Dispatch from Sundance

So we, Rebecca and Farrell, share the Thursday blog slot. We just happened to be in Park City this week as our first deadline loomed. It seemed natural to post our reactions to this year's festival, a quarter-century-old event that Farrell and his brother, Robbins, have attended for the last decade (and Rebecca for the last three of those years). The Festival has become a tradition and now includes a dozen friends—including several other bloggers on this site.

In the interest of time, we have distilled our week's worth of reactions and opinions to this top and bottom 5 list.

Top 5 most annoying things about Sundance this year (in no particular order):

1. Exclusivity. Limited access for the masses. The growing divide between the classes. Ok, so we are not movie stars or rich people. But we are dedicated festival participants. Every year, it seems as if there is less access to more events. It is remarkably annoying to be met at the door of a lame-ass bar party with requests for passwords, or questions about who we might know inside the party. Guess what? We don't really give a fuck about your lame party. But it has made it almost impossible to get a drink anywhere after dark in Park City, as more and more establishments are taken over for private parties. This has been an unfortunate trend here at the festival. If it keeps up (and how can it not?) it will drive off those of us who are long-standing enthusiastic participants. That is a sad thing.

2. French Documentarians. We liked parts of the documentary By the Ways: a Journey with William Eggleston, a film about the amazingly gifted and iconic photographer. We hate to be so culturally myopic (much less engage in muscle-truck patriotism), but those French folks just don't get what it means to be American, much less from The South. I guess what we're wondering is, can self-indulgent French filmmakers really capture the aesthetic of a simple and unassuming—and incredibly accessible—master American photographer?

3. Painful Q&A sessions. At Sundance, every movie ends with a session during which the cast and crew of the film assemble at the front of the room and field questions from the audience. This is one of the best parts of the festival. Unfortunately, it often devolves into a forum for the same series of boring questions: What kind of film stock did you shoot this on? Is this film autobiographical? How many days did it take to shoot? Were there any animals harmed in the making of this film? We ended up often feeling sorry for the filmmakers for having to respond to these inane questions.

4. Celebrities who get their food before you at a restaurant, even though you ordered 30 minutes before they even arrived at their table. Not to mention names, but the stars and entourage affiliated with the documentary All Aboard! Rosie O'Donnell's Family Cruise deserve a hog-whipping for all the bacon they ate before we got our food.

5. Tracy Chapman on any documentary film score. Music in film is often essential. However, at this festival several bad musical choices have cheapened very powerully emotional moments.

Top 5 favorites:

1.Hanging out with friends while Grandma watches the little guy.


2. The documentary Small Town Gay Bar. If you get the chance to see this film in your city, take the time. It's a moving portrait of the struggles of the gays and lesbians in small town Mississippi. Really, though, the best thing about this film was seeing the filmmakers and two women from the movie standing on the stage after the movie, crying as the audience gave them a standing ovation.

3. Short films: The Aluminum Fowl, Undressing My Mother, and Supermarket Love Song. You can view these films online.

4. Some great dialogue:
From the short film Lighten Up:
Referring to the pleasure of sticking light bulbs up one's ass:
“So how good is it?”
“Have you ever read Angela's Ashes?”
“That good?”
“Yeah, almost.”

And from the Korean film The Peter Pan Formula:
“I want to sleep with you.”
“How about a hand job, then?”

5. Loving to hate this year's ubiquitous roadkill footwear trend. The Sasquatch boot. The Yeti snowshoe. Or best of all, The Shoebacca. Call it what you want:



Bonus: Loving to love the fur jock strap trend, the Davy Cockett. Thank you, Matt.




6 responses to “Dispatch from Sundance”

  1. Lane says:

    Love that furry jockstrap.

    And speaking of sex at Sundance:

    Give it up for Richard Prince.

  2. Adriana says:

    MMMMMMM, shoebacca, warm and toasty, seductive, with my hat and that jock strap I could become the Cave Lady star of the next art opening. Please send several, and thanks for your entertaining and informative post!

  3. JaneAnne says:

    Wow–sorry to hear it’s changing for the worse. My one and only time at the festival was in 1987 as a college sophomore. I do remember seeing, like, 4-5 movies a day (including Betty Blue, Sullivan’s Pavilion and Platoon). I do remember it being really cold. I don’t remember any crowds. And I didn’t see any celebrities.

    How y’all doin’, anyway?

  4. Riptide says:

    The best part of Sundance was not the films. It was seeing Rebecca naked in a snowy hottub at 2 am.

  5. jason wilson says:

    i think that your 5 dislikes should be forwarded to redford (assuming he’s alive….is he?)
    i’m sorry i missed

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