Sundance 2007 | 01.28, 1 p.m.


I can now tell people that I have seen a film with MC Hammer.




Well, it's the last day of the festival. I found out just minutes before starting this final entry that if I had flown out tomorrow instead of today (which I couldn't have done due to obligations back home, but still…), I probably could have pulled off seeing both Rocket Science (which won the award for directing in a dramatic film last night, so it rescreened today) and The Ten (which didn't win anything (it wasn't eligible to), but was just scheduled to play today anyway). Those are probably the two movies I'm the most sorry to have missed while I was here, and would have put me at 45, breaking my Sundance record. Oh, well. Maybe next year.

Speaking of the awards, they give out a ton of them, but the big winner was Grace Is Gone, which won the Audience Award for Dramatic Feature as well as the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, which, like the Academy's Best Original Screenplay Oscar, often goes to films I particularly like. With Grace Is Gone and Rocket Science both pulling major awards, the last-minute rescreenings of each for the press seem awfully calculated (although the two biggest documentary winners, Hear & Now and Manda Bala, weren't rescreened, so I don't know how valid my theory is).

Last night I saw Sk8 Life, which is pretty much how it sounds—it's more or less a skater demo tape, but instead of being straight-out demos, it is held together by a marginal plot (the tape has to make enough money to save the skaters' favorite crash pad!) and bad acting. Still, I'm always entertained watching people hurt themselves, so I didn't have too bad a time at Sk8 Life, which had tons of footage of skaters doing face plants and whatnot.

My final movie of the festival was Finishing the Game, Justin Lin's (Better Luck Tomorrow) fictional account of trying to find a replacement Bruce Lee after he died partway through making Game of Death (if you're unclear, the setup actually happened, but the events of the film did not). I wanted to see the movie because the premise is cool and also because it had James Franco in it, but what I didn't know was that Franco really only has a cameo, more or less. As for the rest of the film, it isn't torture, but it isn't that great, either (like Better Luck Tomorrow was, in other words). At least it was better than 3 Fast 3 Furious, which Lin also directed.

The fact that Finishing the Game was unexceptional does not mean that it was an unworthy final film, though. Unlike all of the public screenings I went to (with the exception of Smiley Face), Finishing the Game had almost all of its cast and crew there for a Q&A afterward, and among the people in the cast is… MC Hammer. So, I can now tell people that I have seen a film with Hammer. And so ends Sundance 2007. | Pete Timmermann

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