Posted on 1.25.20: All I’m hearing from people on the Sundance ’20 beat so far is “duds”,” “wait until Monday or Tuesday”, “nobody’s really flipped for anything yet,” “nothing better than a B” and so on.
The general feeling I’m getting is (a) “we want to be as enthusiastic and attuned as possible to whatever people are seeing or talking about” and/or (b) “we certainly don’t want to post any flatline responses to films that others are digging or getting off on on some level, as that would indicate we don’t get it and therefore might not return to Sundance next year.”
Who can be trusted? Is there anyone up there with a Hollywood Elsewhere-type attitude? Anyone who constantly struggles with his/her negative feelings about wokesters and has to really fight to tap out fair-minded reviews because they don’t want to sound too toxic or dismissive? What critics or columnists can be semi-reliably counted upon to not swim with the school of little fishies? Who’s most likely to write “take it or leave it but this is what I think about a Sundance film that everyone is giving a pass to or flipping out for”?
My basic reaction to Team Indiewire so far is one of absolute distance. I don’t trust a single word they’re saying about any film debuting in Park City. I believe they’re in the tank for just about anything and everything, and if they have a less-than-enthusiastic response they’ll downplay or muffle it as much as possible.
In my mind Indiewire is basically Woke Pravda — an organ of the p.c. commentariat that hands out approval notices based largely on WHAT a movie is saying as opposed to HOW it is saying it.
Tell me I’m misguided or prejudiced against them and that I need to hit reset and flush my head out.
I really hate critics who seem determined to smile all the time and radiate as much positivity as they can at all times, and have rarely if ever posted a mezzo-mezzo review of anything, much less a pan. I’m thinking of one critic in particular who smiles so much she makes my own facial muscles ache. A determination to be relentlessly positive and borderline euphoric about damn near everything is much, much worse than having a generally negative attitude.
All this aside, I remain hopeful, based on the last 25 or 26 years of attending Sundance, that four or five worthwhile films will have emerged by next Tuesday or Wednesday.