Brandon's Sundance Experience: Time Keeps on Slippin'
by Brandon Lee Tenney
January 26, 2010
Previously, on Brandon's Sundance Experience, I had not yet seen a single film at the fest. Now I've seen 22. And over the course of six days, I've slept maybe ten hours. Here in Park City, you see, sleep is a mirage. A myth. The stuff of legend. At this very moment, I'm forgoing sleep in order to write this. So, if you happen to find me face-down in a grey slush puddle somewhere in Park City, please do not wake me. I need the rest.
So what have I learned thus far at Sundance? Planning is necessary, but only two days in advance. Flexibility and patience are prerequisites for attending the fest. The volunteers are incredibly helpful. And even if the volunteers aren't extremely helpful, say when they snap at you to do some arbitrary action and refuse to listen to your reasoning, it's because they're so goddamned stressed. Hell, I'd be too if I had to spend six hours a day answering the same inane questions from the likes of my cohorts and me. I've also learned that wearing boots is vital to survival here. My Converse All Stars just weren't cuttin' it in the six inches of snow and slush. Also, eating an actual, honest-to-goodness meal is a premium occurrence. I have managed to make it happen at least once per day. My other meals have consisted mainly of a palm-full of raw, unsalted almonds and a Granny Smith apple. Does the body good. Kind of.
Another very cool occurrence here in Park City is that the world-renowned street artist Banksy is in town. Of course, he's incognito, but his work has been sprouting up around the city. His documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was announced as the surprise screening -- a film I'll be seeing in a few days -- so it looks like he's made the trip stateside from across the pond for the occasion. In fact, he even drew some art on Main Street (photo courtesy of Erik Davis).
That brings me to some more film-related topics. Wait, there are films here? Oh yeah.
If you've been on the site, you'll have surely seen my Sundance reviews along with Alex's. The discerning reader will have noticed that I have not written a review for every film I've seen -- or, at least, haven't posted a review for every film I've seen. This reasoning is two-fold.
First, some of my reviews have been in the form of video reviews, usually with my housemates Peter Sciretta and David Chen of SlashFilm. The video review is a thing of beauty. Not only is it a joy for you to watch, I hope, even if it's not it's still something everyone is able to watch. Unlike this, which you're reading. And everybody knows reading is for squares. Oh, and it's also a lot quicker of a process than finding the time to sit down, consult my notes, and compose a written review. At Sundance, quicker is better. (Make your jokes here.) Time is never on your side. And it never sleeps. Which is fortunate, 'cause I at least have company when I'm not sleeping!
Second, there are some films that I just didn't feel the desire to write about. For the most part, this is because I didn't like them. Allow me to rephrase: For the most part, this is because I hated them with extreme prejudice. Erik Davis of Cinematical discussed his policy of reviewing films at Sundance with me over dinner tonight (buffalo burgers and fries, if you were wondering). He mentioned that if he really hates a film, instead of bashing it he'll just abstain from mentioning it at all. Since a lot of these films will never see wide distribution, why spend time bashing a film that you, the readers, will never see and will only prove to smash a film that's already so low on the totem pole. I've seen only one film thus far that I hated. I even wrote a review for it, but have decided, due to the above, not to post it. That film is Sympathy for Delicious, Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut. Another film that I saw that I just didn't like is Douchebag. It's just... not great. Not good. If either of these films get picked up, you all will be the first to read my review. Until then, though, it's in the vault.
So, that's that for now. Time for three more hours of sleep and four more films. Of note, thus far my favorite film of the fest is Blue Valentine. Because I loved this film so much -- and because there's so much to be mined from within and between its frames -- I'll be writing a longer, more in depth review of it in the near future. Know this though -- it's phenomenal.
I feel like I've been in Park City for three months. And I still have six glorious days left. I'm starting to think this just might be a Rekall Inc. virtual vacation. I'll let you know if I find Kuato.