Essays · Movies

Sundance Blog: It’s Quiet Now

We missed Quentin, saw Olivia and finally found out what the big deal was with that Hamlet 2 movie…
By  · Published on January 26th, 2008

By Friday almost everyone who thinks they are anyone special has probably gone home — except us. Yesterday morning we found out that we missed a kick-ass time at the bar with all of the web guys, Quentin Tarantino and Elvis Mitchell. Oh well, from my experiences this week I’m suspicious about categorizing any moments around Mr. Tarantino as being “fun”, but more on that later.

My Friday started early with an 8:30 am screening of Sugar, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who co-wrote and co-directed Half Nelson. The movie had a bit of charm but it got bogged down by a bunch of tedious plot points and ancillary characters that didn’t mean much to the story. It had me wanting to go to bed, but the audience seemed to like it — but then again, they had all had their Starbucks already.

From there it was off to a screening of Hamlet 2, the film that set the record this week for the biggest price tag in Sundance history — $10 million f’ing dollars. Now, I’m not sure it is worth that much, but it was pretty damn funny. It may end up being one of those films that some people get and some people just don’t. Personally, I got it — along with Devin from CHUD and Quint from Ain’t It Cool. In fact, our rows were the loudest during the screening.

After that, disaster struck. For the first time all week the wonderful Park City transit system failed miserably. Pete, Alex and myself had to head back to festival headquarters to pick up tickets for showings later that evening, but we were pressed for time. Theoretically, we should have made it to our screening of Bottle Shock, starring Eliza Dushku, but thanks to a packed bus and a somewhat confused driver, we missed the movie. On the bright side, this is only the first time this happened all week — I’m told its usually worse.

The other bright side, as we were walking back to headquarters to do some work we ran into Olivia Thirlby, of Juno and The Wackness fame (or at least, she will soon be famous for her performance in The Wackness). She stopped and talked to us for a few moments, and while it was incredibly awkward she was very friendly and sweet — she’s one of those “good people” in Hollywood that you always hear about but very rarely ever meet.

After some work (notice all the damn reviews that I got done), it was on to the last screening of the night, the Jimmy Fallon starred The Year of Getting to Know Us, a dark comedy about a man coming to terms with his douchebag father and his whack-job mother after his father suffers from a stroke. I can think of no better way to have let all the air out of the day besides this movie — it was a painful pill to swallow. Even worse, it was like one of those pills you don’t really need but you take it anyway. Jimmy Fallon just can’t do drama without sounding like an idiot — it seriously comes down to that. The only enjoyable thing about the film is that Lucy Lui is still very sexy.

On to today, which will be the most quiet day of the festival for me. With press screenings done for the fest, I will only be seeing one film — Anvil!: The Story of Anvil, which I missed the other day. I continue to hear nothing but good things about it. I will also be attending the Awards Ceremony Party to rub elbows with whatever stars are still hanging around Park City. At this point, I’ve got my fingers crossed for Jonathan Levine, director of The Wackness, to take home some hardware this evening. As for tomorrow, that will be a day of seeing movies that I’ve probably already seen, as they screen all of the award winning films all day. Depending on which films win, this could be an awesome re-hashing of the best that I’ve seen so far this week or it could be a chance to catch up on the great films that I didn’t see — I don’t know, just about anything could happen, so stay tuned.

Below you will find my list of reviews for the week so far:

– Hamlet 2 – B+
– Sugar – C+
– Assassination of a High School President – A+
– Quentin Tarantino Presents Hell Ride – B-
– Adventures of Power – D+
– American Teen – A+
– Funny Games – D
– The Escapist – C
– Choke – B
– Towelhead – A
– Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? – A
– Downloading Nancy – F
– Phoebe in Wonderland – C
– Incendiary – B
– Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson – A
– Sunshine Cleaning – B+
– Smart People – A
– Be Kind Rewind – A
– The Merry Gentleman – C+
– Transsiberian – B
– The Great Buck Howard – B
– Blind Date – D+
– The Wackness – A
– The Yellow Handkerchief – B
– In Bruges – A-

As well, please feel free to explore my other blog posts for the week:

– Day 9: Interviews, Snow and Surprises
– Day 8: Alcohol and High Altitude Don’t Mix
– Day 7: Surrealism
– Day 6: Screenings, Screenings, Screenings
– Day 5: Sarah Jessica Parker! OMG!
– Day 4: In The Trenches
– Day 3: Let’s Get to Work, People!
– Day 2: Hey Mom, I Hung Out with Colin Farrell
– Day 1: Leavin’ On a Jet Plane

Keep an eye on our Sundance 2008 Homepage for more from Park City.

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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 upcoming One Perfect Shot TV show (HBO Max, 2021) and the co-host of The Storm: A LOST Rewatch podcast. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)