It is time to say goodbye. Some of us have already left, some of us have a few more days, but the festival is officially winding down as quickly as the brief snowfall from two days ago is melting on the ground. (I’m getting deep, y’all, get ready.) The end of Sundance is always bittersweet; you are ready to get back home, but at the same time the idea of leaving friends, movies, and popcorn (okay, that’s not true – we are all more than sick of the popcorn) is sad.
The final few days of the festival are always a bit different since the pack of people you know has whittled down and the majority of the movies have been watched. I started the day actually getting to sleep in (even I don’t understand how I pulled this off) and these extra few hours somehow helped me stay alert enough to take things in as I went through the day, a task I have never been able to attempt before due to exhaustion and the perpetual “end of the fest” daze. I spent the morning working at the Bloggeratti Condo and relishing the fact that I can crack jokes and fact check with colleagues in person instead of over social media (although Eric Snider and William Goss’s jokes are hilarious both in person and on the Internet).
A small group of us made our way down Main Street, which is now populated with more skiers than festivalgoers, to have lunch at a Sundance staple, Main Street Pizza & Noodle. Fueled from an actual meal, I made my way down the hill a bit to the Library Theater where I would be seeing my final two movies of the day. I had never gotten the chance to go to the Library in my past two years at the festival, and while you do need to climb a good few flights of stairs (and sit in the freezing cold AC pre-film before it is shut off and the theater starts to get overly warm), it is a nice little theater, and the fact that it was within walking distance of my condo made it ideal for my last full day.
My Library Theater double feature (I can rhyme! I am tired!) was The Spectacular Now and Kill Your Darlings. Full reviews for each to come, but initial thoughts: I was excited to see Smashed director James Pondsoldt’s latest film (seeing as I loved Smashed when I saw it at last year’s Sundance) and I enjoyed The Spectacular Now, an affecting little coming-of-age film that should (hopefully) start Miles Teller on the road to success I knew was ahead for him after his performance in Rabbit Hole. Plus, I found his relationship with Shailene Woodley’s Aimee Finicky incredibly honest and sweet. On the other hand, Kill Your Darlings left me a bit cold; solid performances and well-placed music, but I did not enjoy the film as a whole.
Per usual, I end the night (my final night) at the condo surrounded by friends, debating movies and drinking. Lots of drinking. (Because we need to finish all this alcohol before we check out tomorrow.) This is the best part of Sundance – the reason you should try to come to this festival if you ever have the chance. If you are a movie lover, this is the place for you, because you constantly have the opportunity to talk about films, whether with friends, volunteers or random people you happen to meet in line or on the shuttle.
Sadly, we are currently attempting to play a “quiet” game where one person names a movie and the next person has to name someone in that movie and so on and so forth (I think this is called “Movie Bomb”?). We had to select a “quiet” game (I put that in quotes because we are all too damn passionate for our own good and our voices carry when talking movies) because the Bloggerati Condo of Dreams has been less dreamy this year. Put in the main building, i.e. four floors up from the lobby, our revelry has apparently been “disturbing other guests,” a statement I also put in quotes seeing as we were woken up a few nights ago (when we were all asleep) for being loud. I know some of us snore loud (those select few will remain nameless), but come on.
I am currently surrounded by an amazing group including Matt Patches, Katey Rich, Germain Lussier, Matt Goldberg, Adam Chitwood, Russ Fischer, Ethan Anderton, Ryland Aldrich as well as my condo-mates Kate Erbland, Jordan Raup, Dan Mecca, William Goss, and Sundance first-timer (who better return every year from here on out) Sam Fragoso. I am excited to get home, but I am going to miss this group, many of whom I don’t see but once a year when we are secluded to these snow-topped mountains.
Until next year. But in the meantime I will enjoy balanced meals, a normal sleeping schedule, and watching as some of the fantastic movies I saw this past week get released over the remainder of the year.