2010 Sundance Diary: Day 3
Day 3 (Saturday, Jan. 23)
The weather continued to be terrible today, but at least I got to see a movie about a monster baby. That balances the scales considerably.
But first we have to talk about “Douchebag.” This derogatory term has come into more common usage in the last few years, so it was probably inevitable that someday it would be a movie title. I can think of about a dozen Sundance movies I’ve seen that could have been called “Douchebag”; I guess it’s only surprising that no one used it sooner.
Unfortunately, the movie peaks at its title. It’s about a guy who’s about to get married who is forced to reconcile with his estranged brother. The man referenced in the title is a jerk, but he’s not really a douchebag, per se. Not frat-ish enough. Anyway, whatever he is, the movie is lazy and half-baked. In fact, at 70 minutes long, it’s barely a movie. It’s more like the outline for a movie, waiting for someone to fill in the blanks. Such a waste of a good title. (In Italy, the film will be called “Baggaduccio.”)
While I was waiting in line for the next press screening, Mother Nature sent another plague to afflict me: a bloody nose. I actually used to get bloody noses frequently during the second winter I lived in Utah, presumably due to the cold, dry air. But that was years ago. Is Park City colder and drier than usual? Did its altitude increase? This is unacceptable. Not wanting to lose my place in line, I just sort of tilted my head back and let the blood flow down my throat, which is gross and not very nourishing. About a minute later, we were admitted to the theater anyway, and I was able to get to the bathroom and stop the hemorrhaging.
The movie I was in line to see, which I now watched with slightly less than the normal amount of blood in my system, was “Please Give,” and I liked it. Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt are a New York couple who own an antique store, which they stock by purchasing furniture from newly deceased people’s next of kin. Keener’s character feels guilty about this, and about most things; she’s the type who gives too much money to panhandlers and is constantly searching for volunteer opportunities, all of which only make her sadder. It was written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, whose “Lovely & Amazing” and “Friends with Money” were also pretty good. She’s almost certainly the most talented Holofcener currently making movies.
A lot of my movie pals were excited for the 10:00 film, a horror flick called “Splice.” Covering Sundance is generally pretty fun anyway, but of course it’s always a little more enjoyable when you have your buddies with you. It also helps when the movie is crazy and awesome, like “Splice” is. It’s about Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley being scientists and making a monster baby. Then terrible things happen!! Which you wouldn’t have thought. In Japan, this movie will be called “Monster Baby.”
Afterward, several of us headed to someone’s hotel room at the Yarrow, the traditional location for post-movie revelry. You should see the way we function, we online writers. Most of us carry our laptops around, so while chatting with friends we sometimes suddenly sit down and do some writing for a few minutes. This is not considered impolite. Plenty of iPhones to go around, too, so no one’s ever very far from the Internet. At one point while we were hanging out tonight I checked Twitter and noted that of the nine people in the room, two had already tweeted about the gathering.
Speaking of Twitter, it was the source of pain and sorrow tonight, as usual. It seems John Lichman from Current.com hated “Splice” and figured that meant he should spoil the ending for his Twitter followers. When it was pointed out that this is a jerky thing to do, he came back with a variety of comically bad justifications for it, including:
We didn’t spoil anything about Splice that the production photos … didn’t imply. [Which isn't true, by the way.]
And, from his own Twitter feed:
Spoiling a film that has been making the festival circuit since September isn’t much of a spoiler. [It's been seen by maybe two thousand people so far.]
So that was neat.
Also neat: We discovered that our rented condo has no supply of toilet paper. Plenty of bath towels and blankets and pillows, but no toilet paper. As my good deed for the day, I liberated a roll from the Yarrow hotel and brought it home with me. Sundance’s theme this year is “REBEL,” so I took that to heart.