Sundance Diary: Hey, 'Waitress,' how about some pie?

Overheard on the Main Street Express shuttle bus, 10:15am, Jan. 25: "And then Cuba Gooding Jr. started screaming, ‘A free piss! A free piss!’"

Howdy there, PopWatchers.

Usually I’d put an exclamation point at the end of that, but the fact is, I’m pretty depressed today. It’s these Sundance movies — why are they all so sad? War, death, global warming, death, unpleasant sex, war, drugs, death, death, death… Why is it so hard to make a movie about bunnies, Sundance? Where is that exposé on the fluffy cuteness of bunnies??

I guess it hit me yesterday afternoon, as I was running — RUNNING — to catch a screening of My Kid Could Paint That,one of the few documentaries at this festival that does not focus onhow this world has gone to hell in a handbasket because people treateach other (and the world) very, very badly. So there I am, running.And I’m wearing this pair of swag boots I picked up (the very same kindthat Matisyahu snagged for his wife OMG!), because after eight days inthe same pair of North Face clunkers I brought from home, my toes weretrying to secede from the union of my feet. And I’m running, and I stepon what looks like sidewalk, but it is not. It is a hole full of slushyice, and I go down. And because my swag boots are basically nylontubes, my ankle secedes from the union of what angle my ankle issupposed to be at, and just explodes. By the time I get to thescreening, it’s sold out, and I’m left limping, wet, out of breath, andonce again: depressed.

I tell this story for two reasons: One, to point out the bad karmathat inevitably comes from cavalierly accepting a pile of free s— andthen bragging about it in blog posts, and two, to demonstrate how onelittle incident here at Sundance can wreck your rhythm for the rest ofthe day and pitch you inextricably out of sorts. Because after missingthat My Kid… screening, I came back to eat Thai food in thephoto studio, only to find myself locked out; I eventually got in andimmediately fell asleep instead of blogging; our rockin’ video editorJason Averett woke me up with minutes to spare before my nextscreening; and then I was back out running again.

Luckily, I made it to the library in time to see Low and Behold,a movie I am liking more and more the farther away I get from it — butstill a movie which was shot in post-Katrina New Orleans, and is,therefore, brain-crushingly depressing. It’s the story of a shy claimsadjustor and the NOLA native he befriends while driving around thecity, measuring the devastation, and the rubble just goes on for days.It’s really more of a docu-drama, featuring interviews with people wholost their homes and shot after shot of moldy walls and destroyed homesand entire fields where houses have been swept away. Powerful stuff,but then you try and enjoy your cocktail hour, ya know?

Quick round-up of other stuff I’ve seen lately:

Life Support
Queen Latifah is an HIV-positive AIDS activist working to stop thespread of the virus through her Brooklyn community. Ms. Owens turns inher usual warm and winning performance, but — you guessed it — AIDSis depressing.

Chapter 27
Fat Jared Leto shoots John Lennon. This movie was exacly the rightlength, but — you guessed it — crazy people assassinating rock starsis depressing.

Waitress
Ah, Waitress. I’m glad I canfinally report on this for you, PopWatchers! It’s been one of the mostbuzzed about films out here — thanks to the depressingly tragic murderof its writer/director, Adrienne Shelly, back in November — and likeanything that’s been overhyped, it suffered under the burden ofexpectation (and some of my overly rigid anti-maternal philosophies,brought about thanks to my cold, frigid womb). Still, Keri Russell is arevelation — I wrote the word "RADIANT" in my notebook — and in therole of her disgustingly abusive husband, Jeremy Sisto is certainlydisgusting. Nathan Fillion makes for a cute doctor, Cheryl Hines is herusual hi-larious self, and Ms. Shelly took direction from herself likea pro. The real standouts here, though, were the lovingly-filmedpie-making sequences, because I freaking love pie, and I suppose if Ican’t watch bunnies, pies will have to do.

Mmm. Pie. Maybe I could rub some on my ankle.

Comments (4 total) Add your comment
  • furry_tom

    You’ll be glad to hear that my documentary, An Inconvenient Pony, will be ready for Sundance next year.

  • mike

    Have you never seen an indie movie, Whitney? The Little Miss Sunshines are few and far between. Sure the films are depressing, but it’s a quality depression.

  • mike

    Have you never seen an indie movie, Whitney? The Little Miss Sunshines are few and far between. Sure the films are depressing, but it’s a quality depression.

  • Michelle

    I totally get it Whitney! I went and saw “year of the dog” with Molly Shannon at the tuesday screening. I mean, c’mon! It had Molly Shannon and a carful of dogs on the poster. Funny right? Ummm, not so much.

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