Me and Earl and the Dying Light of Sundance 2015

First off, I want to express how thankful I am for all of the people I had the pleasure of making this trip with. Before coming to Sundance with the class, I always imagined my trip would consist of me, myself, and I going to all the movies I had tickets for without anyone else, and then going home to the condo without sharing any Sundance experiences with anyone else.

Well, this trip didn’t go at all like I planned for it to go, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Shout out to all my classmates for making this trip the most memorable 10 days of my entire college experience. All of you have become great friends over this trip, and I hope we don’t simply go our separate ways forever because I will miss you all too much.

Now onto the highlights of the final 3 days of the trip…

I have to say this was probably the craziest, most exciting stretch of the Festival for me. It consisted of many of my favorite films from the entire Festival, and I think I saw more movies during this 3-day stretch than what I typically see over the course of 3 months.

Turbo Kid
Unexpected
The Hallow
It Follows
3 1/2 Minutes
Z for Zachariah
In Football We Trust
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I couldn’t possibly have enough time to discuss every movie I’ve seen during this time, so I want to stick with just one–the best film of the festival, and itself enough to make you want to go back to the festival over and over–Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

This is, without a doubt, the best movie to be shown at Sundance 2015, and that makes sense because the only reason I got to see it is because it won the US Dramatic Competition. Thankfully, our student ticket packages came with a ticket to the screening of the winning film because without it, there is no way I would’ve been able to see it. That wouldn’t have been due to a lack of effort, though. On Friday morning, at 6:30 AM, I woke up to get myself and Morgan on the waitlist for the hotly anticipated film.

And I crushed it.100% totally and utterly dominated the waitlist.

We got the first and second spots on the waitlist. That’s all but a guaranteed seat in the theater when the film rolls. Even the Sundance app will tell you you have a likely chance of getting in. This was the coolest thing to happen to me in a long time. But oh how the mighty lord loves to strike down your confidence…

Like I said, Me and Earl was the most desired film of the festival. After the world premier screening of the film, there was a massive bidding war that ended with Fox Searchlight–the same studio that released the hit The Fault in our Stars–scooping up the adolescent cancer story for $12 million, and the largest purchase price of the entire festival.

Naturally, everyone wanted to see it at that point. Morgan and I watched helplessly from the front of the waitlist line as pass holder after pass holder bypassed the ticket holder line to enter the screening room of the theater. So many pass holders entered the theater that there were even some ticket holders who didn’t get into the movie. Insane. Outrageous. Incredible.

Morgan and I immediately drowned our sorrows in breakfast burritos.

Thank god this movie one the Grand Jury Prize though. Honestly, Me and Earl doesn’t involve a completely original, never-before-seen plot, but what makes it so astounding to watch is all the extensive thought and care put into every single detail of every single prop, setting, and character. There is not a single one-dimensional character in this film–every one of them has thoroughly defined quirks and personalities, and it is amazing to watch unfold. Never has there been a movie which involves two best friends, one black and one white, who spend their time Sweding classic, avant-garde, and experimental films. And that isn’t even as deep and rich as it gets. In the Q&A, the filmmakers continued to blow minds by describing how the characters wardrobes change as their relationships and feelings towards each other change over the course of the film, and even how they use a scene from Taxi Driver in the background of one scene as foreshadowing. It’s this kind of care that everyone puts into the film that makes it such a wondrous time in the theater. There is nothing better than Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and I guarantee it will be just as big as The Fault in Our Stars when it gets a wide release.

So that’s it. It’s been quite the experience in Park City, but now, after seeing 22 films, its time to bid adieu to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival…but not entirely, because there are still at least 15 more films I need to find somewhere because I didn’t have time to see them all during my time in Utah.

Now it’s back to the real world.

That’ll do, Sundance. That’ll do.

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