Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jason goes to Cinequest--Encore Day

Partied until 6:30 am on Saturday night (it was so wild, I have no idea what happened between 2 and 3 am*) And I was up and in the VIP Lounge by 11 for a breakfast beer--because I'm a bad-ass (or is that dumb-ass?)

First up was TANGO ABRAZOS, a Slovenian romantic comedy about tango, friendship, more-than-friendship, and infidelity. Or rather, it's about fidelity, with the threat of infidelity. Two couple, both long-established and committed to each other, enroll in tango classes. At first both the men are hesitant but go along to humor their wives. But the tango is "a horizontal thought, expressed vertically" and when in a class exercise they switch partners they both find they dance better with the other partner. And that leads to a closer friendship between the two couples, and that leads to...well, I don't want to give anything away, but it leads to at least a constant threat of cheating, and a lot of insecurity on behalf of both couples. A funny, endearing movie.

Oh yeah, between movies the street in front of the California was filled with food trucks (at least until 3 pm or so.) I grabbed a bite to eat at Grilled Cheese Bandits. I recommend the Jesse James.

Next up I saw ONE SMALL HITCH, because apparently I was in a romantic comedy mood (seriously, WTF did I take last night?) The setup seems like it should be as formulaic as it is contrived--Josh and Molly (who are friends from childhood) fake their engagement to please his father who is dying of cancer. Wacky hijinks ensue as they try to keep up the charade while actually falling for each other and eventually deciding to get married for real (I don't think that's a spoiler because it's really the only way such a movie can end.) Here's the thing--sometimes, when it's done well, the formula actually works. And here you've got charming and appealing leads (Shane McRae and Aubrey Dollar) and a great supporting cast that really pull it all off easily (throw in his Jewish family vs. her Irish Catholic family and let the comedy play out.) Shane plays Josh as a 'player' but with an evident tender, caring, and generous side that he for some reason reserves only for his non-romantic friends, like Molly. Aubrey plays Molly as a girl who has been hurt by creepy boyfriends in the past and is just on the borderline of hopelessly cynical, but can actually be her goofy, teasing self with Josh. And that's really the thesis of the movie, that true love exists when you can be yourself with someone. And maybe it's better to find the someone you can be yourself with and then work on the romance rather than find an immediate romantic connection and hope that being yourself eventually becomes part of the deal.

In other words, it offers hope to the hopelessly "friend-zoned." If only I had called it "false hope" I would have that cynicism I'm used to.

Then back to the lounge to meet a friend who missed all of the festival except Encore Day, have a few more drinks, and then watch WAMPLER'S ASCENT. I hereby declare that the labels "disabled" and "able-bodied" be struck from the lexicon. At least in comparing anyone to Steve Wampler. Here's a guy who suffers from cerebral palsy, but still climbed Yosemite's El Capitan using a special rig in which he's strapped into a chair and each pull-up he does brings him up 2-6 inches. So for the better part of a week, his daily job was to do on the order of 1,000 pull-ups. I don't think my never-stricken-with-a-horrible-disease body has done 1,000 pull-ups in its entire existence! So I can't used "able-bodied" to describe myself and "disabled" to describe him. Instead I will describe myself as "lazy-slug-who-is-so-afraid-of-heights-he-probably-would-have-shit-his-pants-the-first-time-he-looked-down-if-he-was-in-good-enough-shape-to-even-start-the-ascent-in-the-first-place-bodied" and Wampler shall be described as "Bad-ass-hero-bodied." Oh, and he did it all to raise money for his foundation, which he started to give similarly afflicted children the same outdoors experience he had as a kid (he had previously raised money to buy the camp he had gone to when it went out of business.) Oh, and the movie--well besides the inspirational story, besides his loving wife and adorable children, and besides the good cause, it's also got some breathtaking nature views from up on the wall. Especially the moments where Steve is dangling away from the wall in his rig. I'm not kidding when I say I have a bit of acrophobia. I know for a fact that if I were in that situation I would be shitting myself.

And then a couple more drinks, including a Manhattan at the Fairmont Hotel bar, I ended the night with my favorite, LOVELESS ZORITSA. I had other choices, including films I had missed, but I just wanted to end with my favorite, and it was excellent and held up to multiple viewings. 

And then it was barely 8:30, so I went home early, read the Bible a little bit, had a warm glass of milk, and went straight to bed. Just kidding! I and a few friends went to Original Joe's for some drinks and food. Christina and Goran from LOVELESS ZORITSA were among them. And before I knew it, it was somewhere past 11:00 pm. Not quite the same as partying into the wee hours of the morning, but I did have to go to work the next day.

And that's how Cinequest 2012 ended. Then I had 3 days to rest up, write these reviews and start again with CAAMFest (starts tomorrow!)

Total Running Time: 359 minutes
My Total Minutes: 321,006

*That's a Daylight Savings Time joke.
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