed to be the second movie of the day, but there had been a snafu that we didn’t realize until late the night before. Brooke, Farrah’s sister, bought our tickets and didn’t realize til then that they had given her tickets to the wrong movie. So, we had tix to a movie that took place 4 days earlier and didn’t have them to the one we wanted. No biggie. It happens and it all worked out fine in the end, but I’ll be double checking whatever Sundance gives us from now on.
From here we waitlisted for a movie called Bachelorette, which was weird because it feels like we’ve done a lot of that in year’s past and yet this was the only time we waited this year. In fact, this year went by in a flash. We rarely waited, we rarely had long gaps between movies, we hardly had much time to eat now and then. I liked it, but I sort of missed the down time. Btw, we were with Brooke and Jake and the four of us were the last ones let into the theater.
Bachelorette was a pretty blatant rip-off of The Hangover and Bridesmaids. It’s the night before one of the girl’s wedding and chaos ensues for Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan complete with the usual suspects: sex, drugs, and close calls. It was fun, the formula is pretty Teflon, and I did laugh once I got over how derivative it all was. I’d be more descriptive, but just know that any joke you saw in The Hangover was probably recycled here. I’m sure it will be released at some point. SCORE = 6
In prior year’s we’ve always had tickets to whatever the Grand Jury Documentary Prize winner was. This year we went with the Grand Jury Dramatic. The risk you take is that the winning film will be something you’ve already seen. We were killing time with Brooke and Jake when the announcement came that the winner was something they’d already seen. So, they sold their tickets quickly and headed back home. Well, a couple minutes later we realized that Brooke misread and the winner was Beasts of the Southern Wild and the movie she thought won, won something else. Overall, not a great couple days for Brooke, sadly. It would have been fun to close out the fest with those guys.
Beasts of the Southern Wild sounded lame, but ended up being an extremely emotional and visceral experience. It centers around a young black girl and her absentee father deep in the southern bayou of Louisiana. I’m talking as deep as it gets, like out of the third world deep. The young girl is pretty much on her own all day, just surviving as best she can. The depiction of life in this community was fascinating, you can’t believe this is happening in America. Eventually, Katrina hits and destroys the paper-thin existence they knew. The father is dying, the mother’s already dead, and so it’s up to the girl, who’s about 10 to figure life out on her own.
It’s not for everybody. It’s very textural, more cinematic than linear. Reminded me in some ways of The Tree of Life. But, it’s really beautiful, from the camera work, to the score (amazing) to the odd special effects (there are Beasts afterall, but it’s more like they live in a dream). It will be interesting to see how it’s received when it comes out. SCORE = 8
In between shows we got to see our good friends Jon and Natalia Anderson, and enjoying the festival with Joe and Leslie and Brooke and Jake always adds to our fun. This tradition has become the highlight of our year and we’re especially grateful that Farrah’s folks watch the kids so we can get away. I'm excited for next year within seconds of the last film. There's nothing like it.