Mini-festival in my own time

I thought I’d seen a lot of films at Sundance. Or if not AT Sundance, a lot of Sundance films over the course of the year.

And then, in the last week, I’ve seen no less than six films that were all selections at last year’s festival. At this rate, I’ll be watching 2014’s selections well into 2015…

But it’s been good, this week of still watching Sundance films. It’s been a learning experience, in a way. While I was there, I didn’t get to see many just because I was working so much. What I did see, I had to be selective about – how much did I want to see it? And more importantly, what fits in my schedule? Since then, I’ve seen what sounded appealing, what’s been available in theaters or on Netflix or a random screener that found its way to me.

There’s apparently a lot that screened in Park City last year that I haven’t seen, though. It’s not my work to see these films – I don’t make a living writing about them, reviewing them. I haven’t sought every last one out, it’s not been .

In watching these six films this week, I’ve actually learned a lot. Basically, I’ve learned to cut the crap and just watch the film. It’s a cliche anymore, but it’s true: if it’s gone through Sundance, it’s a great film. Well, if not great, it’s at least worth seeing. Just watch it. Case in point:

The Lifeguard Put it off because: I felt like I’d seen this “What Am I Doing With My Life?” film before. Discovered: maybe it’s not the most incredible film on the whole, but a charming-enough female-driven indie, with a capable cast.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks – Put it off because: I kinda think Julian Assange is a douche. Discovered: Julian Assange really is a douche, but maybe not for the reasons I thought. And so it the government. Alex Gibney and his documentaries, however – far from douchey. Where can I see The Armstrong Lie?

Dirty WarsPut it off because: I don’t really need to be reminded that our involvement in foreign wars is effed up. Discovered: a human face to our involvement overseas, those civilians just trying to get by in a war zone. And that’s not easy.

A.C.O.D.Put it off because: I figured I’d see it eventually? I dunno, honestly. Just seemed kinda…kitschy. Discovered: it’s full of kitsch, but Adam Scott – and Jane Lynch and Amy Poehler – does kitsch well. The premise is modern and original, and that’s sometimes a lot to ask of an original screenplay.

Adore (formerly Two Mothers) – Put it off because: I’d heard the Q&A at this film’s premiere didn’t go well, that the French director commented how she didn’t expect an American audience to find it funny. The reviews following were less than flattering, too. Discovered: it’s entirely far-fetched and much too inauthentic, but Robin Wright does a decent Australian accent, and it actually goes much further than the “we slept with each other’s sons” plotline you’ve already heard of.

Blood BrotherPut it off because: I didn’t really want to see a documentary about sick kids in Africa. Discovered: it’s about sick kids in India. Doh! While I wasn’t as powerfully moved as expected (due to my own bias/pre-conceived notions, I admit!), it’s a heartstring-tugging story of what the human spirit is capable of, universally.