movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

SUNDANCE 2006: little miss sunshine

The biggest story at Sundance this year was the sale of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE to Fox Searchlight for 10 million dollars. Every year there is a “big sale”. Last year it was HUSTLE & FLOW (9 million)… way back at my first trip to the festival (1999), the big sale was the little move that could(n’t) HAPPY TEXAS. It was also purchased for 10 million dollars. HAPPY TEXAS went on to gross a whopping total of 1.96 million dollars.

There is a reason for the comparisons… these are basically the same film. Both are cute well meaning comedies with heart. Both are “independent” films doing whatever they can to look and feel like a “studio” film. HAPPY TEXAS is a cute and underwhelming film and so is LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. There are some laughs in the movie and it does have a touching finale when the crazy family comes together and bonds (I don’t consider this giving anything away… this is an obvious conclusion from the first scene). There is nothing about this movie that makes me think it should be at Sundance though. LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE should have been picked up at a venue more like the AFM or another film market. It is not a “festival movie”. The only reason to play it at Sundance is to get more money for it. That is not what Sundance should be about.

On to the things that I liked about this “little” movie. The thing that could raise this one above HAPPY TEXAS is the performance from Steve Carell. I could almost hear the producers of this film cheer as Carell became an over night movie star this summer. He is great in this film and everyone loves him now. It was fun to see Carell play a character like Frank. He is a man who, after a failed suicide attempt, is forced to be around his sister and her crazy family… where he learns the value of life again (gag!). He is different in this film than he has been and he is the best part of it.

The other stand out of the movie was the role of grandpa (Alan Arkin). I love Arkin and he is great in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. A foul mouth, tells it how it is, heroin-injecting grandpa of a crazy family. Yes… I did say he is a heroin addict. It is funny. Arkin has the best role in the film and he hits it out of the park. He is funny and twisted, but you love him.

The directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, have been among the cream of the crop in the music video and commercial world for years. They are up there with Spike Jonze, David Fincher and Michael Bay. I just wish that they would have chosen a better and more challenging film as their feature debut. There is nothing impressive here and that is a shame. The good thing is… because of the sale of this film, they will have many other opportunities in the feature world.

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a fine movie. Funny in parts and touching in others. Over all… nothing special.


Anonymous Watch Little Miss Sunshine said...

Little Miss Sunshine is one rare film that would charm the hell out of an audience without the use of special effects..I can't wait to watch it again and can't highly recommend to anyone :-)

12:04 PM  

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