Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Let's get caught up. 

I haven't posted about any of my films yesterday.

We started with Touch of Pink, which was good. Cute. About an Indian guy who is gay but not out to his family. His mom comes to visit and he's conflicted as to whether or not he should tell her, and also dealing with his boyfriend who is not happy about keeping the secret. The best part was Kyle Machlachlan, who plays the ghost of Cary Grant. It sounds weird, but it was really cute and funny.

Next was Trauma, which was well... traumatic. In a good way, though! It was really tripping. Parts of it reminded me of Waking the Dead, but not as romantic and a bit more mind-fucky. Colin Firth was good in it. Mena was all right. She was at the screening. She's funny-looking.

After that, I saw Word Wars, the documentary about the Scrabble national championships. I was really looking forward to this one, and I adored it. It was so funny and fascinating. It made me wanna play Scrabble like, now. The movie followed four people who would be playing in the National Championships. They tracked them for eight months leading up to the tournament. The movie felt kind of like a feature film. It had a brisk pace and really fascinating characters. When three of the four got up and spoke during the Q&A it was cool, because it wasn't like "oh those are the actors that played those wonderfun characters." The characters themselves were right up there. I predict the movie will do really well, and a Scrabble craze like no other will hit the country as soon as it is released.

The last movie of the night was We Don't Live Here Anymore, which we saw at 11:30 pm at the library. Nicole and I sat in the front row, hoping the actors would join the director for Q&A afterwards and we could take pictures. That didn't end up happening. The film was pretty good, though. It was about two couples and the adultery that wreaked havoc on their marriages. The performances stood out more than anything. Naomi Watts was incredible as usual. But, Mark Ruffalo (whose character the director called the "soul of the film") also was great. Laura Dern, as much as I don't care for her, was good as was Peter Krause. I rated the film a four on my ballot.

I didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night. I was up and at 'em for an 8:30 screening of The Woodsman this morning.

I'm here to tell you that The Woodsman has been the best film of the festival. I believe it will win the Grand Jury prize. It was so amazing. It's exactly what I expect in independent film and exactly what I haven't been seeing much of lately here at the festival. It's a thought-provoking film about a man just released from prison where he did time for child molestation. I don't want to say much more other than just to rave about what a complex and challenging film it was. I thought it was incredibly courageous. I have never seen Kevin Bacon act like he did in this film. I shed a few tears after the movie, not because it was a tear-jerker by any stretch, but just because I was truly moved by its brilliance.

Right now, I'm psyched because I have tickets tomorrow to see Supersize me, which I've been looking forward to for a while.

At this point, my plan is to shower, then head to Main Street where at 2 PM I will watch a panel that includes John Cameron Mitchell.

I'm sleepy! More Red Bull!

Monday, January 19, 2004

:: Whine :: 

Imdb.com says Garden State will most likely be the best film of the festival. Another Sundance website says Napolean Dynamite is.


Sigh. I'm such a whiner.

Leaving in a few minutes for my first film of the day, Touch of Pink. Elissa and Thomas saw Primer this morning and I remember hearing them rave about it amidst my slumber. I want to see something incredible today.


I have four tickets today, and my first movie is not until 3 PM! That means NAPS for Dor.

My movies today are:

Touch of Pink
Word Wars
We Don't Live Here Anymore

I'm most looking forward to Word Wars and We Don't Live Here Anymore.

I forgot to mention I ran into two friends yesterday. First I saw Eric after the Tarnation screening. Then I ran into Greg on the bus yesterday. Broken finger and all! I hope to see more of both of them as the festival continues.

Now naps.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Nonstop movies 

I've seen four today. It was going to be five, but I'm a dumb ass and lost the ticket! Don't know where I put it! Grr.

Anyways, where were we....

After Maria Full Of Grace, Matt and I joined Elissa and Thomas in the wait list line for I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Well, we relieved them so they could go elsewhere for a bit. While we waited, we chatted with the friendliest folk! One of the best things about this festival is making friends with the people you're waiting near. When we could sneak away from the line for a sec, Matt and I indulged in the perfect 20-degree-weather treat -- Coldstone Creamery!

Back in line, Matt reunited with his new friend Glen and he put me in touch with some of his friends who could get me a ticket for the next movie, Tarnation.

So, we got into I'll Sleep When I'm Dead which was well done. Jonathan Rhys Myers and Clive Owen were eye candy, that's for sure. There were parts of the movie that were confusing to me. I didn't downright love the film, but it wasn't anywhere near bad. I'm glad I went. The story was interesting. The Q&A with Mike Hodges was also really cool.

Afterwards, I went outside and immediately joined the waitlist line where I further acquainted myself with thee most adorable boy(s) I've encountered yet in Park City. Film students from Southern Illinois that were sadly seeing their last film of the fest before they began the long journey back, for classes Tuesday morning. I tried (tour-style) to convince them to stay for just another movie or two, but they were not having it. Nuts!

Now, I'm at the Queer Lounge


enjoying the free Internet and kicking myself that I freakin' lost my CSA ticket. I'm such a dingaling!

Next on the agenda -- sleeping on concrete, hopefully getting good tickets, etc. More later!

Two in a row 

Today has been a good morning. I woke at 7:40, showered, and went to November.

Wow -- what a trippy movie. This was the one starring Courteney Cox (in a non-comedic role!) and James LeGros. It sort of reminded me of One Hour Photo in terms of how stylishly it was filmed, and maybe a bit of Run Lola Run, too. I did really enjoy it, but one problem I see with it is that I really didn't grasp the point film at all until the director explained it afterwards during the Q&A. So in that way, it reminded me of Mulholland Drive. One of those "uhhhh... what the fuck.." type of reactions until I did a bit of reading and then I appreciated it more. I think I gave November a 4 out of 5 for the audience award.

After November, I made my way to the only screening today for which I have a ticket -- Maria Full Of Grace. This film was outstanding. It took place in Colombia and NYC and was about a 17 year old girl who gets mixed up with carrying drugs over the border by swallowing them. First of all, the movie alone was powerful and well-done. While I was watching it, I was completely engrossed. I didn't once stop to think about the time, or how tired I was, or what I would be doing next, or how uncomfortable the seats were. I felt completely there with the characters the whole time. Secondly, the Q&A was so touching, afterwards. The entire cast was there, plus the director and a few people involved in the production. The director is, as far as I could see, a caucasian guy from the US but he had so obviously formed an amazing bond not only with his cast and crew but with the subject matter. He was so nervous and proud. It made me love the movie even more. Several of the people involved in the film talked about the issue of drug trafficking and they spoke first in Spanish, but they would get so involved in what they were saying that they forgot to pause and have the director translate. I was grateful to speak Spanish at that point, because I could understand about 90% of what they were saying.

Now, I'm back at the condo but only for a moment. We're meeting Thomas and Elissa at the waitlist line for I'll Sleep When I'm Dead as soon as MP gets out of the shower.

It's warmer today. That makes me happy. The shuttles are running slow as fuck and they're so crowded I've been concerned more than once that I wouldn't be able to get off when it was my stop. That makes me annoyed.

Clearly, I was not able to get tickets for the ones I selected today (Marie & Bruce, Supersize Me & Home of Phobia). I'm gonna waitlist Home of Phobia tonight so, wish me luck.

An overview... 

Here are the movies I saw so far:

Riding Giants -- Surfing documentary. I'd give it 2.5 out of five stars. Well done, just didn't interest me.

Garden -- Israeli documentary about gay prostitutes. Interesting, but difficult to watch when I was so sleepy. I'd give it two stars.

Employee of the Month -- Hilarious! Four out of five stars. Sort of raunchy, fun and silly twists. Steve Zahn was of course the highlight.

Harry and Max -- this bumps Love Liza off my "all time worst five movies" list. It was so ridiculously, laughably, insanely horrible. I've never seen so many people walk out of a movie within the first 20 minutes. No stars!!

Saddest Music in the World -- Didn't do it for me. Really artsy. Isabella Rosselini and Matt McKinney (both of whom we met before the screening) were lovely as a depression-era amputee running a speakeasy and a sleaze-ball producer from NYC. The whole movie was shot on really grainy black and white. I wanted it to be over so badly. Two stars.

Goodbye, Lenin! -- Will probably end up being my favorite or one of my favorites from the festival. Outstanding!! It was about a boy and his mother living in East Germany. Just before the fall of the Berlin wall, his mother has a heart attack and goes into a coma and doesn't wake up for eight months. The doctor says any excitement could be life-threatening so the son recreates communist East Berlin so his mom doesn't find out the wall went down. It was so heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. I loved it.

Second Best -- I also liked this one a lot. Four out of five stars. I've never been a huge Joe Pantoliano fan but I have to say that he really won me over, here. I found the story easily relateable (which yes, means I am a big loser) and I laughed a lot. And the short before it, David Mamet's Gilded Stones, was probably one of the best shorts I've ever seen at Sundance or anywhere for that matter.

I am waking up in four and a half hours for a 8:30 screening of November, which I'm looking forward to because it's InDigEnt which produced some of my favorite films of Sundances past -- Tadpole and Pieces of April in particular. Let's hope I can stay awake for them.

Tomorrow, ideally I will be seeing:

Supersize Me
Marie & Bruce
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Home of Phobia

I'm sure they'll be sold out, though, and I'll end up with like... The Butterly Effect, or something.

Someone said Matt Damon is in town. I find myself not giving a shit about celebrity spotting. Instead, I've been really focused on sleeping and movies. It's nice.

Speaking of sleeping...

Saturday, January 17, 2004

In the swing of things 

I've seen four movies total, so far.

Yesterday, I saw Employee of the Month, which starred Steve Zahn and Matt Dillon, and was directed by Mitch Rouse, who also writes for Strangers With Candy. I really liked the movie. It made me laugh. It wasn't entirely what I expected it to be. It did have some of SWC's raunch. I could see how it was written by the same guy.

After that, we dashed over to Chrystal at the library. This was the Billy Bob Thornton movie about backwoods people in the Ozarks. I'm glad I saw it. It had a lot of heart to it. But some parts of it were downright awful. The dialogue and some of the situations the characters got themselves into were just laughable when they weren't supposed to be.

That got out at almost 2 AM. By 3 AM I was at the box office camped out for tix for tomorrow' screenings. The box office opens at 8 AM. I actually just got back from that. Half of the films I wanted were sold out. Disappointing. But my first one of the day -- Harry and Max -- is not until 12:00. I'm also seeing The Saddest Music In the World and Second Best. I will be trying very hard to waitlist into Supersize Me as well.

Now, it's time to catch up on work emails and take a nap.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Doc Days 

It's 4:15 and I've only seen one movie today.

Screw the box office! Well, it's my fault, mostly. We overslept. We got there at 7 AM and it was a madhouse. Too long of a line to even bother getting in it.

But we did run into Elissa and Thomas! Old buddies of mine from Sundances past. We've been hanging out with them all day. They rule. I wasn't 100% sure they were coming, so I was thrilled to see them.

They were closer to the front of the line so they got us two tickets to one of the ones that wasn't yet sold out, which is Chrystal, which I'm seeing tonight later on.

Then, we went to see a movie called Garden, which was an Israili documentary about gay prostitutes. I enjoyed it. I kept accidentally falling asleep. I watched 24 on my computer again while I waited in the waitlist line.

We tried to do the waitlist for Garden State but that just didn't work out at all. We waited a long time (well, Elissa and Thomas waited for us) but didn't get in. So then we checked into our lovely hotel with the bitchy staff, and now we're heading off to Main Street.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The first movie... 

I saw Riding Giants tonight, the documentary about surfing.

What, exactly, made me think I would be interested in this film? Eh. It was well made, I'm sure. It was directed by the guy who did Dogtown and Z Boyz, which I did not see but was supposedly amazing.

The movie was... well, it felt really long. Maybe that's because I'm not exactly sure how long my mini-naps were. I do know that one was long enough to allow a long string of drool to fall from my mouth. Sexy.

I did like watching all the wipe-outs, and the camera work was amazing. I can't imagine how they shot it. But it really just boils down to... I don't give two fucks about surfing. Sorry!

Before the movie, I spent some quality time in the waitlist line. I was smart, though. I rented 24 disc 5 from the Blockbuster down the street, and I watched it on my computer while I waited. Until my battery ran out on my computer. Before the waitlist line, I went to Badass Coffee, which just made me miss Lisa Bee a lot.

At the movie, I met a nice couple from L.A. that was telling me that I should be in the film industry because I'm so interested in movies. I was like "hmm, no.... I'll just watch them, thanks." They were sweet, though. Oh yeah, and Robert Redford spoke and a billion peopel took pictures. I couldn't be bothered.

So after the movie, I visited the best place in the world, AKA Noodles & Company, my favorite restaurant. As many of you know, Noodles has several convenient locations throughout the midwest, Texas and even D.C. but none in California. Incidentally, the new Salt Lake City location is the closest one to my apartment. A mere 12 hour drive. So, I had some Noods for dinner tonight. With the gift card my mom gave me for Christmas. YUMS!

Then, on the way back to the hotel, I called up Lisa Bee and because she is wonderful and amazing, she was able to tell me how to get to the Sheraton hotel here in Salt Lake even though she herself is a Milwaukee resident. Reason #1613613 I love her.

For the record -- this is NOT the hotel that we stayed in last time. That was the other Sheraton. Matt was smoking crack!

Now, I'm in the hotel room and it's ridiculously late. The alarm goes off in five hours. Yep, at 5 AM. I'm not fucking around with the waitlist this year.

Byyyy the way, comments appear to be f-u-c-k FUCKED so no leaving any. Sorry! Email me to say hi.

One more thing. I found out that Elissa is in town and this makes my whole 10 days. I'm thrilled.

I'm Here!!! 

I've arrived in Park City! Yesterday was quite a day.

Apparently, 4 PM is really not the best time of day to go from WeHo to Long Beach. It took me an hour and a half! I kicked butt while I was there and got everything done that needed doing and it all went wonderfully. I was out of there later than planned, but it worked out.

I was picking up the two people I met from Craigslist who I was to give rides to. Kristian was first, in Hollywood. Then we went to get Chris in North Hollywood. Then we were on the road!

What nice guys. We talked or sang the whole way. Yay for new friends.

Oooh -- we stopped in Vegas at this really um... "off the beaten path" casino called Ellis Island. $4.99 steak dinners! And I gambled $15 and won $80! I do believe that's my first time winning anything more than like $20. I was thrilled. Still am.

So, the drive was great. I drove all of it until 6:30 AM and then Kristian took over. It was nice to be on the road again. Familiar setting for me. It's not the same without my team, though. No one really cared when I was like "you know what we haven't listened to in a while..." And they weren't interested in Never Have I Ever. :P

So now I'm in Park City at a Cyber Cafe. I visited the Queer Lounge and it is looking really cool. I will definitely be back. At the gateway center, I ran into a guy I waited in line with a lot last year, named Scott. I've been here just about an hour and it already feels like a community again.

Matt and Nicole fly in tonight. I'm going to try to see the opening night film, which is a documentary on surfing called Riding Giants. It's screening at the Eccles. The plan is to drop off a box of scrips that I brought up here for someone, get the bois situated at their condo, and then get in the waitlist line. Perhaps some lunch in between, maybe even a nap. We'll have to see. My sense of time is all screwed up now.

If you're reading this, leave a comment to say hi!

More later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Uh oh. 

I'm about to pack up my car.

There is moderate concern that everything will not fit. My things have taken up half the space, and I haven't yet added my passengers and their luggage. Ah well, 'twill be an adventure.

I love randomizing mp3's. However, it's time to turn the computer off and pack her. Momentous!

Marco and Carole should be here any moment. Their plane landed in Long Beach an hour and a half ago. With rental car action and 405 action, that should be about nowish.

Leaving soon... 

Tonight will be my last night in my own bed before the craziness begins.

Tomorrow my friends Marco and Carole are flying in from NY. They're staying at my apartment while I'm gone. I'm going to show them around for a few hours, then I need to go into work for a couple of hours. Just a quick drive down to Long Beach. Then immediately after my business there is through, I'm gonna zip back up here, pick up two people who I'm driving, and hit the ROAD!

So perhaps it'd be a good time to start doing laundry and packing, maybe. Just maybe!

Monday, January 12, 2004

Sundance Music Cafe 

There are two Music Cafe days that my friends and I are really wanting to attend:

Saturday, January 17th

2:30 p.m. Goapele
3:10 p.m. Tim O’Brien
3:50 p.m. Shawn Colvin

Sunday, January 18th

2:30 p.m. Edie Brickell
3:10 p.m. Shawn Colvin
3:50 p.m. Ricky Fante
4:30 p.m. Jason Mraz

Anyone know what the best way is to crash those performances?


My Favorite Movies

While I'm on the subject of Sundance movies, I thought I'd list my ten favorite Sundance films ever.

These are my favorite films that I saw at Sundance in the past four years:

10. The Laramie Project
9. Lost & Delirious
8. Northfork
7. Scotland, PA
6. The Cooler
5. Secretary
4. Tadpole
3. But I'm a Cheerleader
2. Pieces of April
And my favorite Sundance movie ever (and coincidentally also my favorite movie of all time is...

1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Welcome to my Sundance Blog!

I'm going to be blogging about my experiences at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. It's Sunday night. I leave in three days. I'm going to drive overnight with two people I haven't met yet, but who are involved in this:


It should be exciting. We're going to stop for a late dinner in Las Vegas.

Here is a list of films I would like to see while I'm there:

Mean Creek
Word Wars
D.E.B.S. -- One of the stars of it comes into my work all the time
Garden State
Second Best
Employee of the Month
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Napoleon Dynamite
Super Size Me
Marie and Bruce -- written by the guy who wrote the last Lili Taylor play I saw
The Machinst
Touch of Pink
We Don't Live Here Anymore
The Woodsman
Home of Phobia
Book of Love
Seven Times Lucky
The Dreamers

That list will probably change daily, depending on what I hear about which films. My goal is to see 30 films this year. I think I only saw 28 last year. I did a lot of wait-listing early on which is a big ol' waste of time.

So, bookmark this spot and come back to check in on me and my movie-going fun. I'll be there from January 15th through 25th. I'll try to update at least once or twice a day.

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