|by Chris Parry
It's been a slog, I'm telling you. The sponsors aren't giving up any swag, the interviews keep falling through and the snow just won't melt. But the films are unbelievably good, the parties just keep forcing bourbon down my throat, the HBS/EFC crew are in every corner of Park City schmoozing, drinking and working every angle, and we still have money in our pocket. This has truly been a very different Sundance Film Festival.
The parties... man oh man.
The Angry Jew and the Movieman spent last night plastered at some party or other on Main St, chatting and drinking jello shots with Ron Livingston from Band of Brothers (and Swingers and Office Space - and don't forget the lovely Sabrina Lloyd --Scott). While they were drowning the Jew's Philadelphia Eagles sorrows, I was holed up at the other end of the street partying it up with Jason Priestley, Natasha Lyonne and a kid who, mark my words, will be a star soon, Stark Sands. Priestley's looking very competent on his feet these days, though he spent most of the night whispering in someone's ear, while Lyonne seems much more fun now that she's not dragging Ed Furlong's unconscious carcass in and out of taxis every night.
From there, myself and our condo buddies, David Keeps of US Weekly, Paul Zimmerman from Cinescape and Dave Itzkhoff from Spin, decided to make a project out of getting one of the Park City volunteers into a VIP event. We met this dude who'd been standing in the snow directing people to the proper shuttle buses for five hours, asked if they let the volunteers go to the parties, found out that they don't and the poor guys have to sleep in cots at the local high school, and thus gave the guy a Sundance thrill by getting him into a Razor Magazine event.
Only the event sucked. Some chick from LA Law (who hasn't worked since) was doing breakdance moves on the dance floor, the crowd was fame-free and every time you came in from the bathroom the entire crowd would look at you, register you were nobody, and then (in unison) look away. Thankfully the booze was free and myself and Zimmerman made sure we drank our own weight in Crown Royal. A ten dollar three-block cab ride ensued, during which nobody vomited. The cabbie admitted that he came from Minnesota to Utah to make big bucks during the fest, which ensured he got no tip.
Strangely, when Zimmerman awoke this morning he was sporting a black eye. Neither of us recall him getting bopped by anyone, so this will likely be a mystery for the ages.
The morning was rough. I took the Jew on a lap of the publicist floor, shot dirty looks at the fattest worst film critic in the world, Paul Fischer (he still sweats, even in snow) and called David Keeps a ropesmoker just as Katie Holmes walked by. She's so tall I can't even tell you. And she wouldn't talk to Erik... BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!
Yes, the morning was rough, but a rough morning at Sundance is still better than a good morning anywhere else in the world.
Especially when the movies are kicking bulk ass. As I write this I've just consumed Gregor Jordan's follow-up to Two Hands, Buffalo Soldiers. It's a dark little flick, but much fun.
The other highlights?
THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND has been snapped up by the distribs and will undoubtedly be in theaters within months. Remember the name - Ryan Gosling. If you haven't seen him in The Believer already, you'll surely know him after this flick makes its way to Dubuque. It's a very Donnie Darko-like drama that really burns slowly, with not a lot of idea what's going on until the big finish. My expectation: $12m box office.
THE COOLER has perhaps been my favorite flick of the fest so far. William H. Macy and Maria Bello are awesome, but Alec Baldwin as a mafioso casino boss is just the epitome of scenery chewing. Apart from the final minutes, which were a little too smart by half, this flick is every bit as good in my eyes as Punch Drunk Love. My expectation: $8m box office.
LEVITY was great to watch, but may be a hard sell for distributors. Billy Bob and Holly Hunter are fantastic as a couple of human wrecks finding salvation in each other. A few critics have slammed the flick for being 'overwrought', but screw that, you can read too much into any film - the flick is great. My expectation: $5m box office.
RAISING VICTOR VARGAS really surprised and deserves a lengthy release. It probably won't get it, but I consider this film to be a much more accessible Y Tu Mama Tambien, and I'm pretty certain the flick will see a few of the cast become stars down the road. My expectation: $9m box office.
28 Days Later, Pieces of April, Party Monster and A Soldier's Girl have all had huge buzz, though I've yet to get around to those. Adam Goldberg's The Hebrew Hammer plays after I'm going to be gone, which will suck much.
Alright. Gotta go and get drunk again. More later.
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originally posted: 01/21/03 14:07:49
last updated: 12/31/03 08:55:02