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SUNDANCE: Memento Man's top ten halfway mark, THE SLAUGHTER RULE and BARK!!!

Harry here with the latest report from Memento Man regarding his ribald days of debauchery in Park City, Utah... Home of Sundance. Well he had a fairly lackluster day of film, so he decided to retreat into the memory of days past to ponder the goodness upon which he dined. To give you a ranking of the latest dishes sampled in the frozen wastelands of SUNDANCE. And BARK sounds like an excellent stoned or drunk out of your skull flick with a line up of buddies and gals by your side in a similar condition. Or... it's just bad. We'll have to check it out. giggle.

Hey Harry!

I had a chance for a nap today so I'm in a much better mood as I'm writing this!

THE SLAUGHTER RULE

THE SLAUGHTER RULE was an OK film with a few very good moments, mostly involving Ryan Gosling, one of the legendary actors from last year's festival with his extraordinary performance in THE BELIEVER. Here Gosling plays Roy, a high school kid who accepts Gid's (David Morse) proposition to play quarterback on a six-player football team. Gid, then, is seen by the much younger Roy as everything from a coach, to a friend, to a father figure, to a frightening enigma. Yet the film suggests that there may be a chance for healing and understanding after all the fear, mistrust, and brutality of growing up.

BARK

BARK is a dog of a film. It made me want to howl in pain before it was over. (OK... this may be a little too easy. I'd better slow down before I start hounding you with bad puns.) But truly, this has to be one of the worst films of the festival. It starts with an interesting enough premise: Lucy thinks she's a dog and loves to bark, play with chew toys, and chew up paper with her mouth. Her husband, Peter, seeks out help for his wife--everybody from the vet (Lisa Kudrow) to a crazy mental-hospital worker (Vincent D'Onofrio) to a loser best friend (Hank Azaria) who all seem as crazy as Lucy the dog-woman. Yet everything about this film winds up going to the dogs: from the shredded mess of the script, to the fire-hydrant stiff acting, to the piss-on-the-carpet directing. Miss this film or you'll feel like you've ended up in the doghouse. This BARK really IS worse than its bite.

TOP 10 FILMS

OK, this may be a bit premature, but I want to give a preliminary "Best of Sundance" list for those folks who are just joining us at the festival. I'll give the complete list on Monday after I've finished seeing the 30-plus films I'll be screening during the ten days I'm here. For now, here are the best films I've seen at Sundance so far (in order of preference):

1. One Hour Photo

2. Tadpole

3. The Laramie Project

4. Pumpkin

5. Stolen Summer

6. 13 Conversations about One Thing

7. The Good Girl

8. The Dancer Upstairs

9. Coastlines

10. Ernest and Bertram (short film that runs before Pumpkin)

From Park City, Utah, this is John Malkovich's masseuse, Memento Man, signing off!

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 17, 2002, 8:41 a.m. CST

    PERSONAL VELOCITY

    by Viking

    Did no one see Personal Velocity? I've been checking this site out for days to get the scoop on this one. It stars Parker Posey and Fairuza Balk.

  • Jan. 17, 2002, 12:49 p.m. CST

    that's a bit harsh

    by whodat

    I saw bark last friday afternoon and have to say that as a simple fan of movies I really enjoyed the movie. In particular I thought Hank Azaria and Vincent D'Onofrio's characters were great and very entertaining. The one character I didn't care for terribly was Lisa Kudrow. She gave the same delivery that she does on every episode of friends. Maybe I liked it more than you since it was the first film i saw at the festival this year, and didn't have anything like one hour photo fresh in my mind to compare it to, but I think the beauty of the film festival is getting to experience different kinds of films that you won't see at the cineplex. Enjoy them for what they are. Even if the film didn't entirely work for you, I would hardly say that this one of the worst films at the festival.

  • Jan. 18, 2002, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Bark was good!

    by Sawce

    Hmmm. Bark is one of the best films I've seen this year. I thought the acting was great all around (ESPECIALLY Lisa Kudrow), and I really enjoyed the screenplay. It seems weird to me that Memento Man would hate it so much, but such is life.

  • Jan. 18, 2002, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Loved Bark!

    by Bettie

    I had to reply to this because "Bark" is one of the best films I've seen all year...funny, sad, quirky. What I like best was that it was about real love, not simple infatuation...which is what passes for love in most films these days. And there is a family scene that is so crazy and true that it broke my heart.