Sundance serves a mixed bag: Bestiare, The Comedy, 2 Days in New York, and John Dies at The End

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Director Bestiare

The Comedy stars Tim Heidecker as a trustifarian, 35 year-old douchebag living off his dying father’s estate in Williamsburg. Despite the title, there is nothing funny about this guy and his similarly idle, beer bellied group of friends (which includes Eric Wareheim — the duo also have Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie screening at Sundance). This group revels in harassing the blue collar workers they encounter in between drug binges and prancing around in their tighty whities. At 96 minutes, the film feels painfully long. While I think we can safely say we get the irony of calling a study of personal apathy and tragedy “The Comedy,” the joke is on anyone hoping for even the slightest enjoyment from this over-done character study on numbness. Chris had hoped this would be a better film but easily ranks as one of the worse ones we see this season.

The Comedy cast and director

Our doldrums of tiresome films is broken with the very cute 2 Days in New York. Julie Delpy directs and stars with Chris Rock as a couple under siege by her visiting French relatives. Father Albert Delpy stars as himself. A sequel to her earlier film, 2 Days in Paris, this is a hilariously sweet look at the perils of blending families. While the film is a lot of fun and full of belly aching laughs, it is so Hollywood that it was hard to rank it above some of the other more indie films that we screened. One of the best Q&A exchanges we had was when Chris Rock responded to the audience question of why Julie Delpy picked him — his answer was he had to look up on IMDB if Ethan Hawk was dead first. HA!

2 Days in New York Cast & Director

John Dies at the End is our 2nd midnight selection at the Egyptian and we are not disappointed. Paul Giamatti (who stars and produces) joins director Don Coscarelli to greet the audience and pass out swag (John Dies at the End hats) to those in the ticket line before the screening. Chris shakes hands with the director. “The talent has never come back here before,” proclaims the Egyptian Theatre volunteer (SFF volunteers always seem to have the snarkiest things to say). The film itself is based on the quirky novel by David Wong. Quirky meaning it covers drugs, aliens, parallel worlds, etc. Everything you can imagine is in this film and it’s a fun, mind-bending way to end our day.

John Dies at the End cast

They can’t all be winners at Sundance. Here are some signs of a potentially bad film: there is hardly anyone in the wait list, people come to sell unwanted tickets to the wait-listers, and people walk out during the film. All three of these things happen at Bestiare, a New Frontier film which is basically a silent slide show filled with images of animals in a Quebec zoo. Chris asks a question during the Q&A about why taxidermy scenes were stuck in the middle of the film, and the director mutters something about the circle of life. Sorry — we are just not buying that the film can even muster up that semblance of meaningfulness.

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