“A hysterical screwball fantasia that openly steals from Lubitsch, Hawks, Capra and Sturges, and wants to be caught with its fingers in the till. The result is a highly-sexed Jenga-pile of silliness, to which Bogdanovich can’t resist adding block after teetering block.” — from Robbie Collin‘s Telegraph review of Peter Bogdanovich‘s She’s Funny That Way, filed at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.
I might want to wedge in a Sunday afternoon Library screening of Ariel Kleiman‘s Partisan, an allegedly “sinister” melodrama about an enigmatic drifter (Vincent Cassel) who “becomes an unlikely mentor to a young boy” who’s starting to think for himself and see past some of the bullshit. Kleiman directs from a script he co-wrote with Sarah Cyngler. Winners and losers surface at every Sundance Film Festival. No predicting — you just have to roll with the punches. But at least up here you’re dealing with new material and live situations and the coolest people on the planet as opposed to calculating fickle Oscar odds and dealing with the January doldrums back in L.A.
I was intending to see Ken Kwapis‘ A Walk in the Woods this morning, but I hesitated when I realized it will have only one public screening in Park City and no press & industry screenings at all (limited availability always indicates trouble) and particularly after costar Robert Redford said during yesterday’s opening press conference that showing the film during the festival “wasn’t my idea but John Cooper‘s.” Would Redford have said that if he had any serious affection for the film?
So instead I’ll be catching an 11:45 am Library screening of Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon‘s Best of Enemies, a doc about the notorious television debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal during the 1968 Democratic and Republican conventions. This will be followed by a 2:30 pm screening of Josh Mond‘s James White (also at the Library). This will be quickly followed by a 5:30 pm MARC screening of Rupert Goold‘s True Story, the Jonah Hill-James Franco fact-based psychodrama. The final film of the day will be Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul‘s The D Train, about a Zelig-like guy (Jack Black) enduring the agonies of a 20th anniversary high-school reunion.
For whatever perverse reason Sundance programmers will occasionally select a mostly dreadful, all-but-unendurable film to play in the Premieres section. The common consensus is that Bryan Buckley‘s The Bronze is one of these films. I can’t speak from authority because I left around the 15-minute mark, but I could smell trouble even before it began.
Standing before the Eccles crowd and delivering his opening remarks, Buckley, 51, was affecting a look of a ski-slope party animal with a bright red parka and long blonde hair worn in a shaggy Iggy Pop or Chris Hemsworth-in-Rush style, and right away I was muttering, “No good can come of this….not from this guy.”
I was right. Written by Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) and her husband Winston, pic is about Hope (Rauch), a former Olympic gymnast who won a bronze medal in ’04 and is still coasting on that modest memory, ten years on, as she resides with her dad (Gary Cole) — the very embodiment of a self-entitled, delusional loser. Buckley had told the crowd they would be detesting Hope almost immediately, so the name of the game was “how hateful is this bitch going to be?”
I decided within minutes — seconds, really — that my life would not be significantly diminished if I never found out. The easy-lay types were laughing but half-heartedly. An aura of uncertainty and then discomfort began to permeate the room. I grabbed the cowboy hat and bolted. I emerged from the Eccles a free man, elated and renewed and striding purposefully down Kearns Boulevard as I sucked in the frigid night air.
Prior to the start of last night’s screening of The Bronze. If you look closely you’ll spot a guy with a very worried expression sitting right in the middle, in the first row of the second section.