Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday at Sundance

Today was my best day at Sundance so far. Partly because I saw three great movies, and also because I didn't waste time trying to meet celebrities or get into any events.

First up was my favorite movie of the festival so far, Grown Up Movie Star. It's about a father and his two daughters, who live in Newfoundland. The wife/mother has just walked out on the family, to go to Hollywood and try to become a movie star. The father was an NHL hockey player for about one season, which ended when he got busted for bringing drugs into Canada.

The oldest daughter is just starting to discover boys and her own sexuality. There are a couple of guys she sees regularly and she starts getting into making out and offering sexual pleasures. One of the guys she is seeing just happens to be a close family friend who is confined to a wheelchair and is a photographer.

The characters were so wonderfully developed and the acting was so good that I wasn't bored for a second. In fact the movie could have gone on for another hour and I wouldn't have minded. I really enjoyed spending time with these characters.

My second movie was 8: The Mormon Proposition. Growing up Mormon in Salt Lake City, I was particularly interested in this movie. My entire life, I was told that the church would never tell us how to vote, and I never thought I would see the Mormon church get into politics. I guess I didn't pay attention very well during the whole Prop 8 controversy, because I knew that the church supported Prop 8, but I had no idea how much the church was involved. I was shocked to learn that the First Presidency issued a statement basically commanding members to do all they could (use your time and means) to help support Prop 8. I also was shocked to hear about bishops going over people's tithing records, and telling them how much they should be able to contribute.

This was a very powerful and affecting documentary. I will be really curious to hear how active Mormons view it. It's one thing to view an issue like Prop 8 as a political cause or a moral issue, but to actually see and hear from the real people affected, well, it's hard to see how some people can be so full of hate.

The last movie I saw was a great change of pace. It's called Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. It's a very funny horror movie. Well, not really horror at all. Just a funny version of a horror movie. A group of college kids are going to a lake to camp and party. While there, they run into a couple of hillbillies (think Cabin Fever). The hillbillies are very nice guys, but the college kids are immediately afraid of them. When the hillbillies see one of the girls hit her head and fall in the lake, they rescue her. But the other kids think that they are kidnapping her, and they decide to go rescue her.

As they try to rescue the girl, one by one they accidentally get killed. This makes the surviving college kids assume that the hillbillies are our to kill them all, while the nice hillbillies are wondering why these kids keep killing themselves.

The plot gets more and more contrived as it goes. Kind of like those episodes of Three's Company where the whole story depends on a misunderstanding. If the characters talked for one minute they would figure it all out, but for the story to work, they can't ever have that discussion. Although in this movie, there is a point where they do talk it out, but by that time the surviving kids are so convinced these guys are psychos that there is no changing their minds.

I had a lot of fun in the movie. There are some gruesome kills but the tone of the movie is such that you laugh every time someone dies. Some you can see coming a mile away, but that didn't bother me at all. And you can't see a woodchipper in a movie without knowing that A) someone is going in that woodchipper, and B) thinking of Fargo.

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