Top 22 Films I Want to See at Sundanceby keithsim | created - 11 Jan 2017 | updated - 11 months ago | Public
There are so many more films that need to be seen in Park City than the 22 listed here. For starters the quality work of first and second time directors is hard to divine out of the sheer mass of movies unspooling over the 10-ish days at Sundance. So my list will start with these 20 and Sundance, as always, will surprise me with the rest. - Keith Simanton
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1. Mudbound (2017)
R | 134 min | Drama, War
Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
It's an immensely talented cast (Mulligan, Hedlund, Banks, Clark) but it's writer/director Dee Rees that peaks my interest here. She directed the criminally under-rated, under-viewed Pariah, which opened Sundance in 2011 to acclaim (also ending up as my #7 film for that year) but never, sadly, went anywhere after that. But that film was five years ahead of the culture. Here's hoping Mudbound's timing is impeccable.
2. Walking Out (2017)
PG-13 | 95 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery
An urban teenager journeys to Montana to hunt big game with his estranged father. Father and son struggle to connect, until a brutal encounter in the heart of the wilderness changes everything.
Votes: 3,207 | Gross: $0.10M
One of my cherished memories of Sundance was watching Andrew and Alex Smith's 2002 film The Slaughter Rule. The screening was in a freezing cold body shop/garage (now a yoga studio named, appropriately, The Shop). I was one of six people in the screening including jury member Patricia Arquette who at the time, as I recall, smoked these terrible smelling cigarillos. Regardless the movie was a haunting evocation of a small town's desperation of the kind that I had not seen since The Last Picture Show. It also starred this kid named Ryan Gosling. Glad to see these brothers are back.
3. The Discovery (I) (2017)
TV-MA | 102 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
Two years after the afterlife is scientifically proven, a man attempts to help a young woman break away from her dark past.
Charlie McDowell directed the great The One I Love, which had its debut in Sundance in 2014 and ended up on my Top 20 list for that year. He's working again with his One I Love screenwriter, Jon Lader, and having the guy who started the festival as one of your co-stars can't hurt either. PS: And yes, Charlie is the son of Malcolm McDowell. If this hits, however, future generations might refer to Malcolm as Charlie's father.
4. Buena Vista Social Club: Adios (2017)
PG | 110 min | Documentary
Revisit with the remaining original members of the Buena Vista Social Club and explore their contribution to the unknown history of Cuba.
Votes: 158 | Gross: $0.12M
If you had the good fortune or sense to catch Wim Wenders's 1999 film, the Oscar-nominated The Buena Vista Social Club, then you have to be as excited as I am that the brilliant, Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker has shot this follow-up. Last year Walker created a VR short called A History of Cuban Dance that I had a chance to experience. If Adios is even a fraction as good as that short then this will be a memorable experience.
5. Wind River (2017)
R | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.
Votes: 119,232 | Gross: $33.80M
Does the plot sound a bit wheezy? Try this tired concept: Two brothers turn bank robbers are tracked by an ornery Texas Ranger. Yep, that's Sheridan-penned Hell or High Water. How about this: An FBI agent faces the shades of gray of the drug wars with amoral DEA agents? Yep, that's Sheridan-penned Sicario. Now, it's true that Sheridan didn't direct those films, that was David Mackenzie and Denis Villeneuve, respectively, but Sheridan has earned a sight-unseen must-spot on my list, and probably will for some years to come.
6. Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (2017)
TV-14 | 95 min | Documentary
The trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media pitted privacy rights against freedom of the press, and raised important questions about how big money can silence media. This film is an ... See full summary »
7. Newness (2017)
112 min | Drama, Romance
In contemporary Los Angeles, two millennials navigating a social media-driven hookup culture begin a relationship that pushes both emotional and physical boundaries.
Sure the plot sounds very Drake Doremus-y (Like Crazy) and he is working with his frequent collaborator, screenwriter Ben York Jones. But that's all for the good. This director has been building, film by film, an approach to storytelling that is more and more assured using the simplest and most human of scenarios. Breathe In (a Sundance premier in 2013) was a lovely exploration of temptation and morals and should have been seen by a wider audience. Also, Hoult's co-star, Courtney Eaton has so far been used as background hotness, for a good-bad movie, Gods of Egypt and a great movie, Fury Road. Will be interesting to see how she does with something quieter.
8. Brigsby Bear (2017)
PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Drama
Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children's TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James's life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story ... See full summary »
Votes: 9,696 | Gross: $0.53M
9. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
R | 132 min | Drama, Romance
In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.
Votes: 100,097 | Gross: $18.08M
10. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. (2017)
TV-MA | 93 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.
If you've seen director Jeremy Saulnier's pretty marvelous films, Green Room, or Blue Ruin, or Murder Party, then you've definitely see the director of this film, Macon Blair. He's the heartbreaking lead in Blue Ruin, gets a werewolf mask melted onto his face in Murder Party and plays an unctuous lackey in Green Room. All the evidence points to a pretty steadfast collaboration between Saulnier and Blair, so it's safe to assume that some of the goodness from those films came from Blair. We'll find out in this his directorial debut.
11. A Ghost Story (2017)
R | 92 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.
Votes: 33,807 | Gross: $1.60M
12. The Hero (I) (2017)
R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
An ailing movie star comes to terms with his past and mortality.
Votes: 5,302 | Gross: $4.08M
Co-writer/director Brett Haley also directed 2015's I'll See You in My Dreams which stirred up a lot of Oscar talk for Blythe Danner. That nomination ultimately never came to pass but is there anyone I'd like to see get some recognition than the great Sam Elliott? Never mind The Big Lebowski he deserved recognition for his supporting role in another Sundance premiere, 2015's Grandma.
13. Ingrid Goes West (2017)
R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama
An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.
Votes: 18,986 | Gross: $3.02M
14. Landline (I) (2017)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama
In 1995, a teenager living with her sister and parents in Manhattan discovers that her father is having an affair.
Votes: 2,645 | Gross: $0.94M
15. The Polka King (2017)
TV-14 | 95 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
Local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan develops a plan to get rich that shocks his fans and lands him in jail.
16. Rebel in the Rye (2017)
PG-13 | 106 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, "The Catcher in the Rye".
Votes: 3,715 | Gross: $0.38M
17. Red Dog: True Blue (2016)
88 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
An iconic Australian story of family, friendship and adventure, between a young boy and a scrappy one-of-a-kind dog that would grow up to become an Australian legend.
Hmmm...sounds super family-friendly. What's the catch? Does the dog attack a small child? Does the family get lost in the Outback and have to resort to cannibalism? I know, I know! The dog gets divorced and discovers a community in the quirky characters of his New York brownstone. No??? How did this film get programmed in Sundance?
18. 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017)
Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary
Votes: 1,331 | Gross: $0.04M
19. Thoroughbreds (2017)
R | 92 min | Drama, Thriller
Two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost.
Votes: 3,798 | Gross: $2.83M
20. To the Bone (I) (2017)
TV-MA | 107 min | Drama
A young woman, dealing with anorexia, meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.
21. Wilson (I) (2017)
R | 94 min | Comedy, Drama
A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.
Votes: 7,358 | Gross: $0.65M
22. The Yellow Birds (2017)
R | 110 min | Drama, War
Two young soldiers, Bartle (21) and Murph (18) navigate the terrors of the Iraq war under the command of the older, troubled Sergeant Sterling. All the while, Bartle is tortured by a promise he made to Murph's mother before their deployment.