I realize anyone at Sundance is too busy to read these posts, and anyone who’s not here probably doesn’t care. But when I see amazing movies, I just gotta share!

photo 2Saturday brought an onslaught of people to Park City. The roads could really give the 405 a run for its money. Of course, when you’re on the freeway, you don’t have the option to get out of your car and take a bracing (and much quicker) walk instead.

download (6)Last night finished up with a really bonkers screening of “Wetlands,” and I am totally shocked that Sundance didn’t seem to be totally shocked by this film. In fact, people seem to be embracing it.

About a “bodily fluid–obsessed teenager” who has an “intimate shaving accident,” this movie is profane, scatological, graphic, hyper-sexual and just plain gross. It’s also laugh-out loud funny, weirdly affecting and incredibly imaginative. Imagine “Frances Ha” (the lead looks and acts weirdly like Greta Gerwig), meets “Porky’s” and you still don’t have a clue; you just gotta see it. Amazingly, the brave folks at Strand bought the movie after just watching a Vimeo link; seeing such graphic – um, everything – on the big screen for the first time must have been quite eye opening! 

Today was not as successful as yesterday in the movie department. The highlights were a doc and a genre film.

In 1991, Pamela Smart (not to be confused with teen abductee Amy Smart) was put on trial for convincing her underage lover to kill her husband. It was a deeply salacious story, and the first fully televised trial. A media maelstrom ensued, and the result may very well be the progenitor of today’s reality TV.

download (5)CAPTIVATED The Trials of Pamela Smart” makes a powerful case that the extraordinary media attention that swirled around the trial kept Smart, who is serving a life sentence, from getting a fair trial. I agree wholehearted with this thesis and the general criticism of modern media and modern journalism.

However, a documentary is also “the media,” and this one used many of the same techniques it intends to criticize, particularly making broad, emotional statements with few facts or specific examples to back them up. I don’t know; maybe that’s the point. But I hold people who believe what I do to a high standard of veracity and fair play, and it wouldn’t have been that difficult to do a better job of connecting the (terrific) talking heads to the particulars of the trial.

13870-1I missed a film I was supposed to see in the afternoon and ended up seeing “Blue Ruin” instead – it’s something of an indie, hipster version of “Dirty Harry.” So-called “revenge” movies are not normally my cup of tea – but I really enjoyed it…and that is why I love film festivals! The movie is a tonal miracle; the truly offbeat, funny moments that don’t seem to derail the intensity of the story.

I walked past Main Street on my way home just now, and the party is just getting started for some people (KCRW’s music venue is off the shizzle) but I am headed for bed and deeply excited about it. Goodnight!

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  • Tia Bentley

    We care Matt! Following your Sundance experience, shared with a filmmaker friend from Mexico City. Was glad to see your comments re Alive Inside as I had seen reports re Music&Memory months ago. So carry on…you can never know when one of your gems of observation will send someone down a path they’d never have taken.

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