Friday, January 27, 2006

Sundance Part 5

My, my. It looks as though the tables have turned. I scored one against Sundance today. I decided to avoid Park City altogether and hit the Broadway. I got in a wait line, but ended up being able to buy tickets from the director of the film who was scalping them in the front of the theatre.

I was able to see "TV Junkie." It was pretty good. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to cut. It's about a small time celebrity ("Inside Edition's" "Adventure guy," Rick Kirkham) who happened to have started filming himself and his diary since he was 16. They had to cull over 3000 hours of footage (the film said 3000, IMDb says 5000) into a film that had an arc and an interesting story to tell. Turns out, the guy was a crack-cocaine addict and not that great of a husband. It was interesting to see a documentary window into life that you don't normally get to see on screen. There's a brief, candid moment of sex. There's family disputes (these are especially hard to watch because they all seem to occur in front of children). There's drug and alcohol binges. It's all in here. I enjoy watching these moments, even if some of them are a train wreck of family problems. Maybe that's a little sadistic of me.

But I thought the film was excellent although I can't see it finding wide-distribution.

There's only one problem I had with the film and it's the title. I never once saw the guy watching TV and the documentary barely shows him when he's on TV. He does say at one point in the film that he's a "video" junkie, which makes sense. So, I thought "Video Junkie" would have made a much better title.

I'm also boggled by the idea that this Kirkham character would hand over 3000 candid hours of his life, particularly his most personal moments to be shown to audiences the world over. That's a brave thing. It's admirable if it can get people to quit crack-cocaine or get them to stop using it in the first place.

I know I'll sure as hell never touch the stuff. I probably wouldn't have anyway before seeing this picture, but I'll be doubly sure to avoid it now.


Jenni said...

I don't know if you are into shorts or not, but I found 2 of the shorts in Shorts Program II to be excellent, if you're interested in recommendations.

I know that Salt Lake isn't the filmmaker scene like Park City is, but I've always made it into a screening down here from the wait list line.

Anonymous said...

Sounds a bit like Tarnation, which I think came out in the past year. I saw it in theater in Manchester UK so I am not sure what the US release was. Same concept, auto-biography using a mix of home films, photos, and a few re-enactments. Pretty good stuff.

Although I wonder if we will see a fad in the art house scene of not so good home movies gone wrong if these films get some mainstream attention.