Aaron's Sundance 2012 Journal: Day 2

Posted Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 02:00 PM PST by

People up here are much more talkative than, I assume, they normally are. It's just the environment of the festival that brings it out of them. They're ready and willing to share any experiences or advice they have with perfect strangers, although sometimes, the discussion really is unwarranted...

I started off my morning waiting for the bus into town. Since it wasn't going to be by for another 30 minutes or so I decided to walk across the street to the local Starbucks. At least wait in someplace warm, right? It's around 7:30 in the morning and I'm sitting at my table half asleep and not really paying attention to everyone around me. Suddenly this man sitting on the couch in front of me does a complete 180 to stare me down. He then launches into a stream of expletives about this horribly written article he's just read in the newspaper. "Can you believe it?!" he said, and then he went on to tell me how incensed he was that the writer in the newspaper commented on the Elizabeth Smart wedding by saying that the affair wouldn't rival that of the royal wedding a few months ago. Surprised, I nodded my head and chuckled. Then the guy ended with, "I don't normally read the Tribune. I read the New York Times."

The great thing is that the polite, helpful, and friendly people outnumber the cranky self-privileged up here. I know it's hard to believe after seeing all the reports about parties and celebrity watching up here, but what you don't hear about on the entertainment news is that many of the people that travel up to Sundance are just looking to take in a few great movies.

I was still laughing about the guy in Starbucks when I met two very nice ladies at the bus stop. They were waiting for the same bus I was. They asked me if I ski, since I'm from Utah. They were surprised when I answered no. I think this is akin to asking everyone in California if they surf. One of the ladies was a curator for the film portion of a museum in Connecticut. These are the kind of people I love talking to at the festival. They want to know what you've seen and what you've liked, especially when they find out you're a critic.

My first movie of the day was entitled 'Celeste and Jesse Forever.' I met up with resident HDD reviewer Luke Hickman who had no idea that he actually had to have a hard ticket to the movie. After seeing our press badges they let us in through a door around the corner, away from the general public. I don't know if they were supposed to do that, but they did. We had another friend from Utah with us, Blogcritics.org writer Brooks Bird. He didn't have a hard ticket either. Luke walked in, they looked at his press badge and let him in. I gave them my ticket and they let me in. As we walked in to find seats we noticed Brooks wasn't behind us. He'd been stopped because he had a ticket, whereas Luke had snuck his way in. We still don't know how it all worked out, but it made for a good laugh. Brooks had to run outside and procure a ticket from the movie's publicist waiting outside.

We sat front row for the screening. The front row in the Eccles theater is great, because the screen is pushed back on the stage just enough that you don't have to crank your head straight up to see. Also, when you're in the front row you're dead center for the question and answer session that follows the movie.

The entire cast, minus Emma Roberts, was there to talk about the movie. Andy Samberg hammed it up most of the time. Elijah Wood was asked where he "channeled his gay" from, which made him laugh to the point that it was hard for him to answer the question. Rashida Jones talked about her process in writing the movie and how much she cares about it and how they shot the entire movie in 22 days. All in all, a great little Q&A session.

Once we walked outside we found out that Snowpocalypse had arrived in Park City. The snow was coming down hard and fast. It didn't stop. Park City would soon be buried in over a foot of snow. Good thing I spent most of my time in warm theaters. However, a personal emergency arose when my wife, who was coming up to visit me, had slipped off the road in her car. She's okay now, and was helped back onto the road, but it was a trying few hours. I was stuck about an hour away from her and couldn't do anything for her.

Much of the rest of the day was uneventful in the way of stories or anecdotes. I went to see 'The Pact' which is an absolutely laughable, and utterly terrible horror film that was crafted from a short film that played at the festival last year. The short film, while rough, was much more subtle and worked much better than this full-length hilarious atrocity.

Then it was on to 'The Raid.' Wow! Just wow! Now that's a movie. Everything you've been expecting and hoping about 'The Raid' is true. It's a symphony of punching, kicking, head-butting, shooting, stabbing, and ax chopping. It's 100 minutes of pure unfiltered awesome. The premise is just like a video game. There's a crime lord at the top of an apartment building, only the entire complex is full of thugs, criminals, and murderers all beholden to their criminal landlord. So this swat team must fight their way through every floor in order to get to the boss man. It's unlike anything you've ever seen. It's one of those movies where you're flabbergasted while watching it because you have no idea how they filmed this without actually hurting, maiming, or even killing some people. It's completely and utterly insane. It's everything I'd thought it would be.

I finished off the night with 'Filly Brown' starring Lou Diamond Phillips. It's a sleep-inducing Lifetime movie of the week only with more swearing. Blech.

It was time to head back to my car that was parked at a Park and Ride in the adjacent town. After I got off the bus I noticed that my car had been buried in about a foot and a half of snow. I left it there and a relative picked me up. Snowpocalypse ate my car.

Day 3 is chock-full of movies once again. I think I'm going to end up skipping my 10:00am screening of 'The End of Love' because I need sleep, desperately. The first movie I hit up will be a teen comedy called 'The First Time' followed up by a supernatural thriller starring Cillian Murphy and Robert De Niro called 'Red Lights.' Later that night I'll catch Stephen Frears' new film 'Lay the Favorite' and then cap off the night with a late showing of 'Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap.'

It's only been two full days, but I feel like I've been here for 10. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Tags: Aaron Peck, Sundance 2012, Sundance Film Festival (all tags)