Downhill

One of my big disappointments with the Sundance Film Festival was that I didn’t get to see Downhill with Julia Loius-Dreyfus and Will Farrell. I tried to get tickets every time it played but never was able to.

I finally saw the film on DVD and was quite disappointed. In spite of four star actors, It isn’t half as interesting Force Majuer, the Swedish film that Downhill is based on. While Downhill has a few changes so much of it follows the path of the original. The opening scenes, the eerie music, most of the plot are the same, but not carried off as well.

Downhill and Force Majuere show what happens to a married couple on a ski holiday with their two children when while eating lunch on a chalet deck, an avalanche erupts and heads towards the restaurant. Rather than protecting his family, Will Ferrell’s character Peter grabs his phone and runs to save his own hide. Luckily, the avalanche falls short of actually hitting the restaurant, but it is a close call. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Billie is completely shocked that her husband left the family to fend for themselves.

While the family had some minor fissures before, now Billie and Pete are at different poles. Billie waits for Pete to make a profound apology, but none comes. I guess he’s hoping that time will heal her wound. Fat chance. Billie finally erupts when she finds Pete lied about how Zach Pete’s younger colleague shows up at the same resort with his footloose and fancy free, hashtag loving girlfriend. Billie is furious to learn that Pete lied. It was his idea that Zach turn up. A huge argument ensues, but doesn’t help matters as Pete still asserts that Billie’s wrong about the avalanche.

Like the Swedish film, Downhill’s Billie’s distrust and disrespect for Pete snowballs. Some secondary characters appear as goofy, comic relief, but they aren’t that funny or well drawn. The two sons have little personality and spend much of their time watching movies while the parents go out for dinner and argue. These children were pawns in a weak story. I’d hoped for a lot more. I did enjoy the original and do like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but can’t recommend Downhill.

Chase Sapphire on Main Street

Sundance Film Festival 2020

After my long day shifts at Sundance, I had some days off (and nights on) when I could explore Park City’s Main Street where lots of the festival festivities are held. Without a doubt Chase Sapphire’s space with it’s sophisticated hygge vibe is my favorite. It’s got locked cubbies where you can charge your phone or tablet, panels with filmmakers in the basement. Midday there’s free tea, hot chocolate and appetizers. At 3:00pm there’s a whiskey tasting. It’s a great place to recharge or chat with fellow festival goers.

I got to see two film panels when filmmakers discuss their work. On Monday I heard the cast of Downhill starring Julia Louis Dreyfus and Will Farrell and Tuesday I heard the cast of Charm City Kings, a flick set in Baltimore that focuses on a teen who’s an expert in dirt bike racing.

I also loved the food and drinks offered each day and the opportunity to chat with other festival goers.