Essays · Movies

Sundance Blog: In the Trenches

The gratuitous name dropping continues… Tom Hanks. Emily Blunt…
By  · Published on January 20th, 2008

If there is one thing I love about working as an online film journalist (as always, I use that last word very loosely), it is the fact that we do our work in the trenches. We take in movies in the most hostile and beautiful environment, with the fans. It is that same dedicated cabal of movie fans that keep us in business. We don’t get to ride the high horse around to secret screenings, TV station bookings and private lunches with the Hollywood industry elite. And with the exception of the whole lunches thing (remember the old cliche of film geek? Translates to chubby), we are ok with all of that. We love nothing more than to see the latest and greatest cinematic gems with the people — ‘cuz that’s who we are.

At the Sundance Film Festival, the journalistic playing field seems to level out a bit. Yesterday Jeffrey Wells (of HollywoodElsewhere fame) just walked up to our table and said “hi”, from one famous movie blogger to three movie geeks who just so happen to have cool blogs. I realized in that moment, that while Jeffrey Wells is known all over the country as a man who is constantly fingering the pulse of Hollywood, he isn’t much different from the rest of us. We are all, in the end, just a group of people who love movies — so much so that we’ve made it our career to get connected with the hottest films around the world and share them with others.

Along the same lines, Anne Thompson, a Variety editor and friend to bloggers everywhere, happened to sit right down next to myself and Peter today at a screening of The Great Buck Howard. She was so much more youthful and pleasant than you would imagine for someone who works at Variety, an outlet with which I have a very well documented love/hate relationship. So that was a nice surprise. Also, Tom Hanks was there to introduce The Great Buck Howard, as he was the producer of the film. Joining him on stage were his son Colin, the star of the film, Emily Blunt, writer/director Sean McGinly and co-producer Gary Goetzman. Hanks likened the Eccles Theater to a cafetorium that he once dined in back in his high school days in Eastern Russia, poking fun at the very small-town atmosphere of the festival. It was an absolutely hilarious way to get introduce the film from one of the greats.

The evening rounded out with a few press screenings, hanging out with the guys from Ain’t It Cool News. Very nice guys as well, Quint especially. I think the guys at AICN always get lumped in with Harry Knowles, which is unfortunate because they are all really good people. We saw Brad Anderson’s Transsiberian (review) and Michael Keaton’s directorial effort The Merry Gentleman (review). Both were very interesting. In fact, Keaton’s film was dominated by a great performance from Kelly McDonald (No Country for Old Men).

After that is was off to bed. No parties this particular evening, as I have another busy day ahead of me today. Today I will be hitting the premiere of Be Kind Rewind, starring Jack Black and Mos Def, hopefully the premiere of Smart People, starring Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker. So we shall see how that goes. Stay tuned.

Keep an eye on our Sundance 2008 Homepage for more.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)