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Sundance Dish - Swaggery and Scumbaggery in Utah

by Chris Parry

So you missed Sundance this year? Well, you've still got time to get up the mountain and catch a few flicks before the red carpet is put back in mothballs for another season, but if the boss won't give you the time to do so, at least I can give you all the goss so you can pretend you were here. This is a work in progress, so check back often.

BIGGEST SCUMBAG JOURNALIST:
The San Francisco Chronicle's Ruthe "spelled like douche" Stein was an early frontrunner for this award, after she stole a seat in a packed screening of The Jacket, dumping another journalist's jacket and bag in the aisle and refusing to move despite his continued and loud objections. I personally started the slow handclap behind her, but she wouldn't budge, proving once and for all that there's nobody quite so objectionable as a film journalist who actually believes she performs an important role in society.

But Douche has been surpassed by a journalist so scumbaggish that his very name brings upturned noses from his colleagues - Paul "The Fish" Fischer. This classless, sweating piece of crap showed up for a roundtable interview yesterday and not only asked the most tacky, foul questions possible, but talked over the end of the actors' answers to ensure he'd get the next question - over and over again. He was rude to the publicist, he rolled his eyes at other journalists' questions (after asking such important questions as "you've done a lot of lesbian roles... is lesbianism something that strikes a chord with you?" to an 18-year-old girl), and when told that since James Woods and Jane Krakowziak had a little spare time, they'd agreed to join the roundtable, he replied with a loud, "well how long are they going to be, because I've got another appointment?" He then proceeded to direct all questions at Woods, even when the actor asked for some questions to go to his co-star, and when the filmmakers had their turn at the roundtable, Fischer slid his recorder under their nose and TURNED HIS BACK to them.

You know what, Fischer? Get fucked. Go find yourself an outlet that'll pay for your typo-riddled, self-important garbage.

BEST SWAGGERY SO FAR:
It has to be the Activision swaghouse behind Main Street where I was gifted Frye leather boots, Activision games, X-Box accessories, skin care products (because you know I'm so in need), goosedown ski gloves, t-shirts and I can't even remember what else. Sure, there are other swaghouses offering higher priced gear to those they feel is worthy, but this house, put together by the innovative folks at fusion, is actually donating their profits from the event to St Jude's Children's Hospital. And let's face it, if you're going to put on a hideous display of corporate greed, you might as well do something for the kids while you're at it.
Special mention to the Volkswagen House, where even Scott managed to get swagged up (he popped his corporate greed cherry at last!), which will be discussed in more detail later (when someone isn't breathing own my neck for a net connection).

BIGGEST SWAGWHORE (aside from me):
Adrien "Affected" Brody. Whenever I've stopped to talk to those pushing products on celebrities, Brody has been there before me. he came in behind me at the Volkswagen House, did a "I'll take that in 32, and one of those, and one of those," and then left while the employees were scuttling to get the right sizes, saying "I guess you'll send it to me."
Mmm-mm. Very Joey Pants.

BIGGEST DICK CELEBRITY:
Brody comes close, but David "Ross" Schwimmer takes the prize here. When asked by a journalist at a party if the guy could take a quick polaroid for a 'scrapbook' feature he does each year for the London Observer, Schwimmer said "no, I've already done the photo line-up outside." When told nobody else had ever refused, and that he could approve the finished product as soon as the polaroid was done, he put his hand up in a 'don't go there' pose, said "no, that's okay," and walked off shaking his head like he'd been SO treated poorly. Way to promote your film, douchebag.

MOST GENUINELY AWESOME CELEBRITY:
Billy Boyd, otherwise known as Pippin. During a sitdown interview, he not only went long, but he was hilarious with every answer, completely unaffected, and complimentary even after the tape recorders were long gone. Every year there's one or two guys at these events that go out of their way to show that acting is a profession for them, but they're still human beings. William H. Macy, Ron Livingstone, Campbell Scott... Billy Boyd joins that proud list and here's hoping he'll be back in years to come.

WORST BEHAVED CELEBRITY:
Hey photographer/director Dave LaChapelle, how does the holding cell in Park City compare to the those in your hometown? Was it comfortable?

BIGGEST SHITFIGHT ON MAIN STREET:
As ever, it has to be Harry O's, which always ends up with such a crowd out front that it becomes possible to get down the street without felching. Last night a performance by Snoop Dogg was stopped by the authorities when the crowd grew far too large and the fire capacity was breached. The cops emptied the place out, leaving a thousand angry drunken Snoop fans standing in the cold, very much annoyed. New year, same old story...

BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY:
Paramount has shown that their new boss wants it known he's in the game by paying $16m to John Singleton for his film Hustle and Flow, and an agreement that he'll make two future films with them after that. Haven't seen Hustle and Flow yet, but word on the street is that it's 'decent', but not so decent that anyone needed to spend more money than has ever been spent on a Sundance film -ever - to get the thing.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:
Reefer Madness - barely three jokes worth giggling at. All the style of Die Mommie, Die, without any of the humor.

BIGGEST SURPRISE:
Slamdance's The Dry Spell, a micro-budget indie comedy that has a people talking. Slamdance in general has been surprising people this year with its ingenuity (an indie video game award is a greqat concept, considering how games and film are crossing over so readily nowadays) and its parties (the Femme Fatale bash was mucho grande, even if I had to climb in through a window to get into the joint!).

BEST INDIVIDUAL SWAG ITEM:
It has to be the JimmyJane 'personal massager' in the Jewels and Pinstripes room. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about a dildo. Why would a dildo be worth mentioning in a positive light? Well, you can have them in solid gold, white gold, or platinum. It's been said that they shouldn't be too successful at this fest because, and I quote, "the people at this festival are much bigger c - - ts than anywhere else," but my only concern for the folks at this fest would be whether the gold version might be prone to picking up teethmarks..

More to come in the days ahead! We're only getting started!


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1314
originally posted: 01/26/05 06:08:47
last updated: 01/26/05 06:54:11
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