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Experience Sundance 2012: Good Burgers, Cheesy Music, Too Many Movies, and Fake Fights

It is day four of the festival (although it feels like we’ve been here much longer) and I realized this morning as I sleepily boarded the shuttle that since I have only been going to P&I (press and industry i.e., you don’t need a hard ticket but you do need credentials) screenings, I have only been to the Holiday and none of the other venues. That will change tomorrow morning when I finally hit up Eccles (one of my favorite theaters here), but it was strange to realize I haven’t really been outside the Holiday, Yarrow, Sundance HQ radius the past few days. (This may also explain why things are starting to blend together for me.)

Averaging about five hours of sleep a night (better than last year’s two!) and one real meal a day, I try to make that one meal count. Today I (along with almost every other critic and blogger here at the fest) hit up Flippin’ Burgers, which not only has amazing burgers, fries and shakes, but also free WiFi and plays a constant loop of terribly hilarious songs and yes, Enrique Iglesias’ “Baby I Like It” has been stuck in my head all afternoon. Hopefully this place sticks around for another year (although, rumor has it that it’s been around and we just now discovered it) so if you make it to Sundance next year, add it to your list of places to check out. Granted, you have to Frogger your way across the street to get there, but trust me, it’s worth it.

But beyond my confusion and hunger (two things that are not Sundance exclusive), I saw some movies! Started the day with a little documentary called  About Face that looked into the world of modeling through the eyes of those who helped create it and how they have reconciled the idea of beauty as they age. It was an interesting film with an important message that lasting beauty comes from being comfortable in your own skin and doing what makes you feel beautiful.

Next up was The Last Elvis, a little film out of Argentina about an Elvis impersonator whose dedication to the King may actually be a dangerous obsession. And while the last fifteen minutes were devoid of talking, they were also the most pivotal. After Elvis I nearly missed the screening of The Surrogate (which just got picked up by Fox Searchlight) and after a standing ovation at an earlier screening this week, it was clearly one everyone wanted to check out. Luckily I made it in and I am glad I did thanks to an amazing performance by John Hawkes who plays a thirty-eight year old man with polio looking to lose his virginity. Hawkes proves he is a true chameleon, morphing into this role with a good dose of humor and heart, creating a performance I won’t soon forget.

While in line for my last screening of the night (John Dies At The End) I was joking that nothing really exciting had happened to me to put in my daily wrap up to entertain you all and just like that, Moviefone’s Mike Ryan stepped it up and tried to get one of the Sundance volunteers to tackle him to keep him from jumping the line to head into the theaters. She, of course, declined, but just seeing the shocked look on her face when we asked her to do it was worth it.

I am still not sure what to think of John Dies At The End – it had some funny moments, but things went from silly to very strange. Although I did appreciate things that seemed random at first ended up coming back around as the disjointed narrative finally caught up with itself.

Tomorrow: GOATS, The Words, Shut Up and Play the Hits, and V/H/S.

Allison has always been fascinated by the power music has when paired with an image – particularly its effect in film. Thanks to a background in recording and her days spent licensing music to various productions (including, of course, movies), Allison can usually be found sticking around to see all the songs noted in a film’s credits and those listening to her iTunes inevitably ask, “What movie is this song from?”

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