Larry (not his real name) wanted $30 for a $10 ticket to "American Psycho." If you waited 15 minutes, you waited too long, because then Larry wanted $40 -- and got it, too. (Or so he thought.)
According to one overheard comment Friday night at the "Psycho"'s sold-out Sundance premiere at the Eccles Theatre, the 15-year-old and his underage posse were possibly the first scalpers in the history of Robert Redford's mountain paradise.
Such is life in this now (really) big little city.
The snow arrived about the same time the stars did this weekend -- as did the buzz, the crowds, Tammy Faye and the kids trying to price gouge morally offended indie film types. A rundown of the action:
KA-CHING! "Groove," a no-name indie about the rave-party scene, is living the Sundance dream -- snapped up today by Sony Pictures Classics. No word on the dollar amount. The flick, called a "low-budget 'Nashville' by the Sundance wags, premiered Friday under the festival's American Spectrum wing. A "Groove" party tonight was the place to be -- particularly after worked leaked out about the Sony buy. "Oh, my God," said film publicist Matthew Strauss, "it went through the roof." "Groove" is written-directed by veteran film editor Greg Harrison making his feature-length debut behind the camera.
BAD VIBES: This morning's press screening for "Psycho" was interrupted when a viewer lapsed into an apparent seizure with 10 minutes left in the picture. At first, fellow audience members thought the man was snoring. "Everybody felt bad people had started to laugh [at the seizure victim]," says Hollywood.com's Jim Bartoo. Paramedics were called, the man revived and escorted from the theater. The screening resumed.
HERE'S WHAT THE GUY MISSED: Ultra-violent "American Psycho" is sorta funny -- at least that was the buzz from audience types leaving Friday's mishap-free Eccles showing. "People were laughing until the last 15 minutes and then no one said anything," said 21-year-old San Francisco resident Maris Brenn-White, on her way out of the theater. Chimed in companion Andrew Harper, also 21: "Yeah, very strange, very strange ending. Not really sure what to make of it."
HERE'S WHAT TO MAKE OF IT: According to "Psycho" star Christian Bale, the thing is supposed to be mixed up. "It is a funny film but then it is also disturbing," the actor told Hollywood.com today, "and then toward the end it really sort of ceases being funny." Oh. (To read the Hollywood.com review, go to The Buzz.)
SO, WAS THE MOVIE WORTH $40? "I was supposed to pay $40, but the little kid didn't know how to do the math so I paid $30," proud ticket-holder Greg Robertson said Friday night.
UNLESS YOU NEED TO BOLT FROM THE THEATER: Ben Affleck turned out to tonight's premiere of "Committed" (an upcoming Miramax release as well as a Sundance dramatic competition entry) sans Matt Damon, but with a single crutch. The actor says he sprained his ankle playing basketball. "It kind of sucks," he told us. "Sundance is a real walking experience. ... [But] I guess sitting down to watch movies doesn't take too much mobility."
NO THUMB UP: So, we cornered one Roger Ebert exiting the "American Psycho" premiere. We locked eyes -- ours were saying, "Ooh, Roger Ebert what'd you think?"; his were saying, "Don't even ask." What can we say? We asked. He didn't tell. "You have to wait," the Great One said. "I don't review when I walk out of movies."
ROGER EBERT WON'T, BUT MATTHEW BRODERICK WILL: "'You Can Count on Me,' I saw," the "Ferris Bueller" icon said when prompted for an impromptu movie review by Hollywood.com this morning on Main Street. "It was great. ... Great performances, wonderful script, excellent."
ALL RIGHT, SO WE WERE HAD: Upon further review, "You Can Count on Me," which premiered Friday night at Sundance, is a family drama starring Laura Linney ("The Truman Show"), Jon Tenney (TV's "Get Real") and, um, Matthew Broderick.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUNDANCE PARTY AND A SLAMDANCE PARTY: A Friday night Sundance bash sponsored by Entertainment Weekly featured a spectacular view of the mountains, really tasty mini-eclairs, delightful chicken things in peanut sauce, an open bar (up until about 11 p.m.) and a low-key vibe. Slamdance's Saturday night opening bash featured an OK view of the mountains, bowls of pretzels, a cash bar (unless you ordered vodka, which was free) and a happening buzz.
SPEAKING OF HAPPENING...: "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," a Sundance doc about ex-televangelist Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner, is entertaining movie deals after its Friday premiere at the Yarrow Theatre brought its audience to its feet. "It's been a good day," co-director Randy Barbato told us. For Tammy Faye, it was a really good premiere. "After it ended, I walked up in front of the people, and I began to cry," a full mascaraed Tammy Faye said at the mega-loud Slamdance blowout. "... It was the most wonderful, warm moment I've ever experienced. And I'm so grateful."
SPEAKING OF ANOTHER HAPPENING: "A Galaxy Far, Far Away," an 80-minute Slamdance doc about "Star Wars" geeks on the eve of the premiere of "The Phantom Menace" played to a packed video lounge at the Treasure Mountain Inn tonight -- despite a wacky thermostat that made the screening room Africa hot and a wacky playback machine that cut out the video 10 times. Still, director Tariq Jalil was far from despondent later that night. He tells us the crowd of 100 to 200, with few exceptions, stayed with the flick throughout the entire ordeal. Always a good sign. So are the phone calls we hear the "Galaxy" team's been getting.
FIGHTIN' THE MAN: No fliers on fliers in Park City this January. Slamdance filmmaker Farhad Yawari was "very nearly arrested" on Friday over a handbill flap, festival co-founder Dan Mirvish tells Hollywood.com. It seems Yawari, who directed the short "Dolphins," was found in violation of the local's new anti-handbill-passing-out ordinance -- punishable by a $2,000 fine. "He wasn't happy about paying that, so that's why they were going to arrest him," Mirvish says. Slamdance officials say the new law is news to them -- they have yet to see it in writing. Says Mirvish: "Does it say [no fliers] on Main Street? Is it the whole town? Is it just Slamdance?" To be sure, other Slamdance filmmakers are taking it personally. Jali's "Galaxy" crew has seen roaming Park City bearing posterboard signs declaring: "We're not allowed to hand you a flier, so here's a sign."
MOST UBIQUITOUS FREEBIE IN PARK CITY: The snowflake button for "Snow Days," the buzz-a-rific American Spectrum comedy set to debut Sunday.
HOT TREND: Pregnancy. Actor/director Stanley Tucci had to skip the premiere of "Joe Gould's Secret" on Friday to go have a baby with his wife. Other with-child types here include filmmakers Stacy Cochran ("Drop Back Ten") and Mary Harron ("American Psycho").
THINGS WE SAW OTHER THAN "AMERICAN PSYCHO":
1. "Waking the Dead" (Sundance World Premiere) -- Director Keith Gordon's tale of a young couple whose future is cut down by a terrorist's bomb is hurt by slow pacing and an overindulgence in the sentimental. Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly star as complete opposites who fall in love during the tumultuous early 1970s. As bad luck would have it, Connelly's involvement in Latin American issues presumably leads to her death by car bomb. Years later, an older and politically suave Crudup is poised to make a run for Congress -- only to start having delusions of seeing Sarah in his everyday life. While it could prove commercially viable, "Waking the Dead" treads very little new ground. (Jim Bartoo)
2. "Just, Melvin" (Sundance Documentary Competition) -- With painstaking detail, director Ronald Whitney does an amazing job telling the story of his abusive grandfather, Melvin Just. A sexual predator of the worst kind, Melvin abused Whitney's mother, her sisters, their daughters and a whole host of other young children from his second marriage. "Just, Melvin" is receiving a tremendous amount of praise in Park City and deservedly so. (J.B.)
3. "Well-Founded Fear" (Sundance Documentary Competition) -- Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini's touching, disturbing behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. political asylum system is an extremely engaging piece that attempts to put a human face on the much-maligned Immigration and Naturalization Service. Through the stories and eyes of multiple applicants and INS officers, Robertson and Camerini give viewers a never-before-seen look at the actual interview process, as well as very candid conversations between officers and their supervisors. Often unsettlingly sad, "Well-Founded Fear" is summed up by one particularly kind officer who, after having to deny an applicant admission, is asked about his day: "Do I feel good? No. I feel like [crap]." (J.B.)
4. "The Small-Timers." (No Dance) -- This is an earnest doc about an independent film ("The Big Muddy") that didn't exactly go "Blair Witch" after its Park City premiere last year. As far as naval-gazing projects go, its heart is in the right place, even if its indie-worn message ("Make your movie -- no matter what!) is in the same old place. (Joal Ryan)
PREVIEW OF SUNDANCES TO COME? So, when everybody's trying to sell movies in Park City, the only way to distinguish yourself is to make a movie in Park City. The Brooklyn-based film crew for the in-the-works indie flick "The Battle for Breuklyn" was spotted doing just that the other day. Producer Liz Maddalone says the film's about a guy (natch) trying to make a movie called (natch) "The Battle for Breuklyn." (History note: That's the way the Dutch used to spell the name of the borough.). Anyway, the flick's a family affair -- one of Maddalone's brothers is the writer/director, another one's the camera guy. Almost eight years in the making, the project seems at the climax phase. Maddalone says the Park City shoot features the film's hero trying to drum up interest in his project. So does he get a deal? Says Maddalone: "You're gonna just have to watch to find out."
MOST HEARTWARMING MOMENT: An awestruck kid watching Hollywood.com-er Gerry Katzman interview two food-service workers at the Eccles Theatre: "Dude, Hollywood.com!"
SPOTTED: Supercouple Heather Graham and Edward Burns doing the press line at the "Committed" premiere; character actor Joe Bologna trying to do the press line at the "Committed" premiere; Kevin Smith ("Clerks") and Michael Nouri ("Flashdance") walking into the lobby at the "American Psycho" premiere; Peter Weller ("RoboCop") putting in appearance near Sundance headquarters at Shadow Ridge.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Ethan Hawke-led "Hamlet," the Neve Campbell-equipped "Panic" and the aforementioned "Snow Days" all get their first Sundance screenings Sunday. With additional reporting by Jim Bartoo and Gerry Katzman.
Besides the elbow-rubbing and power mongering, let's not forget that the Sundance Film Festival is also about the films.
With that in mind, the annual indie film fest announced today its partial list of films for the 2001 powwow.
The lineup for three categories -- dramas, documentaries and the American Spectrum -- have thus far been announced, and other areas such as premiere, international films and short films will be announced Wednesday.
Films at the festival only compete in the dramatic and documentary categories. Top films coming out of Sundance in previous years include Ed Burns' "The Brothers McMullen" and last year's "Girlfight" from director Karyn Kusama.
The Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah.
In the meantime, here's the complete list of Sundance films in competition and in the American Spectrum.
"30 Years to Life," directed by Vanessa Middleton "American Astronaut," directed by Cory McAbee "The Believer," directed by Henry Bean "The Business of Strangers," directed by Patrick Stettner "The Deep End," directed by Scott McGehee & David Siegel "Donnie Darko," directed by Richard Kelly "Green Dragon," directed by Timothy Linh Bui "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," directed by John Cameron Mitchell "In the Bedroom," directed by Todd Field "L.I.E.," directed by Michael Cuesta "Lift," directed by DeMane Davis & Khari Streeter "MacArthur Park," directed by Billy Wirth "Memento," directed by Christopher Nolan "Scotland, PA," directed by Billy Morrissette "The Sleepy Time Gal," directed by Christopher Munch "Some Body," directed by Henry Barrial
"Chain Camera," directed by Kirby Dick "Children Underground," directed by Edet Belzberg "Dogtown and the Z-Boys," directed by Stacy Peralta "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic," directed by George Butler "Go Tigers!" directed by Kenneth A. Carlson "Home Movie," directed by Chris Smith "Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton," directed by Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson with "Albert Maysles Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind," directed by Stanley Nelson "The Natural History of the Chicken," directed by Mark Lewis "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," directed by William Greaves "Scout's Honor," directed by Tom Shepard "Scratch," directed by Doug Pray "Southern Comfort," directed by Kate Davis "Startup.com," directed by Chris Hegedus & Jehane Noujaim "Trembling Before G-D," directed by Sandi Simcha Dubowski "An Unfinished Symphony," directed by Bestor Cram & Mike Majoro
"Acts of Worship," directed by Rosemary Rodriguez "After Image," directed by Robert Manganelli "Dancing in September," directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood "Diary of a City Priest," directed by Eugene Martin "The Doe Boy," directed by Randy Redroad "Haiku Tunnel," directed by Jacob Kornbluth & Josh Kornbluth "Invisible Revolution," directed by Beverly Peterson "Jump Tomorrow," directed by Joel Hopkins "Manic," directed by Jordan Melamed "Margarita Happy Hour," directed by Ilya Chaiken "Miss Wonton," directed by Meng Ong "Raw Deal: A Question of Consent," directed by Billy Corben "Roof to Roof," directed by Ara Corbett "Women in Film," directed by Bruce Wagner "Tape," directed by Richard Linklater "Wet Hot American Summer," directed by David Wain.
They might not win Oscars, but several singer/actors/divas are up for Grammys.
Nominations for the 42nd Grammy Awards, honoring the would-be best in music, were announced in Los Angeles today -- and the list of hopefuls reads like a who's-who in movieland, with Jennifer Lopez ("Out of Sight"), Courtney Love ("Man in the Moon") and Cher ("Tea With Mussolini") among those making the cut.
Here's a look at some of the key Grammy races involving Hollywood types:
'BELIEVE' IT OR NOT: That infectious dance song you heard all last year, Cher's "Believe," set the stage for the Oscar winner ("Moonstruck") to make her pop comeback. The Grammy people handed Cher three nominations, for Record of the Year, Best Pop Album and Best Dance Recording. Rivaling her in the Dance Recording category is Jennifer Lopez. Lopez's nomination is for "Waiting for Tonight," off her multiplatinum debut album "On the 6."
But hold on a sec, we're not done yet -- also nominated in that dance category is Gloria Estefan for the single "Don't Let This Moment End." Estefan's better known as a singer, but she made her feature-film debut in last year's "Music of the Heart" with Meryl Streep. That film's title track -- a duet featuring Estefan and the boy band 'N Sync -- also picked up two nominations.
MOVIE MANIA: The Grammys honor movie tunes, too. Vying for the title of Best Score: "A Bug's Life," "Life is Beautiful" (which won the drama score Oscar last year), "The Red Violin," "Shakespeare in Love" (which won the comedy score Oscar) and "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace."
Nominated for Best Film Song: Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger" (from " "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"); Gloria Estefan and 'N Sync's "Music of My Heart" ("Music of the Heart"); Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey's "When You Believe" (""The Prince of Egypt"); Randy Newman's "The Time of Your Life," ("A Bug's Life") and Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" ( "Tarzan").
As for soundtrack compilations, the Grammy contenders are: "American Beauty", "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," "The Matrix", "The Prince of Egypt" and "Tarzan."
Sorry, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" didn't make, um, the cut.
DIVAS, DIVAS EVERYWHERE: Whitney Houston ("Waiting to Exhale") scored a total of four nominations, including R&B nods for her cuts "Heartbreak Hotel" and "It's Not Right But It's OK" (perhaps an apt reference to the box-office disappointment of her last flick, "The Preacher's Wife"). Courtney Love, meanwhile, received a best rock-group performance nod for the Hole song "Malibu."
And let's not forget the men: Will Smith ("Wild, Wild West") furthered his multi-media lifestyle with a nod in the Best Rap Solo Performance category.
GOD AND THE VIRGIN: Madonna (a Golden Globe winner for "Evita" and Grammy winner for her last CD, "Ray of Light") will look to add to her trophy collection with "Beautiful Stranger." The song was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance -- a category that pits the Material Girl against Alanis Morissette (who went God in "Dogma") and pop princess Britney Spears, who isn't an actress -- yet. Read on.
FILM ME BABY ONE MORE TIME: Britney Spears, at age 18, is sitting pretty with the highest-selling teen-female album in history (10 million copies sold of "... Baby One More Time"). But it's not enough.
"I really want to do a movie," Spears says in the February issue of Teen People. "There are, like, 20 scripts waiting for me -- I get some really good scripts -- but I haven't taken them seriously because I knew I didn't have any time."
But unlike her celebrity life so far, Spears' movie roles don't have to be in the spotlight.
"To go all out and have the lead role -- I'd be scared having that much pressure on me," she says. "It would be fun to do a teen movie -- maybe a good supporting role where I could show my acting ability."