Saturday, January 20th – Movie Schmovie

Posted January 23, 2007 in
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We woke up in the car at 8am, sore, tired and a little irritable. Last night we ended up at a friend's party which ended up being a bust of Coor's Light, old rich people and a gaggle of bare-walled, plasma TV music videos blaring to the wee morning hours. We left our little nook in search of movies to watch, a plan and the struggle to stay awake.

The first movie we saw was a Sundance flick called Teeth. Teeth is a movie about vagina dentata told in the worst possible way – a confused narrative about a pro-abstinence chick whose vagaina has teeth. The movie was confused because, in the middle of nowhere, she turns pro-sex, bites off people's penises in graphic detail and sleeps with her brother as a way to get back at him for hurting her mother. The relationships between characters is confusing, the motivations that drive characters are shallow – hell, the characters in general are underdeveloped and left lacking. The ending didn't help tie anything together or made you give a damn about anyone. In general, the movie was a stinker. If this piece of shit could make it into Sundance, why not Troma's War or any other Troma movie? At least those were made with a bit of integrity and humor. The special FX were a bit over the top (in a bad way) and the narrative was like a flaccid dick. At 11am in the morning, we were glad to get this tripe out of the way.

Later on in the day, we went to go see American Zombie at Slamdance. We weren't able to get press passes for the movie but we did get an insider's tip on who to call to get in. Using all our wile (and cell phone power...and paying three dollars to charge it for a half an hour, at that), we were able to get a floor/aisle seat for the movie from their PR guy, Jack.

American Zombie is a fresh, entertaining and creatively awesome take on the whole zombie genre. The zombie genre in general is inundated with slasher and horror elements so it was nice to see a hilariously interesting take on that: a documentary on being a zombie in a human world. American Zombie follows four high-functioning zombies around their daily life, while weaving a surprise sub-plot that accounts for all the zombie cliches. High praise goes to filmmaker Grace Lee (whose work on such films as the Grace Lee Project tackles issues of identity and minority cultures) for turning her interests of documentary towards a narrative that is highly original and funny. If you like zombie flicks, and I am sure you do, then this one is highly recommended.

The final Sundance movie we saw for the day, before we were about to pass out, was a romantic comedy starring Parker Posey called Broken English. Broken English is about a hip yet insecure girl who works at a hotel who is looking for love in all the wrong places (sounds like a movie tag line doesn't it?) Her best friend is the counterpoint to her life as she is supposedly in a happy marriage and in love. After going out with guy after guy and becoming sorely disappointed with life and men in general, she finds and falls in love with, a mysterious French dude who sweeps her off her feet with persistence and style – all in a weekend. He leaves her to go back to Paris as quickly as he meets her and she promises to visit him. How romantic.

This easily could be any romantic comedy – substitute one cultural capital for another, substitute one ethnicity or mysterious character trait for another and add or remove smoking, job commitments or any other banal life requirement. The romantic comedy model is supposed to be generic and clichéd but Broken English does a good job of updating those damning norms into something chic and cool.

It is easy to feel for the character, to sympathize with their situations and to get into the movie – all because you see it coming and prepare yourself accordingly. Like I said to my colleagues sitting next to me at the screening, "Comon Parker, make me cry with anticipation" This movie easily will be the next Little Miss Sunshine, a darling of a film.

By the end of the last movie, both Lance and I were thoroughly exhausted. Little sleep, much alcohol and caffeine did not help the wave of tiredness we felt after coming out of the movie. While we still had parties and one more movie for the night, but we thought it best to retire and recharge the batteries for the upcoming days ahead. We needed it.

Kept it awake,

–Lance Lopez and Erik Saunders