Sundance 2011: Liking 'Like Crazy' like crazy, and buying 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold'

Like-Crazy-Yelchin-Jones_320.jpg  Image Credit: image.netMy colleague Anthony Breznican already filled you in on the rapturous audience response to Like Crazy. Count me among the enraptured. There’s a lovely, hard-to-achieve naturalism to this happy/sad story of Jacob the American (Anton Yelchin) and Anna the Brit (Felicity Jones), who meet at college in L.A. while Anna is a visiting student. The two shimmer with transparent radiance as they  fall in love — a glow supplied in equal measure by the gorgeous, open performances of the leads and the fine control with which director/co-writer Drake Doremus dramatizes Jacob and Anna’s big romance. Young love has rarely been so palpable or looked so real. No (500) Days of Summer-y narrative tricks obscure the deepening of such heady passion.

Doremus is equally honest about the big forces outside the couple’s control. The trouble in paradise begins when Anna returns to her family in London after graduation and visa problems keep her there. And enlightened, no doubt, by what Doremus has learned from his own long-term, long-distance relationship, the filmmaker is particularly attentive to the million little frustrations that can nibble away at even the most heartfelt of commitments. Like Crazy reminds a receptive audience that young love is real and thrilling. And that, despite the best of intentions, real damage may be done by time, distance, the erosion of trust, and simply the way life goes on — and there’s no magic solution to make everything better. Still, the movie declares, isn’t thrilling young love worth it? No wonder we swoon.

Greatest-Movie-Morgan-SpurlockSubstitute loud guffawing for teary swooning and you’ve got the scene over at the premiere of The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. The newest comic-doc performance piece from, and starring, Morgan “Super Size Me” Spurlock goes mega-meta: Spurlock’s rowdy, harmlessly toothless “expose” of how advertising, branding, product placement, marketing, and other corporate mind games intrude into our daily lives is itself funded by sponsors. Indeed, they’re the very sponsors Spurlock pursues on camera in the course of  making his movie about making a movie about intrusive product placement and corporate sponsorship. The genial extrovert briefly asks himself (for our benefit, on camera) whether, in staging these shenanigans, he is himself selling out. Or is he buying in? Naturally, he doesn’t stand still long enough to supply a serious answer; go to some other guy if you want that kind of stuff. But he does make an ingenious, devilishly entertaining, superficially informative show-and-tell, complete with amusing, truthy commercials for some of his sponsors inserted into his movie about inserting commercial material into movies.

It’s worth noting that Spurlock, at this point a Sundance celebrity, made only one whisper of a joke about all the corporate sponsorship that goes into the funding of an enterprise as big as the Sundance Film Festival. (Full disclosure: Entertainment Weekly is a presenting Sundance sponsor.)

Comments (8 total) Add your comment
  • Clayton

    Nice write-up, though you swapped Like Crazy for Crazy Love in the second paragraph. Hopefully Like Crazy doesn’t involve any persistent stalkers.

  • Daphne

    Maybe so Jon, but Michael Moore (whom I despise just as an aside) looks like he could pound down a few Big Macs without barfing out the side of his window LOL

    • LOL

      Why despise a great American like Michael Moore? We need more like him.

    • Dean

      Why would you despise Michael Moore? He’s passionate about the truth, fairness and the success of this country. It’s OK to disagree with some of his policies, but he’s a great human being. You need a metaphorical slap in the face to help you re-prioritize how you judge people…

      • rex

        If anyone needs a slap in the face, it’s you, Dean.

  • Terry

    Amazing music by Dustin O’Halloran in “Like Crazy” wraps the emotion in meaningful way.

  • viviennewestwood

    Thanks for interesting blog post. You guys are always provide information that it makes it impossible not to want to buy your next product ;I cant wait to see what you guys come up with based on all your research and data that you gather.

  • CJ

    Well considering that the term “harmlessly toothless” is used as a descripter, I would say these two aren’t even in the same league. Of course Moore is more political, just take a look at his body of work. I would say that Moore sets out to be very political in his movies, by design.

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