There’s way too much greatness to talk about. This last week of movies and friends has been a compact dose of awesome.

Prologue

A couple months back I was in South Carolina shooting a short film with Bryan King and the rest of the Rock, Paper, Scissors crew. Bryan mentioned that he and Zach were going to Sundance, I got all excited and immediately booked my flight. The big reason I wanted to go is to see Kevin Smith’s new movie, Red State. I’ve become a huge fan of Smith in the last several months because of his podcasts and his twitter feed so I wanted to see him more than his movie.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) Red State was only going to play at Sundance two times, and they were all sold out of tickets. A couple weeks ago Bryan decided he was going to get me into Red State and launched a twitter campaign to do so. After one reply Smith stopped responding. Then two days later Smith started an auction for two tickets, two rides on the SMod bus, and two entries to the Red State after party. Long story short, Bryan and I won the bidding with a clean $1000 – I paid $300 with Bryan picking up a whopping $700. That sounds like a shitton of dough, and it is, but I can’t think of a better way I would have rather spent it…

Bear Hugging Kevin Smith into History

The first thing I did in Park City was the Red State experience. Partly because there were only two screenings for Red State and partly because of the buzz Smith has been drumming up around the movie, shit was crazy. The good people at GodHatesFags.com protested the movie (it deals with Christian fundamentalism) so Smith decided to counter. After walking through that whole deal it was time to see Red State.

The movie didn’t blow me away (more details below) but everything surrounding it did. I got to see my favorite talker talk, awesome. But after the (badass) credits rolled, he did something awesomeR. As he announced before the premier, he wanted to auction the movie off after the first public showing. He did, but he auctioned it to himself for $20. He spent about half an hour talking about how broken the studio system is and how he wanted to sell his movie himself. If you have any interest in film business you need to watch the talk. You can get all the details here.

After that madness, we rode on the SMod bus to the house they were all staying in. After a bit of a talk, Smith gave Bryan and me hugs. There was great conversation and great people. The coolest part of this for me was seeing the dynamics of the Kevin Smith crew. He has created an environment where he is always surrounded and supported by friends. He has been able to hire his friends so he’s working with friends. That was inspiring, to see a bunch of friends all hanging out together while getting real shit done. That’s the kind of environment that I want to create.

From the house we headed to the Red State after party. Apparently there were a whole bunch of celebrities, but I couldn’t really think of anything besides that work/life situation Smith has created.

The Movies…

Red State wasn’t as much a horror as a drama. It’s looks and feel is totally different than anything Smith has done before, but his dialogue screams his name. The movie had a $4 million budget but it felt much bigger. Melissa Leo and John Goodman are amazing… Michael Parks is good too.

Knuckle is a documentary about travelling Irish families who film videos calling other families pussies then fighting about it. They aren’t very good at fighting, and are incestuous. I slept (and snored) through about 45 minutes. Irish bare-knuckle boxing was somehow made boring.

Perfect Sense was great. Cerebral and beautiful. Also, Eva Green’s breasts get an amazing amount of screen time. You have to accept a lot of what my buddy would call ‘silliness’, but it wasn’t hard for me.

Incendies was one of the two foreign films I saw that have been nominated for an Oscar. It was also the longest-feeling movie at the festival. I almost had to walk out of the theater I was so intensely bored. That being said, it was a beautifully made, technically great movie.

Troll Hunter was satirically hilarious, and awesome. They were faithful to troll lore… such a fun movie.

Sound Of My Voice was fantastic. They fuck with your head and don’t answer a lot of questions. The filmmakers are fresh out of film school and excited, really cool to see their success.

In A Better Place was the good international Oscar nominee. The father-son moment brought me to the brink of tears. The kid actors (all of the actors, really) gave some of the best performances I saw at the festival.

Take Shelter was a powerful look at someone going crazy and how it effects his work and family life. Probably the most suspenseful movie I saw.

Life In A Day was that YouTube project. Beautifully put together, definitely worth seeing.

Uncle Kent was ultra low budget, mildly funny then boring. Seemed like the dude just thought he was being ballsy talking about sex in different ways.

Bellflower AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME love story. This movie is ART

Like, Crazy was great love story that was all improvised. I wasn’t crazy about it at first but it’s been growing on me.

Submarine was beautifully shot and written. Another movie you look at and think ‘art’… or I did anyway.

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