Experience Sundance 2012: Growing Up with Josh Radnor, Headaches, Penning, and Standard Fare

We’ll make this brief, dear readers – today has been a strange day. Since that first day (the one where I showed up to the airport without my driver’s license which, PS, is still missing), things have been relatively drama-free. Sure, both sleep levels and real meal levels are low, but most everything else is on the up and up. Except for some movies. Oof.

The day started with a public screening of Josh Radnor’s sophomore effort, Liberal Arts, a film that I like the more I think on it. I could go on, but hey, why don’t you just read my review?

Post-Liberal, it was time for quick jaunt to Sundance HQ, the beautiful and buzzing Park City Marriott. What else can I say? They have coffee there. It’s cool and stuff. (Seriously, I need to apologize for this daily diary, what the hell happened today? Nothing.)

Then it was time to head over to the Holiday Village Cinemas, home to Sundance’s press screenings, and that attractive tent pictured above. Hanging out in the tent is approximately like being a cow, some kind of cattle penned up and mooing for long stretches of time. It’s reasonably warm in there, and there’s always plenty of time to holler over other people at your friends. Sometimes it leaks!

The first Holiday screening of that day was Save the Date, a film with great promise, thanks to its stellar cast – Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Mark Webber, Geoffrey Arend. But Save the Date is just too much of what people think is a standard Sundance film – an indie dramedy about relationships and quarterlife crises. There’s nothing new to the film, and it neither engages nor angers. It just exists. None of the comedic talent is utilized to its potential.

Lunch time! Or, lunner! The only meal of the day! The day’s sole sitdown meal consisted of a chicken sandwich (with bacon jam) at the Yarrow. It was perfectly servicable, but after eating, I fell victim to a headache that threatened to fell me for the day. Equal parts exhaustion and high altitude, I couldn’t shake it, and I feared it would spell my doom. But then I took a nap and everything was amazing! (Seriously, I apologize for this write-up.)

Next up, Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass’ Black Rock. More of a character-driven thriller than a horror film, it will inevitably draw comparison to Deliverance, but it’s a fair bit different. A think-y entry into the Midnight category, it’s already been bought and should receive a nice little limited roll-out. Also, the soundtrack is riddled with songs by The Kills, so it both looks and sounds good.

And now, the final film of the night. Bachelorette. Awful. Bridesmaids worked because its characters were all believable people who clearly cared about each other. Bachelorette has no such luck – it’s a dirty, mean, toxic film about dirty, mean, toxic people. No one comes out looking good. Everyone is an asshole. Seriously, this movie made Adam Scott look like a douchebag for the bulk of its runtime – how is that even possible? Worse yet, the film makes a third act play for depth and emotion that’s absolutely unearned and wrong-headed. Hideous stuff.

Now, time for schedule triage. Tomorrow? Sleepwalk With Me, Compliance, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Snuggle up with the rest of our Sundance 2012 coverage

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for VanityFair.com, Cosmopolitan.com, RollingStone.com, Vulture, MTV.com, Details.com, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and Film.com. She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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