Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sundance 2008 Wrap-Up

The two questions I’m always asked after Sundance:

1. What did you see that you liked?

★ ★ ★ ★ The Visitor
★ ★ ★ ★ Diminished Capacity
★ ★ ★ ★ Transsiberian
★ ★ ★ ★ A Raisin in the Sun
★ ★ ★ ★ Birds of America
★ ★ ★ Made in America
★ ★ ★ The Merry Gentleman
★ ★ ★ The Deal
★ ★ ★ U2 3D
★ ★ ★ Henry Poole is Here
★ ★ ★ The Yellow Handkerchief
★ ★ ★ Red
★ ★ ★ CSNY Déjà Vu
★ ★ ★ Baghead
★ ★ The Last Word
★ ★ Incendiary
★ ★ The Year of Getting to Know Us
★ ★ Sleepwalking
★ ★ Time Crimes
Pretty Bird
Savage Grace
Towelhead
Unrated: Death in Love

Other movies that got very good word-of-mouth, but that I didn’t see:
In Bruges (Colin Farrell, brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes)
The Great Buck Howard (Tom Hanks, John Malkovich, Steve Zahn, Colin Hanks)
Sunshine Cleaning (Amy Adams, Jason Spevack, Steve Zahn)
Phoebe in Wonderland (Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman)
Frozen River (Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott)
What Just Happened? (Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn)
The Wind and the Water (Spanish)

2. What stars did you see? I always hesitate to answer that. Perhaps the better questions would be:

What big stars did you meet personally, get to know, and plan to vacation with in the future? Uhhhh ... none.

What big stars did you make small talk with and exchange email addresses? Let me think. OK. None again.

What big stars did your wife bump into in the bathroom and you exchange a sentence with? Finally, one--Glenn Close. My sources tell me she did wash her hands after doing her business.

What big stars did you see as they walked by on their way to the podium to talk about their movies? Such a deeply personal connection. My new-found friends include David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Bono, The Edge, U2, Sharon Stone, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Arnold, Luke Wilson, Eddy Redmayne, Wes Bentley, William Macy, Meg Ryan, Stacy Peralta, Jason Ritter, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Virginia Madsen, Michael Keaton, Kelley Macdonald, P. Diddy, Phylicia Rashad, Woody Harrelson, Glenn Close, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, Maria Bello, Ben Kingsley, Eduardo Noriega, Kate Mara and William Hurt, among others.

Which of these were most impressive? Ben Kingsley, Jimmy Fallon, Stacy Peralta, Alan Alda and Phylicia Rashad.

For most of us mere mortals, the big stars are very inaccessible at Sundance. Maybe you see them here and there, but it would be inappropriate to intrude, even if you could. On the other hand, there are plenty of people involved in the movies, e.g. directors, producers, writers and actors, who are passionate about their work and more than eager to talk about their films. They haven’t become big yet (and maybe never will) and they are very excited to be at Sundance. I always meet and talk to quite a few of these, and it is one of my favorite parts of the festival.

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