Moragan Joan Edelsohn trundled her entourage to the wilds of Park City this week for a firsthand look at the wild goings on ($35 hamburgers? Are you kidding us?) behind the scenes as the legendary Sundance Film Festival comes to town.
Joan, a prolific baker, committed cinephile, and blue ribbon winner in her own right, previews the festival’s hippest films while dodging the cowboy-hatted glitterati on Main Street and theaters spinning non-stop movies – some good, some bad. Here are her thoughts on three of them.
I was so looking forward to a good comedy, “The Bronze,” written by a husband and wife team and starring the wife as the 2004 Olympic Bronze winning gymnast, whose life has not progressed beyond the moment she won her medal. Her entire small town in Ohio still kowtows to her, allowing her to maintain this false reality.
For me and many others in the audience, the film fell flat, and not because the “F” bomb was used in almost every sentence. Quite simply, I did not find the movie funny, but instead found it offensive and hard to watch – 2 hours of “Mean Girls,” without redemption.
The only redeeming aspect of this entire 2-hour-long film was a very funny sex scene (between 2 gymnasts – can a body even do that?) – but this does not save this movie and make it even close to a comedy. Melissa McCarthy does crass humor and make it funny. This was just embarrassing, and if we weren’t stuck in the middle of the row, we’d probably have left.
Joan’s Rating: “F”
“The Best of Enemies”
A documentary about the Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. debates in 1968, on the eve of the Republican and Democratic National conventions. These were the first live televised political debates before a presidential primary.
Included was a lot if fascinating archival footage, interspersed with subsequent commentary from both Vidal and Buckley and other current political commentators. This was a wonderful film with timeless political context.
Interestingly, Gore Vidal made some very prescient comments in 1968 which very neatly describe our looming 2016 election season. These 1968 “debates” reflect today’s current hyper polarized positions.
Joan’s Rating: “A”
A documentary about Ousmane Sembene, a Senegelese man who moved to Marseilles, France as a grade school dropout to earn a living on the docks. After a severe injury, he returned to Senegal educated in literature and a novice filmmaker.
After a severe injury, he returned to Senegal educated in literature and a novice filmmaker. An interesting look at the rebel film maker who first brought African story telling to the screen as a way to preserve African heritage, cultures and languages through his films.
The film directors pointed out at the Q & A following the movie that Sembene did not do this for money or fame, but for his love of Africa and to preserve the cultures and languages among the many countries there, and to hopefully effectuate change on some issues (such as female circumcision).
Joan’s Rating: “B”