Lila’s Sundance Review
My ten day stay in Park City was an experience I won’t soon forget. Though I have no other winter terms to compare it to - yes, God help me I’m a freshman - it was the perfect blend of an exciting and relaxing trip. I dedicated myself to doing nothing but movie hopping, and the result was a (to me) staggering 25 films viewed during the trip. Thinking them all over there were definite front runners. Movies that resounded to me as a viewer for their original plot lines, jokes, filmmaking and informative q and a. For my own amusement, I tried to rate my 25 films from favorite to least, for there were also some movies that completely missed the mark!
1) I have to say my favorite movie had to be Lulu and Jimi, a love story set in 50’s Germany. A beautiful German girl rebells from her crazy mother and follows her heart to Jimi, a black american who works at the theme park. Together they go on a road trip to escape Lulu’s mother who is trying to abort Lulu’s baby and kill Jimi. The movie was touching, hilarious and filled with a cast of sexy, charismatic actors, it blew me away.
2) Mystery Team: Though not for everyone, the movie comic styling of Derrick Comedy Group made me a fan of this quirky detective movie from the start. It follow three naive boys as they try to solve a mysterious murder. As they see darker and more jaded youth around them they loose heart, but in the end, with many comedic twists and turns, solve the mystery as well as begin to understand themselves.
3) Peter and Vandy: A realistic portrayal of a love story told out of order. Touching and much more true to life than many romantic comedies, it left me hopeful for love in my life.
4) Paper Heart: A mocumentary following a comedian who doesn’t believe in love. Though her interviews with ordinary people are real, her romance with popular boy actor Michael Cera and her relationship with her director are scripted. This movie was hilarious in all its awkward and quirky moments.
5) The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle: Thank God for Sundance Film festival, otherwise a movie like this one would never be viewed. It is the very strange story of night janitors who find cookies in the garbage that cook while in your mouth. The men get addicted to the cookies which cause them to become pregnant with blue fish that they birth anally. Though the concept was certainly out there it was really artfully written, acted and shot, making it a creative gem instead of a self-indulgent waste of time.
6) Adam: The thought provoking love story between a “normal” woman and a man with aspurgers. This touching film artfully educates the audience about the true nature of the disorder, as well as dynamics that are inherent in any relationship.
7) Big River Man: The epic documentary following elderly endurance swimmer Martin Strel as he swims the length of the Amazon. With hilarious narration by Martin’s son, the movie is interesting as well as entertaining the whole movie.
Drool: The best movie I saw emerge from Slamdance, follows a quiet and beaten down house wife who fantasizes that she doesn’t have an abusive husband and terribly disrespectful children. She is forced to shoot her husband when he walks in on her having lesbian relations with her black neighbor. The rest of the movie follows the new couple and children going on a road trip to burry the shot man in their trunk. With many hilarious moments (such as the improvising and throwing slushies on the dead body because they ran out of ice) Drool was extremely memorable.
9) Adventureland: A mainstream comedy that I’m sure will be a big hit in theaters. It follows a recently graduated boy who is forced to get a summer job as a carny in a low budget theme park. Set in the 80s with a cast of funny characters and a love triangle, this film was entertaining and spirited.
10) 500 Days of Summer: Prefaced by the lines “this is the story of boy meets girl, but it is not a love story..” as advertised it certainly did not amount to a happy ending for the subject couple of the film. Set in the same vignette style as Peter and Vandy it showed the comedic ups and downs of an ill-fated romantic relationship.
11) Carmo, Hit the Road: The passionate Spanish foreign film that follows a promiscuous, rebellious pregnant woman who meets and goes on a road trip with an embittered paraplegic. The sexual tension throughout the film and the later submission to their desires made this movie engaging and exciting.
12) Dare: The story of three high school seniors who are experimenting with their sexuality. It is an escilating love triangle between a male and female best friend relationship and both of their sexual explorations with the quintessential jock stereotype. Very dramatic in parts, though the end was anti-climactic.
13) Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Exploring feminism and the woman’s psyche through interviews with males talking about women, the movie gives a very thought provoking argument on how woman are perceived. A little short, with no satisfying conclusion, Brief Interviews was not as memorable as a whole as some of its startlingly beautiful parts.
14) Moon: Who knew that science fiction could be done on an independent scale? Moon follows an man on the moon who thinks he gets to return home but finds that he is actually to be killed and replaced by his clone who in turn will be promised the return to earth. A little slow in parts, but superb acting by Sam Rockwell who is essentially the only character on the screen the whole movie.
15) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead: A Slamdance film with a very original idea, good acting, but could have done better with a bigger budget. It followed vampires who recruit their victims by putting on the play Hamlet. With many strange plot points, including all the main characters being vampires by the end, the movie was good but amateur a in its style.
16) Don’t Let Me Drown: The story of two new york kids who are effected by troubling family situations in the aftermath of 9/11. There is a romance, though the movie was a little superficial and didn’t leave me with any strong emotions when it was obviously aiming to.
17) Animation Spotlight: Featuring Sundance animations shorts it showed a large variety of what can be done with animation. There were some shorts that were deadly pointless and boring to me and I promptly fell asleep through them (this was the last day of trip after many midnight to 8:30am movies) and there were some shorts that were extremely funny and well crafted. As a whole there were three out of about eight shorts I enjoyed.
18) Weather Girl: A Slamdance Film that unfortunately had a much more appealing preview then feature. It followed a Weather Woman who was fired from her job for telling of her co-anchor boyfriend for sleeping with the other co-anchor. That part was great, but the rest of the movie was her living with her brother and not wanting engage in a relationship with his unrealistically beautiful and kind best friend. The acting by the leading actress was subpar and general the movie lacked sparkle for me.
19) Unmade Beds: Though I was expecting this movie to a colorful depiction of the London Underground it was a bit messy and disjointed for my liking. It followed two characters separately, one as he searches and finds his long lost father but never reveals his identity to him, and one who has an anonymous relationship with a man. It felt pointless and I wasn’t interested in the characters as people. There was definately a creative touch to the set and costumes which I appreciated.
20) Cold Souls: Follows Paul Giamatti as himself getting his soul extracted because he can no longer stand the weight of it. There is a debacle with him getting an new soul, wanting his old one back and finding that it has been taken to Russia, and put into the body of a rich actress. With the exception of a few funny moments the plot was frivolous and mostly boring.
21) Slamdance Animation Shorts: Most of these were light hearted and enjoyable, although the shear volume of shorts (twelve in a row, with q and a after each short) made me not remember this screening very favorably. It was particularly interesting to see all the different style of animation there are to work with.
22) Shorts Program Five: A progression of six live action shorts, the subject matter ranging from anal sex to homeschool prom to a little boy’s obsession with rabbits. It kept me interested through a few, but on the whole it felt like I hadn’t taken anything away from the characters or their situations.
23) Louis-Michel: A very strange french film in which a lowly factory worker hires a hit man to whack the man who put her out of business. In extremely twisted plot points such as the woman actually being a man, and the hit man later being revealed as a woman, then the cross gendered duo having a child, and the using a cancer victim to kill someone, this movie was supposed to be funny. It was not.
24) Graphic Sexual Horror: A Slamdance film that I was recommended was a documentary about the bondage and psudo masochism porn site called insex.com. As advertised it was horrifically graphic and sexual in content, showing woman in the most egregious positions and situations and hearing them testify to the pleasure they had experienced while on shoot. It was unsettling and incredibly hard to watch.
25) White Lightnin‘: Also recommended it was the horrific tale of Jesco White who was pretty much the devil incarnate. He sniffed gasoline and did every sort of terrible to people, maimed, killed, all while tap dancing like his father had taught him. Interspersed with eery clergy speeches and an ending where he cuts off his hand foot and tongue it was easily the hardest to sit through and my least favorite film.
I certainly saw the full spectrum of films and had memorable experiences. I met wonderful people, I gained a greater appreciation of independent film, and I a crossed another state off my list…yeeha!
Tags: 500 Days of Summer, adam, Add new tag, adventureland, animation spotlight, big river man, brief interviews with hideous men, carmo hit the road, Cold Souls, Dare, derrick comedy, don't let me drown, drool, graphic sexual horror, lila lupetin, louis-michel, lulu and jimi, Moon, mystery team, paper heart, Paul Giamatti, Peter and Vandy, rosencrantz and guildenstern are undead, sam rockwell, slamdance, sundance, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, unmade beds, weather girl, white lightnin'