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Sundance 2011 – Top 7 and Bottom 5

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Top 7

It was a good year at Sundance, as evidenced by the impressive number of deals that took place. Here’s a quick rundown of what I enjoyed and a few that I really didn’t.

Another Earth
Score: 93

Perfect Sense
Score: 93

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
Score: 93

BEING ELMO: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Score: 93

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Score: 92

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
Score: 92

Bellflower
Score: 92

Bottom 5

I have to admit to a bias up front: being a new dad probably made me extra hard on the movies that were not good, and left me without much patience for movies that took a ridiculous amount of time to get to the point. Every film had a lot to live up to when I considered that I could have spent the 90 minutes or so playing with my daughter.

I walk out of a good number of movies every year thinking that they need at least 15 minutes trimmed out of them, and that the work should probably be done by somebody who wasn’t involved with the production of the movie. This year, it consistently felt more like 20 minutes instead.

Vampire
Score: 40

Prairie Love
Score: 39

I Melt With You
Score: 31

All Your Dead Ones
Score: 31

The Oregonian
Score: 24

I didn’t have much to say about the movie the night that I posted the score; it had been a long day and, frankly, Another Earth was more deserving of the time.

During the Q&A after the film, which I stayed for out of sheer spite and the hope that I’d get to watch a filmmaker bask in the warm glow of universal loathing (I was disappointed; only me and the filmmaker’s friends and family stayed, so I instead got to hear him praised as a visionary), he mentioned his future plans. It turns out that this directionless, annoying to a fault, and sound designed to make you crave the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard film was made while a narrative feature the director wants to make languishes in development hell. He reported that if the narrative gets underway, he’ll work on that next. If not, he plans to make more films along the same vein as The Oregonian. I’ve never heard a more vile threat from a public microphone. Quick, decision maker, greenlight his other project; you’ll win on two fronts. It cannot be any worse than this film, and you’ll be like the man in the platoon who throws himself on top of the grenade to save his buddies.

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