Sundance Diary Day Five
7:30 AM Wake up and get dressed, I’m worried the line for The East is going to be super crazy so I want to be there super early to ensure that I have a mega primo seat.
8:05 AM The shuttle arrives, carting me and a woman in a full fur coat off to the fest. My boots have begun to crack all around the edges, letting in the cold and air. They’re like 3-year-old $10 rain boots from Target, and not at all appropriate footwear for freezing snow temperatures, but I am cheap and only wear snow boots once a year. But this is the last year for these kids. Hell, they may not make it back to the hotel tonight.
9AM The East - Seth has a review of this coming, but this was one of the best films I saw at the festival. A private sector investigator infiltrates an eco-terrorist cell. Brit Marling is so beautiful and talented and the film is so vibrant and wondrous, scary and well-made it just makes you want to tear your own stupid attempts at making things into bits so no one can see how bad you are at making the things.
10:30 AM In every movie I see there seems to be a death and I have been having horrible flashbacks to the death of my own grandmother recently. I just hope that it goes away but there’s something so real about this one that it feels the same and I tear up. I don’t know why this keeps happening but I’m hoping that it isn’t a lasting condition since it seems as if most movies have death in some kind of form. Obviously I’d been around death before, but I’d had a limited capacity, a not-quite-knowledge about it. I guess there really are some things that if you live through them in startling proximity, you can’t help but be deeply affected by even an approximation on screen.
11:30 We’re out of The East and right back in line for the next one. This is gonna be a six movie day, the end of which will likely have me forgetting my own name, so this next one is just for fun.
12:30 Sweetwater. Wow! Raucous and audacious, yet strangely by the book, a Western that deals with religion, race and vengeance. January Jones’ hair should win an award. She’s vacant and listless as usual but it works here as it works for Betty Draper. Also, boobs. This movie wasn’t exactly fun, but it was pretty good and Ed Harris is fantastic and nonchalant and charismatic. I wonder if they film all Westerns on the same sets as I can almost swear this is the Deadwood set but can’t be sure.
2 PM Seth and I wander over to the FreshMarket to get a sandwich.
2:02 PM I complain about this not being a Whole Food and Seth indulgently agrees, although I think he’s just hoping I stop talking about how Whole Foods makes really good sandwiches.
2:07 PM These sandwich options are disturbing but the “fresh” sushi is ten times scarier so I select a turkey and cheddar and then, slowly, ever so slowly and slyly, a Kit Kat. Oh yes. Ohhhhh yes.
2:30 PM Seth’s in line to see Prince Avalanche. I attempt to write but mostly just shove dry sandwich into my mouth. I make a mess of the mayonnaise, of course, it’s everywhere somehow and I’m sure I look disgusting. I’m already so tired and I have four more movies. I eat my Kit Kat even though I was saving it. It tastes like a five star dessert at El Bulli.
3:30 PM Toy’s House — I don’t care for this one at all, which is a huge bummer as it’s been talked up as quite good. Nick Offerman glaring at things has kind of hit a plateau in my heart and the weird humor, while usually right up my alley isn’t upping my alley as much as it should. That young actor Nick Robinson is really sort of lazily beautiful in that way that doesn’t acknowledge the future. Youth and Beauty Brigade card carrying member.
5:08 PM Seth makes it in line to see Upstream Color, the only movie he ever wanted to see. I’m super jealous, but eh. I’ll see it in April. We text about meeting up for Ass Backwards.
5:45 PM There’s just enough time to make it over to the Eccles. I’m terrified of getting on the wrong bus, but I make it just fine. I do see some people I do not like on the bus but no one ever remembers meeting me or who I am so I don’t have to talk to them.
5:50 PM Somewhere in all the raging I have lost my scarf. I check in with lost and found and am tempted very much to steal this lovely warm-looking oatmeal scarf a woman offers up as a possibility, but she sees the glint in my eyes and I have to admit that no, that one’s not my scarf. Why isn’t there a reality show or a game show about Lost and Found?
6 PM They let us into the Eccles for Very Good Girls. Half the crowd starts standing up and taking pictures of something. I am writing and don’t really care at this point, but the woman next to me goes “Why is Jake Gyllenhaal here? He’s not in this!” I shrug, go back to my writing and she says “Well that’s who they’re taking pictures of!” Trying to get me interested. I keep typing after nodding politely.
6:17 PM I’m super tempted to make a SatC joke and say “You can’t swing a d*ck in Chelsea without running into…” but I restrain myself. For once in my life. I want to tell the woman that Jake Gyllenhaal’s MOM wrote and directed the movie, but again, I restrain myself. For the second time in my life.
6:15 PM Very Good Girls
This late summer hazy exploration of sexual awakening and the complex dynamics of best friends was much stronger than I imagined it to be. Dakota Fanning was so lovely and Pervy Peter Sarsgaard makes an appearance as a perv, naturally, because if you’ve got a fink lingering around, it’s probably Sarsgaard. (Also Sarsgaard is the director’s son in law, so.) I interviewed him for ‘An Education’ lo these many years ago, and he told me a story about Dirk Bogarde riding his motorcycle, or not really riding it, just sitting on it for pictures. He was super into Dirk Bogarde.
8:15 PM Out at 8:15 and back to the Holiday for Ass Backwards. I try to write but it’s tough because of how cold it is. I eat some snacks from my bag, I’m so sick of almonds I could scream. I write my Pajiba Love, but I’m so tired it doesn’t make sense. Joanna fixes it, later. Even though the whole point of us writing them was so that Joanna wouldn’t have to fix anything.
8:30 PM Seth says he’s going back to the hotel to write, he doesn’t want to see Ass Backwards, he just saw Upstream Color through some very sneaky methods. I’m jealous and write a lot of mean things about how I’m jealous and how smart he was to end on a good note.
9PM Ass Backwards This is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Casey Wilson? I trusted you. I thought you were pretty and kind of good on SNL, I tried to watch Bride Wars WHICH YOU WROTE and that was the worst piece of crap, and now this? DEEPLY unfunny, pathetic, grating and relentless in the search for offensive, shocking behavior. I will never support your work again.
9:30 PM People leave, steadily, from this horrible movie, about every five minutes. So many walk outs it’s almost like there’s a fire alarm going off. So many walkouts it’s like if Gravedigger busts an axle right before the last bit of Monster Truck Rally.
11 PM I get out with just enough time to make it to the next screening which is at the Library. It’s freezing cold but not terrible, I think I can make it if I just don’t think about how cold it is.
11:15 PM they let us in, the thing I forgot about the Library is you have to walk up literally 3 flights of stairs with people like bum rushing you. I sort of try not to let my backpack pull me over, and slink into the first seat I find. I like this venue, but other people really don’t. It’s sort of a large auditorium at the top of the actual Park City Library, and maybe I just have a warm spot for libraries, but I like it.
11:17 PM Oh hey, Clark Duke is here.
11:20 PM Oh hey, Juno Temple is here, with bright red hair and a strange grey dress. I wonder if I’m gonna see her boobs again in this movie.
11:30 PM Oh hey, Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat are here. How fun! Everyone’s here!
11:45 Magic Magic — One of the best films I’ve seen at the festival. Really wonderful horror film that is absolutely original and mind-blowing. Juno Temple is amazing as a young woman trapped by paranoia in a foreign country. I swear to God, though, this is the third time in THREE movies that I’ve seen Temple’s boobs a BUNCH. Like, a lot. I don’t know what to think. Why so many boobs?
1:30 AM The movie lets out and all is dark in Park City. It’s freezing cold, but I’m hyped from the scary movie. I cross the street and practically hug a heat lamp as I wait for a bus that eventually comes, wearily wending its way towards the Yarrow.
1:33 AM I get out and make the concierge call me a taxi which I feel like takes his sweet time arriving, but still.
1:45 He wants to chat, but is one of those people who likes to do all the talking and I am spared, somewhat. We make our way to the Canyons, the last time I’ll make my way there, in fact, and I hand him a 20. Later I realize I didn’t tip him and I feel bad.
2 AM I am in bed, willing myself to go to sleep, so tired that my entire back and body hurt something terrible. My back re-aligns and I close my eyes, knowing I have to get up in five hours, begging and pleading. Go to sleep, please, please go to sleep. I’m too wired from the cold and from the scariness, and lay awake far longer than I mean to, my mind jostling the plots of six different movies into some of the strangest dreams I’ve had in ages.