Sundance Recap: Movies, Zen, and Hand Washing

I arrived back to LA earlier today. The 6-day Sundance adventure has concluded. Good-bye coldness, shuttle busses, thinking you know someone everywhere you go, and really nice Utah people. Hello warmth, smog, thinking you know someone everywhere you go, and sort of nice LA people. First time at Sundance was a pretty interesting experience and in a way it’s restored my faith and love for movies – My faith has a tendency to waiver every once in a while. There are some genuinely very good movies out there that are made in a very creative way, creative meaning lack of money and figuring out a way to get it on the screen. There are also a slew of movies with big name actors like Bradley Cooper, Bruce Willis, William H Macy, Helen Hunt, and Chris Rock (to name a few). It’s refreshing to see some of these actors taking on roles like the ones at Sundance.

The Zen…

A Sundance veteran whom happens to be a colleague of mine said, “You gotta just go with the flow” and called it the “Zen” of Sundance. He was right. One of the main things I loved is the potential of the unexpected. Out of the blue someone could mention they have extra tickets somewhere or quickly invite you to a party… you just gotta go with the flow. Take it in and enjoy.

The Hand Washing…

Before I get into talking about movies I think there is something that should be brought into the open – It’s the fact that people aren’t washing their hands in Park City! Yes.. I’m serious. When I first went into the bathroom and saw a few people walk out with out washing their hands, I dismissed it, and I wrote them off as gross trying not to think about it. But then I saw it again, and again, and then my colleague mentioned that he witnessed it too!

As an open germaphobe I will state that 1 – I’m not exaggerating and 2 – this was fucking disgusting. I don’t know why but there was a major lack of hands being washed at Sundance. I was thinking maybe it’s because people were in a hurry, but wait, there is no excuse for this. What person over the age of 5 doesn’t wash their hands? No wonder everyone comes back from Sundance sick. By the way – I’m not sick.

The All Things Sundance Total Recap And Random Awards:

Out of 12 movies that I saw at Sundance my top 3 are:

The Raid – Action, Action, Action!

The First Time – Romantic Comedy.

Robot & Frank – I wonder if sub consciously I’m saying I like this so much because I didn’t hear great reviews about it. I’m trying to be defiant… but I did like it.

Honorable Mention:

The Pact – Scary

The Surrogate – Great movie - Unfortunately I had to leave due to my neck hurting from sitting in the first row.

Simon Killer – Didn’t feel one way or another about this film at first but it’s stuck to me like gum on shoe and I have thought about it too often… that’s saying something.


Slamdance: The Slamdance film festival is located in the heart of Sundance and I loved what this festival brought. It’s a great atmosphere with good movies.


Best Place To Watch Sports: Maxwells. It’s a sports bar that was conveniently located around our hotel. The pizza was huge and delicious, the drinks were inexpensive, the server was from Wisconsin, and the TV’s were everywhere. Truthfully if I could have gotten into the ESPN party this answer would have been different.


Worst Place To Watch Sports: Maxwells. Everything I said above insert right here, and I wanted in to the ESPN party.


Best Moment: The unexpectedness of The Raid.


Worst Moment: Being stuck on main street after having a bit too much to drink watching my phone battery drain and realizing I’m overly dependent on technology.


The Narrative Feature I Really Want To See But Didn’t: V/H/S. I heard this was very good and a great new take on found footage. This was just picked up by Magnolia for roughly $1 million. See it when you can.


The Documentary I Really Want To See But Didn’t: Searching For Sugar Man. Apparently this documentary is about a musician in the 70’s that didn’t do well in America but through a string of events a bootlegged album made it’s way to South Africa. He became a massive success in South Africa with his antiestablishment sound but he never knew. Meanwhile he was floundering in America, ultimately burning himself on stage one night committing suicide.

He never knew the massive effect he had in South Africa, he was as big as the Beatles to the states, and he never made it in America. It’s pretty tragic.


Nicest Person Award: Tie – Between random Southwest Airlines chick we met that gave us the free tickets or the entire crew in Park City. Seriously, every volunteer was very nice. I was actually surprised at how well they were handling everyone. If it were me, I would have lost my shit trying to deal with everyone. If you don’t know what I’m talking about – Sundance has volunteers helping everyone out telling them bus routes or directing people into movies. They keep things moving… somehow.


The One Line I Didn’t Hear But Thought I Would: “Oh, the next time I’ll come back is when I have a movie in the festival.”


Ultimately it was a great experience, and good to know how I’ll tackle it in future years. Next time around I want that ESPN party. It funny because while you’re attending Sundance it’s business mixed with pleasure, and it’s obvious. It’s absolutely an atmosphere that you have to be around to understand, and having said that I could see how someone would love it or hate it.

Either way, it was a great time with great movies. I’m curious to see what movies penetrate the mainstream. Last year’s Sundance gem Another Earth has so far made a domestic total of roughly $1.8 million, that’s not including DVD/Streaming sales. Either way, that’s terrible… But that’s not what it’s about, right? It’s about the film, not the ultimate return, right?

I wish that were true.