Posted Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 02:20 PM PST by Aaron Peck
After having such hectic schedules the first two days I decided that for Day 3 I'd take it easy...well, at least in the morning.
Instead of being up bright and early to head out the door around 7:00 I slept in a little and skipped the first movie I had planned for today, which was 'The End of Love.' It's just too hard to do continuous four- and five-movie days. I know what you're saying to yourself: "This guy is complaining about watching movies all day?" Well, watching movies is only half of the equation. The other half is packing into crowded buses, walking through a foot and a half of muddy slush water, and standing in hour-long lines just to get into the next movie. There's much more to a festival than meets the eye. Don't get me wrong, it's a blast, but even the most hardened movie watcher like me has their limits, and I was simply beat.
The weather had calmed down and Snowpocalypse passed on by, but not before it dumped about a foot and a half of snow in Park City, making getting around ten times more difficult. Every bus you step off of you have to be extra careful not to step in the deceptively deep slush pool or you might find yourself shin deep in freezing cold mud water. Yeah, it's not a fun thing to have happen. The last thing you want is to be squishing around from theater to theater in soggy socks.
My first movie was at noon. It was a high school rom-com entitled 'The First Time' and it's one of the best movies I've seen up here so far. After you can get past the initial 'Gilmore Girls' fast-talking, hip dialogue, there's some real substance here. Witty, smart teenagers, which is always a welcome respite from the norm.
From there I headed on back to the Festival Headquarters in order to finally get some writing done. That's the other con to seeing movies back-to-back-to-back-to-back: you never have time to write. I was able to crank out three reviews in a new lounge I found sponsored by Southwest. It's the perfect place to write, because it's quiet and it has outlets for your computer cables. If you want to know the top survival technique of any writer when it comes to covering a film festival, know where the outlets are. Your laptop battery will inevitably fail, or you're like me and have laptops whose batteries are doing nothing more than adding weight to the computer. Outlets are essential. They're as important as knowing where the nearest bathrooms are. Go to any film festival and head on over to wherever the press office is, and guaranteed you'll find journalists wandering rooms, hallways, and lobbies looking for outlets and getting frustrated when they can't find them.
I contemplated skipping the next movie I had planned, which was 'Red Lights.' I hadn't heard anything good about it, and specifically that the ending really stank. At a festival, news spreads quickly about which movies are gaining ground and which ones simply fizzle out. 'Red Lights' was getting a reputation of having a decent first two acts and then completely going off the rails in the third. At the last minute I decided to try to see if I could still get in. I did, about a minute late, and had to sit almost in the front row. The rumors were right. The supernatural thriller starring Cillian Murphy and Robert De Niro starts off rather well – if not a little generically as far as supernatural thrillers go – and then completely comes off the hinges when it's time to end the movie. Oh boy is it bad. Really bad. So bad that they should consider rewriting and reshooting a completely different ending.
After 'Red Lights' I had it all planned out. I was going to catch Stephen Frear's new movie 'Lay the Favorite.' I was going to perfectly line up with the last movie of the night 'Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.' Only, it wasn't until I was in line for 'Lay the Favorite' that I found out the movie didn't start at 7:00pm like I thought it did. No, it started at 7:30pm, which cut out 30 minutes of travel time I desperately needed to make it to the distant Redstone Theaters for 'Something From Nothing.' Reluctantly I had to step out of line and head on out to the Redstone Theaters. I had to make the choice because I was covering 'Something From Nothing' for Film.com, whereas 'Lay the Favorite' would've just been something to see for fun. I was bummed, but I'll try and fit it in later in the week.
I got out to Redstone but still had about an hour to kill. I walked by a bistro which was empty save a few patrons. They had the NFC Championship game on TV. I was watching from outside, when a nice waiter walked up to the glass and motioned me to come in. "Come in, we don't charge for you to watch," he said. So I sat at the bar and watched the 49ers lose in overtime, and then took off back to the theater for my last movie of the day.
'Something From Nothing' is a must see movie if you have even the slightest interest in rap. It's a master's thesis in the way rap works, how it evolved, and the way lyricists put pen to paper and come out with something magical. It was directed by Ice-T, who was there. He sat directly behind me as a matter of fact. His question and answer session after the movie was the best I've ever been to at Sundance. In detail he described his passion for the movie and even did some freestyling for everyone. It was fantastic. I could've listened to him talk all night.
I tried to sneak a couple incognito pictures of Ice-T and his wife Coco and the best I got was the picture above. After that the night was done. Ice-T's laid back Q&A was the perfect way to end what turned out to be my own version of a laid back day at Sundance.
On Day 4 I'm planning on seeing five movies but I doubt I'll get to them all. Up first, in the morning, is Josh Radnor's 'Liberal Arts,' followed by the relationship comedy 'Save the Date.' I plan on taking in 'Nobody Walks' but I may cut out and take some time off to write. After that it's off to Katie Aselton's 'Black Rock,' and then a nightcap with the Chilean film 'Young and Wild.'
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