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My Favorite Films of Sundance 2017

Sundance 2017 has come to a close for one of our writers. Here are some of the best films Dylan Griffin had the pleasure of seeing.

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It feels premature to even write this, as the festival is still going for a few more days, but I was only able to get time off for half of it, so that’s that. But first, one of the sad truths about film festivals is that you’re not going to see everything you want. When you choose to see one film, you’re also choosing to not see like seven other films. So, with that in mind, here are some entries I hate myself for not seeing.

The Discovery

Due to the high demand of everyone wanting to see this, I wasn’t able to get in on the waitlist. I still refuse to watch the trailer, as if there’s one thing I learned from the terrific The One I Love, it’s that I want to know as little as possible when walking into a Charlie McDowell film. Not a huge sting, and it will be streaming it in a few months, but one of the downsides of Netflix is their tendency not to distribute their own films in theaters. So, I’ll be missing out on the chance to watch The Discovery on the big screen, which, you know, is kind of the point. I hate myself for not seeing this film.

A Ghost Story

Here’s a list of things I love:

  • David Lowery
  • Casey Affleck (performances by) 
  • Rooney Mara
  • Pie
  • This still
  • A24 films

Wow, this film has all of those things! I hate myself for not seeing this film.

Now onto some films I actually saw, and really liked (review links are in the titles)

 

I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore

Me neither, movie title. Me neither. (Also I got to shake Macon Blair’s hand and thank him for what he does, and he’s a super nice and chill guy.)

Mudbound

This was one of those films I walked into without much to go on. I’d heard Dee Rees’ name a bunch in film circles, and it had a cast I liked, but I was already really tired, and the prospect of sitting another two hours just didn’t feel that great right then. I was wrong. This is a long-ass movie, but it’s gripping for nearly every second. Dee Rees crafts a classic southern epic that is as massive as it is intimate. I’m actually very surprised it hasn’t been picked up yet. Also, I’m buying up premium stocks in Garrett Hedlund as he becomes our next Nic Cage. You heard it here first.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is a pulse-pounding documentary that knows how urgent and prescient to our times it is without ever having to say it. Expanding on the fateful day in Oklahoma, it shows how Ruby Ridge and Waco, in addition to a resurgence in white supremacists, influenced Timothy McVeigh. We’re in a similar resurgence of Nazi and anti-government sentiment, and now they have the White House. I had to take some anxiety medication just to go to sleep.

Killing Ground

Perhaps one of the reasons I liked this so much is that I wasn’t even planning on seeing it originally. I was leaning towards trying to get into another film at the same time as this one, but after having a conversation in line with somebody about our mutual admiration of Australian cinema, it just seemed like I had to go see this one; it just wouldn’t have felt right otherwise. Killing Ground adds to the reasons why I’m never going to Australia. It’s a terrifying, brutal film that actually rises above its gratuitous trappings to serve as a sobering comment on violence in film. 

Dylan Moses Griffin has been a cinephile for as long as he can remember. His favorite film is Taxi Driver, and he reads the works of Roger Ebert like it’s scripture. If you want, he will talk to you for 30 minutes about how chronologically weird the Fast and Furious franchise is.

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