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Sundance: New Blight

POSTED:

At last night's screening of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh I ran into a new phenom that beats cell phones for a blight on Sundance. Sitting in the back row of the theater, I watched row after row light up with the glow from the audience Blackberries. It was like a planetarium in there, and a total distraction from the action on screen. I'll give you that the movie isn't very good--there were at least a dozen walkouts. Director-screenwriter Rawson Marshall Thurber seemed to miss all that was nuanced in Michael Chabon's debut novel of family and sexual confusion. But that doesn't excuse the shitty manners. Some of these clowns were messaging each other--the new way of talking at the movies. I kept wishing Rip Torn's coach from Thurber's much better movie Dodgeball had shown up to throw wrenches at them.

Good news later about Ballast, one of the best movies in the competition. First-time director-writer Lance Hammer is a name to remember.

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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