The Sundance Film Festival, Hollywood’s premiere celebration of Hollywood insiders celebrating the outsider, recently released their programming schedule, and with the 2013 fest just a few weeks away, Laremy Legel and I decided to attempt to explore just what makes a good Sundance movie. Is it scarves? Non-linear narratives? Magical realism? Melancholic, semi-autobiographical tales of romanticized bohemian narrators trying to find their place in an increasingly alienating world with the help of a manic pixie girls? Is it, as David Sedaris once wrote of hanging out with filmmakers in college, “grainy black-and-white movies in which ponderous, turtlenecked men slogged the stony beaches, cursing the gulls for their ability to fly”?
Laremy and I are a lot like the Supreme Court in that we may not be able to tell you exactly what makes a Sundance movie, we just know one when we see one. While we most likely won’t be making the trip ourselves this year (trivia: we met there two years ago), that doesn’t mean we can’t still drool over the program guide like a pair of old yuppies reading a Zagat’s Guide, and then make wild generalizations as to its content.
Here, using the actual program guide, we tried to rank the Sundanciest Sundance Films in terms of Sundanciness (a very scientific measure, though we didn’t include all of them), as only people who would quote David Sedaris in an article about it could do. And if you’re attending the festival this year, we helpfully included some pairings to help you get the most out of each. Boner Appetite!