Monday, January 24, 2011

Good Choices

I met up with my colleague J yesterday. She booked us tickets to see Pariah in Salt Lake City. Not only are their Sundance films in Park City, but several are screened in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and the Sundance Resort in Utah County. The guide to Sundance in the newspaper last week talked about SLC being the best place to see the films and after yesterday I would agree. The parking issues aren’t severe, and there isn’t the media circus that is Park City to distract from the purpose.

Meeting up with J ahead of time was funny because right now my attitude about the festival is nothing but positive having seen two great films. She’s been going to Sundance screenings for years and seen some things that she thought were crap so she’s much more level-headed. But this time around, we both agreed she picked a winner. Pariah had us laughing and crying at the end, and was beautifully shot. After the film almost all the principal actors, the writer and director, producer, cinematographer, and even the costume designer all came on stage to answer questions. The film has been 5 ½ years in the making, yet was filmed over 19 days in Fort Greene in Brooklyn. My favorite film genre has always been the coming of age story and this one is a favorite in that category for sure.

Writer/Director of Pariah and cast members

One thing that was kind of funny, we were in this big theatre sitting in the balcony to see Pariah and the lights went down, then just as the opening Sundance credits rolled, there was an issue with the lights and they came back on in the balcony. You could still see the screen but it was a bit faint. A few random folks in the audience shouted “lights” hoping someone in the volunteer crew would fix the issue before the actual film began. Then when the film began and it hadn’t gotten fixed, a desperate sounding “LIGHTS!” came from the audience. I turned to J and started laughing saying “Oh my God lights people, lights!” in the most pleading and desperate voice. It was as if all these cinephiles were going to lose their minds if the film wasn’t shown in the most perfect of settings. They ended up stopping the film until the light issue could be sorted and then started again to great audience applause.

Later last night there was a film that I thought A might like and I’ve got two guest waitlist vouchers to use so we headed back to downtown after dinner to see the film Like Crazy. We stood in our respective lines with our waitlist and volunteer tickets and both got in. As we stood in line we both talked to other festivalgoers. I had a nice chat with some fellow volunteers who were sharing their faves so far. I was reminded once again how Americans really will bare their souls to the folks they’re queuing with and during the festival this has made me very happy.

As I was waiting for A to join me I picked two seats towards the back for us and just as we were settling in for Like Crazy to start, who got ushered in and seated among us normal folk? Tobey Maguire. He walked about a foot from A, who I thought was going to burst into tears. As he was seated her comments were, “OMG Spiderman, our mission is complete”. I don’t think she watched the film, she watched Tobey watching the film. He really did look like a normal chap. Dressed in jeans and a jacket he blended right in and wasn’t with an entourage, he was alone, and we saw him exit out a side exit during the middle of the Q&A after the film.

Oh, so how was the film? I enjoyed it. The female lead who A thought looked so familiar, was beautiful and I could see her really having a career after this. The end was a bit ambiguous leaving everyone to wonder if they stayed together. The director wanted it that way.

So far I’ve loved everything I’ve seen. Will today also be a success? Fingers crossed.


Poodlebugz said...

I love living vicariously through you at Sundance! (And, I am supremely jealous, too!)

Did you see any of the hoopla around "Red State"? There's been a lot of hype, because it's such a departure for Kevin Smith, and there were supposed to be protests and such.

J said...

I've been following the coverage but missed the drama. Would have loved to see Kevin!