Sundance: My Thoughts On Stanley Tucci's Blind Date

Note: I'm not calling this a review, because truth is, I only saw the first 33 minutes of this movie.

Last year at Sundance I was kinda taken by Steve Buscemi's Interview, the first of a series of American remakes of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh's work. Theo, the great-great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, brother of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh, was killed by a Muslim extremist a few years ago in response to one of his controversial films. Beyond that and Interview last year, I don't know much about Theo van Gogh, although I have planned to seek out his work. Directed by and starring Steve Buscemi, Interview was for the most part a one-location dialogue-heavy film featuring two actors. Blind Date is not much different. Instead of an apartment we have a bar, instead of a movie star we have a magician.

The film also features a director who also appears as the male lead, Stanley Tucci, opposite Patricia Clarkson, as a married couple who are struggling to reconnect after the death of their daughter. They pretend to go on a series of blind dates. I'm also a big fan of minimalist films like Hard Candy, so it came as such a surprise that I just couldn't get into this film. I was bored. The whole thing seemed so theatrical (in the off-broadway sense), and was completely devoid of cinematic drama. After the first fifteen minutes went by, members of the press started to leave the theater like a flock of birds. I decided to leave around the 35 minute mark, which is a really tough decision, because that's almost the half way mark (the film is only 80 minutes, although my 33 minutes felt like 100) and I usually like to see a return on my time investment. But I've been so busy at this year's festival and there is just no time to finish a movie like this.

I have only walked out of five movies in my life, and four of them have been during my five-years at Sundance.  Idon't mean to say that Sundance movies are bad, as for the most part the level of film at the festival far succeeds the selection at your normal multiplex. The fact of the matter is, there are so many great movies playing at this festival, and time is limited. If I'm watching a horrible movie at my local AMC, I'm far more likely to stay until the credits hit, just to see the conclusion. At Sundance, there are always 5 other (in this case probably better) movies you could be watching.