NYLON’s executive editor Ashley Baker is reporting live from Park City, Utah. From 9am screenings to meals comprised solely of popcorn, it’s a hard job but someone has to do it. Here’s what went down on day one:
I arrived in Park City only yesterday due to a top-secret project for NYLON’s March issue. The beauty of tardiness: I’ve read the early reviews, and adjusted my schedule accordingly. After depositing my luggage at the embarrassingly luxe Washington School House in the middle of town, I hopped on the shuttle to Sundance HQ (at a nearby Marriott), grabbed my press pass, made a drive-by at a Fresh luncheon for Very Good Girls (hosted by Lizzie Olsen and Dakota Fanning), talked cookies and Tracy Anderson with Jenny Lewis, and hightailed it to my first screening, The Way Way Back. “It’s all downhill from here,” the guy in an adjacent seat proclaimed after the final credits.
The Sundance set is predicting summer classic status for this film, the brainchild of actors and screenwriters Jim Rash and Nat Fraxon. Liam James, in a breakout role, plays the depressive Ducan, whose newly-divorced mom (Toni Colette) has taken up with an obvious jerk Trent, an ultra-tan and macho Steve Carrell) just in time for summer. Along with Trent’s teen-queen daughter, the group heads to his beach house somewhere on Long Island. The adults act like kids, their kids cringe accordingly. The ending is borderline pat, but the great performances from James and AnnaSophia Robb (along with an ensemble cast including Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney) make The Way, Way Back the sort of feel-good movie we’ll be watching every year.
After inhaling a turkey sandwich while waiting in line at Eccles, Park City’s largest screening venue in the town’s high school, I caught the world premiere of A.C.O.D, the debut feature from first-time filmmaker Stu Zicherman. It follows Carter (the Everyman-ish Adam Scott) as he attempts to make piece with himself and his family as, yes, an “adult child of divorce.” The cast–Jessica Alba, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Clark Duke, and Amy Poehler–was out in full force. Sharply written and well-paced, it’s a smart, funny comedy layered over some painfully poignant truths about the messiness of divorce.
Unbelievably, I returned to my hotel and was still wanting to park myself in front of a screen, so I caught up on Nashville (thanks, ABC’s iPad app!) after finishing some work. Day two: it is ON. ASHLEY BAKER