Not Afraid to Show Some Skin by Morgan Pigman

Sunday, January 25th, 2015–

I was feeling a little under the weather today so I relaxed at the condo for a good portion of my day.  Tyler, Luke and I headed to Main Street to explore a bit in the afternoon.  All of the free give-a-ways amazed me!  Food, beverages, merchandise galore!  Just to name a few…Speck phone cases were being handed out, Sundance water bottles, pizza, even Stella Artois beer.  Land Rover even offered complimentary 5×5 ride rides around the festival which was great because it helped me get to one of my movies later in that evening on time instead of having to wait for a bus which would have put me at risk of not being admitted to the film!  In their cars they played a set of short films on the tvs that they created on the car’s front and rearview cameras by teaming up with a view directors from Sundance last year.

A key tip we’ve picked up on was to stop by the box office whenever you get the chance because you never know what tickets they have to exchange or sell again.  A classmate heard H. was an excellent film and he already had a ticket.  The box office had one extra ticket so I snagged it while I could.  It sounded quite interesting to me from the description on the Sundance app where it discussed the setting of Troy, NY and two women named Helen, each with their own stories associated with a meteor crash nearby.  It seemed to me that it would be a great film to watch and write a review on considering it could all links to ancient Greek mythology; however, I was mistaken.  It was a very strange and weird movie.  Unfortunately, I would not recommend any of my classmates here to see it.  On a brighter note, I loved where they screened the film.  The Egyptian Theater was lovely and everyone there was very welcoming and helpful.  They even served Wine and Whiskey Sours at the snack bar!

On the walk to the bus stop, one of my classmates and I discussed how bizarre the movie we had just seen was.  We were also lucky enough to stumble upon one of Banksy’s original pieces outside of the Java Cow.  Part of me really wanted to stop and get a hot chocolate there but I was still super full from the lasagna we had at the other group dinner earlier that evening.

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I have no idea how Tyler did it.  He somehow managed to convince me to camp outside of the box office that evening.  My RA from my freshman year at Saint Mary’s, Emily, told me she did it when she was here and it was part of the experience.  Not only that, but if you do it, it guarantees you to get the movies of your choice.  There were two premieres the following day that I really wanted to see…so somehow, at 2 in the morning, I found myself walking to Main Street in the below 20 degree weather after he took about 45 minutes to convince me.  Within minutes of being there, security kicked us out and told us they would open to doors back up at 5 am.  I wasn’t exactly peachy keen on the idea of actually being outside in the cold for the next 3+ hours considering how freezing, uncomfortable and tiring it was.  I was not dressed to be outside and at a certain point I couldn’t even feel my fingers.  Luckily, we were second in line behind a man that had been camping out every night so far.  The only thing that kept me there was knowing I’d be able to laugh at this down the road and the fact that I had very high hopes in getting what I wanted.

Monday, January 26th, 2015–

8:00 am rolled around and the box office finally opened.  I was able to purchase 6 tickets total for world premieres which made me very satisfied with the overall outcome of that experience.  I didn’t have my first movie until 11:30 which meant that as soon as I got back to the condo I was able to pass out.  I could have continued sleeping throughout the entire day except I was fortunate enough to have Kate, Adrianna and Jen call me numerous times to wake me up for The Tribe.

The Tribe was the most emotionally draining, uncomfortable, scaring, and experimental films I have ever seen.  The entire movie was in sign language.  It involved prostitution, drugs, gangs, sex, abuse, abortion, rape, and murder.  By the end of it, my entire body felt achey and sick.  I knew going to Sundance that there were going to be some weird and disturbing films, but wow; I was not expecting that.  The actors were also not shy in terms of being naked on the big screen; they were not afraid to show some skin.  Spoiler alert—the movie ended with one of the deaf boys murdering the other gang members by smashing their heads with their bedside dressers.  They all slept in the dorms together.  Locks did not exist there because they were all deaf so he was able to walk in without any of them being aware of his presence and none of them knew what was going.  Not being able to hear the others deaths or warn each other resulted in all of their deaths in the end.  I’m not saying they deserved it or didn’t but they were not good people.  Regardless of their characters, that was hard to see.  I went back to bed immediately once I got to the condo again.  Not only was I exhausted from the previous night, I was also emotionally tired as well.

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Later in the evening, Grace, Tyler, and I went to see the world premiere of Brooklyn.  I don’t want to give a spoiler alert on this film because I absolutely adored it and want everyone to see it.  Once it comes out to theaters I am going to go again without a doubt.  We found excellent seats right in front of where the actors do their Q&As and got to meet part of the cast.  Brooklyn hit home for me because part of it was about being homesick.  When I was abroad in Australia, I felt all of the emotions the main character felt when she moved to New York City from Ireland.  It was also an extremely funny and also touching film.  I felt attached to the characters throughout the movie.  Leaving the theater, I couldn’t help but smile.

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We went straight back into the ticket holder line because we had back to back movies at the Eccles.  Next up we saw the world premiere for Digging for Fire.  I thought this movie was fun.  It taught some nice lessons about marriage, love, and family.  I was hoping Orlando Bloom would attend because it was the premiere but he was a no show; regardless, he was nice to look at in the parts of the movie he was actually in.

One thing I’ve noticed so far about being here is that Sundance comedy is much darker than the comedy I’m accustomed to.  The movie included a lot of improv which was neat too.  The atmosphere in the theaters here is also unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  The audience’s reactions are so much more profound than a movie at an average theater in your hometown.  Everyone is “all in.”  Three movies in one day was intense!  I can’t imagine being able to do anymore than that.  Overall, it was a truly great Sundance Day.

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015–

The first film of the day for me was Call Me Lucky.  This documentary had a drastic change of pace half way through the film.  I was not expecting it at all.  The first half included friends and family describing the comedian.  This gave the audience the chance to feel like they knew him or about him on a more personal level.  All of a sudden, child pornography and sexual abuse was being discussed.  It was really alarming to learn even more about how many horrible and disturbed people there are in this world.  It really saddens me to think and question how unsafe children are today in the outside world, some even in their own households.  The comedian was very intense regarding his personal opinions and beliefs.  I think he was too extreme but he definitely got his point across.  He invested a lot of his time to protect children from having the same thing happen to diminish their innocence.  He was and is very committed to that cause and that made me consider him a good person, regardless of his foul and somewhat degrading way of communicating.

My second film of the day was 6 Desires.  I was particularly excited about seeing this film because it was about traveling.  To my dismay, I wasn’t too fond of it.  It was made with an extremely low budget which I thought was impressive; however, it just wasn’t for me.  It was a collaboration of different sceneries and places an author wrote about and the director/producer’s response to him and his wife’s words.  I felt no true connection to the movie because I did not really feel like there was anything to emotionally invest in.  I found myself wanting to leave early to make it on time to the group enchilada dinner instead.

Somehow I was able to fit in the group dinner in between my next movie, Cronies.  Watching so many movies doesn’t seem like it would be difficult, but it is!  Going from theater to theater on public transportation actually takes a significant amount of time and fitting in a meal isn’t east either.  So I was really happy I got to eat with our group and talk about the most recent movies we had seen in the past few days.  I learned a new word that evening.  Cronies means a close friend or companion.  That’s exactly what the movie was about, a group for friends.  The actors in this film had never acted before which I found quite impressing.  They were also natives/locals to where the film was filmed which was cool. Funny story, we found one of the 3 main guys (far right in photo) in the movie on tinder. HA!  Anyways, I’ve never been a big fan of black and white movies; however, it added an extra touch to this one that I liked.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015–

One of the Sundance rules is that you are required to be at the theater 30 minutes before the film.  This allows them to get a true count of how much room they have for those waiting in the waitlist.  Well, my first movie of the day was at 8:30 am.  That doesn’t sound very early; however, when you factor in getting dressed, possibly having breakfast, walking to the bus stop, waiting for the bus, traveling to your stop with the other stops included, not to mention traffic, that’s a lot earlier than 8:30!  It’s more like 7 am.  Any ways, Advantageous was a good film.  It truly depicted what a parent would do out of love for his or her child.  It also showed the struggles a family can go through and the challenges everyone can encounter when growing older.  Advantageous introduced the idea of moving our minds into another younger body to be more aesthetically pleasing to others.  There’s plastic surgery and then there’s that.  Part of life is growing old.  If you’re in a different body, that isn’t really you.  I was not supportive of these concepts in the movie.  I know her mom had the procedure to support her child and ensure that she was taken care of, but it was sad having to watch the daughter suffer because she ultimately lost her mom.

(On the plus side, I got to meet Ken Jeong, AKA Leslie Chow from the Hangover.  He was in Advantageous as a much more serious role than his usual.  He did a great job too!)

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Later that evening I watched Eden.  I was drawn to this movie when I had to pick my tickets because Daft Punk was in the description.  This was the second film I saw by myself.  I’ve always thought going to a movie alone was kind of weird.  Surprisingly, I found it kind of enjoyable.  Eden was really long!  Regardless of the length, I liked the movie and it didn’t even seem as long as it was.  I didn’t even realize the length until I looked at the time when I was walking out of the theater.  Drugs, sex and partying galore!  Shocker, huh?  Once again, that’s just to be expected for Sundance.  I can promise you that you will see numerous butts, boobs and penises on the big screen while at Sundance…whether you like it or not! 😉

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