Picking what films you want to see based on the Sundance catalogue is challenging. Frankly, I
pick what films to see largely based on what people are talking about in the press room (the volunteers are a great
source of information). The catalogue is written from a fans' perspective. In fact, it's written by the Sundance
selection committee, so it's even more than a fans' perspective--it's the opinion of someone who pushed to have the
film in the festival above thousands of other films. It makes sense that they would be glowing.
At the start of Sundance you're really picking films based on the talent, the director, the title, and the photo--that's the truth. It's impossible to know which first time directors will breakout, that's the majic of Sundance and that magic occurs over five days. No one would ever have selected Napoleon Dynamite as something they "had to see" based on the catalogue, for example.
That being said, here are my seven in no particular order.
All Aboard: Rosie's Family Cruise
Wow, a documentary about Rosie at Sundance--that's got legs (at the very least to base a drinking game on). The film was one of three films that still had tickets availble to the public today. The other two were the Shorts Selection and TBD. When your film is neck and neck with "TBD" on the available ticket list you know something is up. This film has camp written all over it, but who knows... I'll try and keep an open mind.
(more after the jump)p>
This Film is Not Yet Rated
A documentary about the super secretive MPAA ratings board that already has an NC-17 rating and is showing at Sundance--how meta is that? More importantly, it's about censorship, which I'm hoping will build on the dialogue created by last year's wonderful Sundance documentary The Aristocrats.
Justin Timberlake and Bruce Willis star in the true story of normal LA kids who go bad--real bad. The film has been involved in some legal issues recently that, according to a New York Times story, might have caused it to be pulled (I won't mention the issues since these would qualify as spoilers).
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a ex con trying to get her life on track. I'll see anything with MG in it.
The Hawk is Dying
Paul Giamatti plays a loser--again. This time he lives with his sister and has a passion for hawks (as opposed to wine or comic books), but he is still searching for meaning. I would watch this guy read my spam folder all day long and be entertained--bring it on!
The Darwin Awards
You've been forwarded the email a hundred times--now see the movie! (I'm not kidding, it's a movie about a detective researching people killing themselves due to their stupidity).
A Little Trip to Heaven
Two words: Forrest Whitaker. In this film he plays an insurance investigator. Last night he played an IAD investigator on my laptop in the amazing FX series The Shield. How many weeks before someone casts Forrest in a Columbo remake?