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Sundancing - Day 1 (part deux)

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At long last, another Sundance update. The wireless internet access went out in our house, so we've been able to drop in here and there in order to check our emails, but had not been too successful in posting our latest installment. Fear not, we're back.

We made it swiftly into Off the Black starring Nick Nolte as a down-on-his-luck (recognize a trend here? We can't remember the last time Nolte played an "up with people" person. But if you're really good at something, stick with it) high school baseball umpire who crosses paths with a young pitcher who has problems of his own. Nolte becomes the father the teen never had, while the teen in turn becomes the son that Nolte lost touch with long ago. Nolte really shines in this role, and the teen (Trevor Morgan) is good as well, managing to hold his own against Nolte, which must be daunting. That voice alone could make you stay in the trailer. It's a melancholy film at times, but it stays true to itself. Nolte had a good point during the Q&A that the multiplex was invented to allow diversity at the theater, but "something went haywire" and now it only serves to release more and more big budget disasters from the studios. Big Momma's House 2, anyone?

Several beers later (a delicious Autumn Bock served at the Wasatch Brew Pub on Main Street, which is quickly becoming one of our favorite hangouts) we went to the Slamdance Festival to see the premiere of Larry Clark's film Wassup Rockers. After seeing Kids, we were braced for a visual assault on all the senses, but this is a very much toned-down film from Clark. A group of Latino (El Savadorans and one Guatemalan) skateboard kids from South Central head to Beverly Hills and get into all sorts of trouble. The film has trouble deciding if it's a mockumentary, a comedy, or a social commentary, and gets a bit lost along the way. However he does get some amazing performances from the teens (and they do all manage to stay clothed), and shows the isolation of a fairly neglected group amongst the often black and white world of racism.

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After that, we finally made it back to the house, frozen, eyes glazed over, and dead tired. We decided to get up early on Saturday to hit the box office and try and score tickets for the holes in our schedule, so we ran to bed and forced ourselves to sleep. Stay tuned for Day 2 and Day 3, of which Day 3 includes a very hot Katie Holmes news tidbit.