Sundance is our film festival Waterloo â€” five days in, we’re miserably sick once again despite constant intake of Airborne and repeated applications of Zicam, a product based on the claim that you can ward off colds by spraying zinc up your nose. (We remain agnostic as to whether the latter works â€” anything that’s so disgusting and that can cause irreversible loss of smell must at least have some placebo properties.)
Nothing in our growing backlog of films has yet blown us away. There’s been debate about the worthiness of "The Wackness," Jonathan Levine’s coming of age drama set, for no apparent better reason than to include a vintage hip-hop soundtrack and Giuliani jokes, in 1994 â€” whether a brilliant mess or indulgent disaster, it’s still one of the more enjoyable things we’ve seen so far. The docs at Sundance have always been a safer bet than the narrative films, and are dominating the most talked-about titles in the festival to date. Two in particular: Marina Zerovich’s "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" became an unexpectedly hot property and was eventually picked up by HBO, while Nanette Burstein’s "American Teen," which follows the senior year of four Indiana high school students, is still being squabbled over by various distributors and is reportedly commanding a bidding price in the $2-3 million range. We haven’t been able to see either yet due to interview scheduling, but did end up talking to Burstein and her four subjects yesterday. The kids, who in the film are preliminarily assigned the John Hughes-esque roles of "Jock," "Popular," ‘Rebel" and "Loner," were radiant after what was, from all accounts, one of the best-received premieres of the festival. CW star Tom Welling, they told us, had requested to take a photo with them. After a morning of delivering sound bites to the press, a few of the teens had also gotten into the habit of referring to the "characters" they play in the film, something they’d then realize and apologize for. We don’t think it’s a telling detail about the film as much as one about our current culture â€” everyone’s born junket-ready these days.
IFC News has a few video pieces up on the general IFC Sundance page, including one discussion of our Sundance survival kit (that has since failed us), another in which we interview Emily Blunt and Mary Lynn Rajskub of "Sunshine Cleaning," and Matt’s "sweded" interview with Jack Black on "Be Kind Rewind."