Randoms becoming Favorites

by Megan Amaral


I have a way of picking really…interesting films to watch so far for Sundance. So far, they have all been extremely different from one another, so it’s very hard to compare them when I think about which ones were my favorites. I think the last couple of films I’ve watched were probably the weirdest, but its the weird films that somehow spoke to me.


Turbo Kid


This film was in the Park City at Midnight category, so I automatically thought it was going to be somehow scary like the other films alongside it. But when I watched the trailer, I got a “gore-y/comedy” type of vibe. Then I checked the film’s Facebook page and the first thing that caught my eye was what was listed under the film’s genre. “A Post-apocalyptic BMX Action Splatter Comedy”.  I knew from that moment on, this movie was probably going to be terrible or amazing. One or the other. And honestly, I’m extremely happy that I got to this this film; it was the funnest film I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard others say the opposite of this, but this film is the definition of my type of comedy. While watching Turbo Kid, I got this Saturday morning cartoon vibe with a lot of gore (a lot of blood) and an amazing soundtrack to match. It was very 80’s/90’s retro and I enjoyed how the directors (there were 3 of them!) made this really intense situation for these characters, yet made they made it very comedic. Plus it helps that the main character, The Kid,  was played by Munro Chambers, who is one of my celebrity crushes. And of course he was the only celebrity that I talked to and got a picture with. I probably made a fool out of myself while trying to get it, but I had the opportunity and I took it. This film honestly has everything in it; a lot of blood, a superhero, robots, mutant animals, awesome bike tricks, an on-point soundtrack, an outlaw that looks a lot like Indiana Jones, and a guy with a flying chainsaw for a hand.


The Second Mother

I decided to watch this film solely because it was in Portuguese. Most of the films that I picked to watch at Sundance, I didn’t read the description; I wanted to be surprised. And I was really surprised at this film. I knew that this film was about a woman who is a nanny and maid to a family and raises their son, hence she was his second mother. But the film was so much more than that. It represented a culture that exists today. I honestly thought I was watching a film about my own family, and that the main character in this film, Val, the nanny, was my grandmother. I saw her struggle throughout the film even when she didn’t see it. Val knew the rules that she had to follow as a nanny. She thought that the rules were obvious. But when her daughter she hasn’t talked to in ten years or raised comes to live with her and the family she nanny’s for, she starts to see how unfair everything is. I thought it was incredible in the Q&A when the director said she worked on perfecting this film for nineteen years, and that is exactly what she did. You met every character in this film and the director did a great job of representing each person as an individual and you couldn’t hate them. As much as I wanted to dislike the people Val was nannying for because of how they were treating her and her daughter, you just realize that it isn’t their faults, but that’s just how the “rules” are. The rules aren’t fair, but you have to follow them. I thought it was interesting that the title for this film is in Portuguese yet the English title it was given, wasn’t…isn’t close in translation. But I did think about the title for this film on the bus ride back to my condo, and I thought that it meant a lot of different things. The obvious one, was that she was a second mother to the boy she was taking care of. But I did see in this film that technically, when you compare both the boy she was nannying and her own daughter, she was more of a mother to him. Honestly, she was Fabinho’s (the boy) mother. Technically his “first” mother, while Val was Jessica’s (her daughter) second mother because she didn’t raise her. I believe that this film wasn’t about Val being Fabinho’s second mother, but really her daughter’s. And she suffered internally realizing that just because you pay for your child’s food and education doesn’t make you a parent. I enjoyed this film a lot and honestly, it made me cry at the end.


I can’t wait for the last couple of days of Sundance, especially since I saved most of my horror films last. Can’t wait to write about those.


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