I tweeted an hour ago that with the exception of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato‘s HBO Robert Mapplethorpe doc (Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures), the Sundance flicks I’ve seen and heard about so far have been grueling. These first 24 hours have been so depressing that I’m almost fantasizing about going home early if it keeps up like this. Not really but, you know, it’s a thought.

“Sundance spelled backwards = depression” — a phrase I first heard back in the late ’90s.

I wouldn’t want to calculate the spiritual costs of enduring another Weiner Dog, but that’s not showing sufficient respect for Todd Solondz — no one can send you to the bottom of the mud pit with such efficiency. Judging by reviews/tweets I’m just glad I had the foresight to avoid Swiss Army Man, the “flatulent dead guy” flick that also played at the Eccles.

The 82-minute pilot (described in Sundance notes as a “two-hour” pilot) for Hulu’s 11.22.63, which I saw this morning at 8:30 am, felt to me like a typical low-rent cable thing — a cheesy and slipshod wash that riffs on the Stephen King book rather than adapts it.  Why change the point-of-entry year from ’58 to ’60?  What’s with the crawling bug scene?  I was being hit over and over with “this isn’t as good as it ought to be.”  By the end I wasn’t unhappy that this “two-hour” pilot had run considerably shorter.  38 minutes of commercials?

The team behind Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures during post-screening discussion at the MARC.