Sundance Day 7: Because We're All a Little Off

Things are slowing down here in ye olde Jim Shea place. For a few days it's just been the ladies—Nina, Anita and I. Anita and I share what we have fondly dubbed "the Neshoba County Fair Room." It's a hole-in-the-hall, chock with bunks. We've had revolving roommates, but the two of us are consistent (kinda like BFFs), and we think it's cozy, the Clarion Ledger shackin' up with the JFP, and all…

Yesterday, we spent the morning blogging (Anita for the CL, Nina for her Millsaps students), and talking about when we would leave the apartment, in a few minutes or hours…or days…We've all got our gripes. My knee is practically ticking. It swells bigger with each passing moment, and Anita detests the cold. Nina's simply exhausted, her experience being a whirl of film commission receptions, Ballast events and screenings.

But, to quote a character from my favorite movie of yesterday, "Why not look at the dopeness of things? Why you gotta look at the wackness of it all?"

So the "dopeness" goes something like this: Jonathan Levine's The Wackness is my favorite film thus far, this Sun/Slamdance rotation, and even though acquiring tickets was a movie-long process in itself, all I could think as the credits rolled was, "This is it. THIS is why you come to Sundance." To be fair, my perspective may be a bit skewed, because I am the target demographic. The film is set in 1994 Manhattan, against a backdrop of all things freedom, in (my personal first taste of) late-90's New York. There are gameboys and tag-markers, mixed tapes and Biggie Smalls, Giuliani bashing and bongos in the park, and solid advice from a weird old guy: "Never trust anyone who doesn't smoke weed, listen to Bob Dylan, or like dogs." Josh Peck and Olivia Thirlby (last encountered as Juno's girl-pal) deliver breakthrough performances, while Mary-Kate offers a slightly-larger-than cameo appearance.

And now, on the "dopeness" of the audience…before the movie started, there was the Sundance promo spot and afterwards, a reminder to vote (audience choice award implied). At which point, the kid behind me shouted out "Obama," to the amusement of the packed 600-person theater.

Post-Wackness, the dopeness got even better. Because then I took a bus up to the canyons, where my friend Anthony Agresti met me at his condo-complex, and we stripped down to our long johns and took a lovely swim in a 95-degree pool, with steam rising from the water and snow falling on our heads. It was ridiculous and amazing. We had an hour to take a 40-minute round bus-trip swim and scamper (or limp!) back, to catch a 6pm showing of Slamdance's Glory-Boy Days (fantastic camera work, btw), in which Anthony plays Yardbirds.

Waiting for the bus afterwards, Anthony ran across the street for 7-Eleven hot chocolate, while my wet long-johns grew crunchy in a plastic sack, and I befriended Ben, a 24-year-old curly-haired housekeeper. When I asked why he came here from England, he grinned and said, "Because of England."

Bussing to the canyons was interesting because it's city transport rather than resort transport, and the other passengers actually live in Park City. There was more diversity—lots of Latinos and parents with kids, rather than twenty and thirty-somethings with $400 jeans and hipster haircuts.

Back at Slamdance, I watched, I Think We're Alone Now , a well-made documentary on two obsessed Tiffany fans (we're trying to bring this to Crossroads…stay tuned!) The doc follows Jeff, a 50-year old with Asperger's Syndrome who believes he and Tiffany are spiritual lovers, and Kelly, a 35-year old intersexed woman, who believes she and Tiffany are fated to be together. First-time feature director Sean Donnelly stumbled across Jeff in the streets of his hometown, tracking Jeff for five years and discovering Kelly along the way. The subject matter is disturbing but never exploitive, and in some ways, it hits uncomfortably close to home. Maybe we've never been checked by restraining orders or made a shrine out of our apartment, but we have all experienced unrequited, and brooding, slightly obsessive "love."

I leave you with a particularly endearing insight from Jeff: "It's the cracked ones who let light into the world."

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We’ve had revolving roommates, but the two of us are consistent (kinda like BFFs), and we think it’s cozy, the Clarion Ledger shackin’ up with the JFP, and all… How sweet. Did you all sing folk songs too? LOL



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