Erik’s Sundance Film Festival ’09 Diary: Days 4 & 5

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Aside from stalking the halls at Flavorwire, Erik Davis contributes to Fandango.com and is also the editor-in-chief of AOL Moviefone’s Cinematical.com, one of the longest-running and most popular movie blogs online. He’ll be bringing us his industry reports from Sundance throughout the festival, and can be reached with tips or questions at erik [dot] davis [at] gmail [dot] com.

The quiet on Main Street, the beautiful weather and the very good films have thus far proven the 2009 Sundance Film Festival a success. Never have I been to a film festival (let alone Sundance) where I’ve actually liked — and in most cases, really liked — the first several films I’ve watched.

Unfortunately, though, my streak had to come to an end — and John Krasinski’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men just didn’t make the cut. Based on the almost-impossible-to-adapt book of the same name by David Foster Wallace, the film is ambitious, sure, but too scattered. Separated into several monologue-ish vignettes, Brief Interviews felt too much like a play on the big screen, with even the acting coming off as very stagey.

But then Adventureland coasted its way into my lap — a film which plops itself down and says, “I’m in no way related to Superbad, save for the same director.” An unsuspecting dramedy, Adventureland follows one inexperienced brainiac during his summer working at the Adventureland park in 1987. While a couple characters (namely Ryan Reynolds’) felt underdeveloped, Adventureland surprised the hell out of me with its genuine tone, its funky shine and its totally awesome ’80s soundtrack.

Other films making buzz right now at Sundance:
Humpday, which just sold to Magnolia, is so far the darling of the festival.
Adam, about the relationship between a woman and her awkward neighbor, is working its way up the buzzmeter.
In the Loop, starring James Gandolfini, is another film doing quite well amongst critics.