US Comedy Arts Fest in Aspen Report - Part 2
by Alex Billington
March 3, 2007
In just two short days I'm already up and out of the wonderful mountain town of Aspen, Colorado and currently waiting at the Denver International Airport for my morning flight to San Francisco for WonderCon. It was all too short of a time at the US Comedy Arts Festival, as today was a great day with two of my new favorite comedies of 2007 and a special sneak look at The Comebacks and a chance to meet the great Dave Koechner (aka Champ Kind from Anchorman). I've slowly begun to love film festivals and the little independents and rare gems that I find. The crowds are always gracious and the atmosphere is always exciting, something which can never be found at regular screenings or regular theaters. And with that I present my final part 2 coverage of my brief trip to the US Comedy Arts Festival.
A brief overview of the films I saw today and thoughts. Full capsule reviews will be up on FS.net soon.
The Comebacks (Special Preview) - A special 10-minute preview and Q&A with the director for another spoof/farce comedy. This time it mocks every sports film ever made, literally, covering every last sport and every last sports film. I'm not usually into these types of crappy creations (think Scary Movie or Date Movie), but the scenes they showed us did make me laugh and maybe it could have promise once it's released in August.
Delirious - This is the second time I've seen this film. I saw it first at Sundance and loved it so much I had to come see it twice (read the Sundance review). A wonderful film still fully enjoyable even the second time around; it's about a life changing from nothing to the best possible with great comedy throughout.
Death at a Funeral - What a great movie! And I thought yesterday's Ira and Abby couldn't be beat - holy crap it was! This movie is up there with every other fantastic British comedy and is a great directorial return for Frank Oz. I haven't laughed this hard, this much since Borat last year, and that film even made my top 15 list at the end of 2006!
David Koechner is a great comedian and vastly underrated. He's only landed a few smaller roles and cameos (even in the recent Reno 911!: Miami), but never a leading role (until The Comebacks). He definitely deserves it! Throughout most of the hour long Comebacks presentation, David was doing stand-up, even during the question and answer session, calling out to the attractive women who were asking him questions. The full coverage of that panel will be listed in The Comebacks feature article soon, but I can say he is certainly hilarious and I hope everyone soon begins to agree with me once his recognition improves.
My final comments on the US Comedy Arts Fest is that it's no Sundance. I went in expecting full theaters, drooling-for-movies crowds, celebrities on every street corner, and endless excitement. Unfortunately Aspen is a little more expensive than Park City, and unless you can afford a high cost (think about $600+ per night) hotel room, you're not going to get out here. The screenings almost always have extra seats and hardly any filmmakers show up, except for a producer and actor here-and-there. It's got some excitement and buzz, but nothing comparable to Sundance. I would call it a much quieter, much more secluded, and much more low-key festival providing ample amounts of laughter not only with great films but stand up comics and more. There is no better festival focused purely on comedy than this.
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