What a difference five years can make! From “Sundance Chest Fever,” posted on 1.19.15:
“Each and every year Sundance is almost nothing but a blast — a pulsing spiritual high in terms of the films, conversations, events, parties, press conferences and the generally up-with-everyone-and-everything Park City vibe. This is my 20th anniversary of attending …no, wait, the 21st. But I’d be a lying Polyanna if I said that various irritations don’t pop through all the same. Goes with the territory.
“Young guys who run around in shorts and sneakers without socks, for example. Or those absolutely awful people who work at 350 Main, the most unfriendly restaurant in town. Gangs of party people who trudge up and down Main Street. (I generally despise groups of people in any situation…’are you afraid to walk alone or with a friend? Do you need the feeling or power and protection that comes from being part of a small mob?’) The coldest, draftiest hotel lobby in the world inside the Yarrow. Townies. People who laugh too long and loudly in screenings (‘All right, it’s funny, I agree…but take it easy’). The 20-something party gah-gahs who hang out in packs in front of Tatou and Harry O’s each and every night. Groups of 20-something women who shriek and squeal in bars and cafes.
“And most of all, those amazingly vacant facial expressions on ski enthusiasts — the ultimate nowhere people of the Wasatch. Whenever I see skiiers clump onto a shuttle bus I mutter to myself, ‘The coolest festival in the country is happening right now and you guys are here to ski?'”
The title of this post is a shard of dialogue from what 1966 film?
From “Woked Itself Into A Corner,” posted on 11.25.19:
“For a ten-day period in January, Sundance used to be the hippest and most vital winter wonderland and spiritual getaway in the world. It was like this annually-renewed, extra-cool reality TV series that took the temperature of the culture — you had to be close so you could breathe in the vapors and receive that special ahead-of-the-curve information. It was essential, necessary — a great way to begin the new year.
“I know that Sundance ‘20 will probably deliver the usual five to eight…okay, ten noteworthy films that will be part of the early conversation, but the odds of another Manchester By The Sea playing there (or even another flash in the pan controversy like The Birth of a Nation) are slim to none. Or so it seems right now.
“For Sundance has basically woked itself into a corner — it used to be one of the big three powerhouse festivals (along with Cannes and Telluride/Toronto) but now I’m not so sure.
“Right now it’s flirting with being a larger, snowier but more politically secular version of SXSW.
“Sundance is where films go to get their official badge and stamp of approval from the indie-woke-feminist-MeToo-identity politics-POC-LGBTQ, anti-white-patriarchy SJW comintern crowd. But then what?”
From “Woke-iest, Most Diverse Sundance Yet…Later,” posted on 12.4.19:
“Sundance 2020 is about itself — movies for the woke devotional — whereas the Sundance festivals of 2015 or ’10, ’05, ’00 or ’95 were about movies looking to ignite and connect and bust out and generate currents of serious consequence, and perhaps even some award-season action down the road. No more. That era has past.
“Now the filmmaker deal is ‘come to Sundance to introduce your film to the Sundance friendlies, and maybe they’ll tell their Instagram friends about it when it starts streaming four or six or ten months hence…whenever. But you’re almost certainly not breaking out. You and your film are members of Sundance Village, and you’ll never, ever step out of that realm. Unless you’re Kenneth Lonergan or someone in that fraternity.’
“I know some people who aren’t going this year. Because they know that the high-voltage Sundance necessity of years past is ebbing, and that it won’t be a total tragedy if they don’t attend. Because they’ll see the hotties (there are always four or five) in good time. Maybe some will be streamable while the festival is underway.
“10 or 15 years ago the slogan was ‘Sundance spelled backwards spells depressing.’ Now it’s ‘Sundance spelled backwards means ‘does anyone give that much of a shit?’”