Now That Its Over by Jake Derian

To loosely Quote Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (and Dickens), “Sundance was the best of times and the worst of times.” This statement is only half true though, because I don’t think there was any point in of my time at Sundance that could be put under the category of “the worst of times.”10965659_10152829736986704_1749710428_n

The past ten days at Sundance has been nothing short of phenomenal. I have done soo much, I’m surprised that I was able to  fit everything into only ten days. I saw 28 movies, went to multiple Sundance events, met some famous people, ate at restaurants around Park City, and was also able to just chill in the condo.

Retrospectively, some of my favorite movies were The Witch, Don Verdean, The Strongest Man, Bob and the Trees, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Stanford Prison Experiment, The End of the Tour, The Hallow, People Places Things, It Follows, and The Experimenter.

Also some of my favorite experiences were going to the Diary of a Teenage Girl after party, going to the hot tub late at night when it was like 15 degrees out, walking around main street, and obviously seeing all the movies. The after party was really fun because I got to meet a bunch of different people who worked in the industry and got to see the stars of the movie.

Despite having so much fun, Sundance has also been a great learning experience. I believe that at the very least my small talking skills have increased exponentially. I also see movies much more critically. Before this class started, reviewing films was a much harder task than it is now. I can now easily and objectively pinpoint the parts of a film that I like or dislike and explain why.

It is sad to think that Sundance is truly over. Looking back, it was more than just watching movies and meeting people, Sundance 2015 was not an experience that could be described by things I did and things that I liked, but that could only be accurately described by being there and experiencing it.  That being said, I am already planning on returning in the coming years to experience the next Sundances.

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The Past Couple Days by Jake Derian

On Tuesday I watched The Strongest Man, The Witch, H, and Reversal.On Wednesday I saw Advantageous, People Places Things, Bob and the Trees, and Hellions. Today I saw Don Verdean, Turbo kid, The Hallow, Ivy, and then The Visit. I am all movied out to say the least.The past three days I have seen 13 movies. My favorites so are The End of the Tour, The Strongest Man, The Witch, People Places Things, Bob and the Trees, Don Verdean, and The Hallow.

The Strongest Man is by far the most underrated film that I have seen. Whenever I talk to people about it they don’t even know what it is! I would describe the movie as a more surreal, dramatic version of Napoleon Dynamite directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film doesn’t have much of a plot but mostly follows Beef and his friend Conan as they try to find Beefs stolen BMX bike. The film is shot beautifully, the music in it is fantastic, the acting is great, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Witch was an amazing movie. It is a cross between a drama and a horror. It is the one film which truly transports its audience into the world. I felt as if I were actually in the 17th century living next to the woods in New England. The set design is amazingly detailed with phenomenal cinematography to accentuate it. The film also has a wonderful score which is gripping, tragic and haunting all at the same time. My only complaint for the film is that at some points the actors over-act. The acting was mostly great but there were some scenes where the actors went a little to far which made some people uncomfortable and brought you out of the experience. Despite that, the film was amazing.

People Places Things and Don Verdean are two movies which both feature the actor Jermaine Clement. After those two films Jermaine is quickly becoming on of my favorite actors/comedians. People Places Things was a nice break form the other Sundance films. It is one of those movies that is just really happy and comforting. Along with being an all around happy movie, all the characters in the film are three dimensional and seem very real. They were written so well that you forget it’s a movie. All of the characters are good people who have some kind of fault which makes them more relatable and more real. Don Verdean is another movie with Jermaine. He has a supporting role in it, but steals the show. Every scene that he is in is amazing. Before seeing the film I was most excited because of Sam Rockwell, but was totally surprised to find that Jermaine was in it and killed it. Don Verdean is a more conventional film directed by the guy who directed Napoleon Dynamite which is a nice break from the super indie films. I laughed harder during Don Verdean that I have laughed during any movie for a while.

Those have been some of my favorite movies at Sundance during the Past couple day. As the festival comes to an end I am both sad and relieved but am still looking forward to the films I am about to watch in the last days.

The First Three Days by Jake Derian

It’s hard to believe that I am at Sundance because of a class I am taking. It is almost surreal. I have been watching movies, skiing, spending time with friends, and meeting famous people. I have only been here three days but it is hard to distinguish between them because of all the fun I have had.

Our first full day in Park City I was still trying to get acquainted with everything that was going on around me; the ticketing process was confusing, the bus system seemed daunting, my wait list app wasn’t working, and I didn’t feel like I brought the right clothes for the trip. But by the second day in Park City all those problems fell by the wayside. I am now totally ready for everything that Sundance has to offer.

I have seen five films so far. The first day at Sundance I watched The End of the Tour. Jason Segal was excellent in it, as well as Jesse Eisenberg. The coolest part of the experience is that I along with Morgan and Alex, were the last people in the waitlist to get into the film. In addition to that once we got into the theater, I sat in the seat next Jason Segal. I have to say that was the perfect start to my experience at Sundance.

After that film I saw was a foreign film called Homesick. It is about two long lost siblings who begin to have an incestuous relationship. The film was pretty uncomfortable to start with, however the people in front of me were four drunken blond girls who laughed during every serious scene, and two old grouchy women who were constantly glaring and shushing the blond drunk girls. Besides that, I didn’t really like the film because it never reached any kind of conclusion.

Right after Homesick I rushed to another theater and saw the shorts program with Alex and Tyler. I enjoyed a majority of those shorts, but some of them were quite hard to watch. One of the shorts was about a paraplegic girl and a guy with cerebral palsy who have sex. The nurse at the hospital has to help the two perform by guiding the movements of them both.

The second day here I saw my fourth film, Sleeping With Friends. I liked this movie the least of all the ones I have seen thus far. The characters were one dimensional, unrealistic, and just bad people. I didn’t think the story was anything special either. After the film at the q&a the director seemed either drunk or high which was a little uncomfortable because she said a lot of stuff that was too much information.

Today I watched my first documentary, Dark Horse which is about a horse racing welsh horse and the community around it. Besides not knowing how they came up with the title (there was nothing dark about the horse) I really enjoyed the film. The movie was really informational, inspirational, and evoked a lot of feelings, too.

With all these movies and experiences behind me, I cannot wait for what is in store in the coming days.