Don’t get me wrong, Sundance is fantastic. It’s an amazingly interesting amalgamation of talented and driven people that make films for next to nothing that have deep meaning and powerful messages. However, what I tend to hear frequently is how some intensely visceral and strikingly raw film just tore at the heartstrings, tugged at someones perceptions of self and spurred them to action. It is always nice to watch a really great and powerful film but, and here’s the big but, sometimes it’s not necessary. WHAT what did you just say? Are you saying we should go watch that DRIVEL that plays at the theaters that the mainstream sheep of America go to? Are you serious? But they are just mindless working automatons trying to escape their pitiful lives.
I think most of us can agree that cinema is a form of escapism. Fantastic worlds, alternate realities, and false situations can be created and seem completely real. People go to the movies to see things that would never and could never happen…happen. I’ve seen many great films here at the festival, one made me cry, another greatly impressed me with it’s cinematography and character depth, and yesterday I was rendered sick by a literal orgy of excessive drugs, violence, and rape. I looked on in horror as the cinematic filth that is “Vampire” played itself out onscreen (although I left about 20 minutes in). I was inspired and moved and sickened and frankly, tired of it. My friend Gabby and I turned to each other and said lets go see “No Strings Attached”, the infamous new romcom starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, who apparently needed a lighter role after the dark “Black Swan”. We knew its stigma and got surprised and negative reactions from people who heard we were going, “how could you go see something like that while you are at….Sundance”.
Well it’s simple really. Natalie and Ashton are both gorgeous and funny and they have a lot of sex. Let’s be real, there isn’t much to it…but that is the whole point. I didn’t feel challenged or disgusted to look at the screen, in fact I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I didn’t feel emotionally moved or distraught after, I felt buoyant, carefree, and happy. And to all those who say that that type of movie is awful and mind-numbing and the only real type of film is gritty and powerful it’s just not true and you probably are just too caught up in your own supreme sense of self that you don’t take a minute, break out of your critical shell, and enjoy light entertainment.