Tag Archives: movies

The Season for Sundance

First Stop

First Stop

I had a phone call last fall from a good friend, Sue Martin, an excellent artist from Salt Lake City.  I had been down with a shoulder injury, not writing, not painting and trying to endure the usual Timber Valley cabin fever.  All she had to say was “It’s time for us to go to Sundance again.” I didn’t even have to think. I got a plane ticket to Salt Lake, bought a furry warm coat for Park City and left for the Sundance Film Festival 2013.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah

Wow.  I am one of the world’s greatest film lovers.  I can say this with certainty. I remember coming out of the first movie I ever saw “on my own”.  I had seen “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” at the old Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. When I came out of the theater still lost in make-believe and the magic of film I was convinced that EVERYONE was one of the “pod people” I’d seen in the movie.  I ran home a little scared but so happy and amazed that I could become almost part of the story I’d seen.  I loved the feeling of being somewhere else. Movies have everything that can pull me out of myself and into other worlds.

So I’m just back from Sundance.  Sue and I had a great time fitting in nine movies, lots of galleries, great food while fighting a weather inversion that left Salt Lake in cold icy smog.  But up at Park City, high in the mountains, we were above the bad air and into the snow and sun.  Beautiful landscapes, beautiful people and a world that was full of the excitement of directors, writers, actors and movie lovers.  I LOVED it. Sue and I had made lists of the movies we wanted to see.  After comparing them we picked ten that we both agreed on.  We saw two premieres.


Alexander Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard

“The East” was one of my favorites starring Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard (of True Blood fame).  Eco-terrorism, elite operatives and Alexander Skarsgard made for a tense few hours of great film.  “The Way Way Back” with Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell was a twist on the “coming of age” story that made you laugh and cry at the same time.  One of the “Spotlight” films we saw was a British dark dark comedy called “Sightseers”.  About two lovers, running away from a horrible mother take a “caravan” (travel trailer) around England.  Things happen.  That’s all I can say. “Cutie and the Boxer” was a movie about art…but more about relationships.  The two artists from the film were there to answer questions after.  They also did a demonstration of their art after the film near the theatre. Zachary Heinzerling, director, won the Directing award for U.S. Documentary in the 2013 Sundance Awards.

I was in heaven at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake.

Line at the Tower

Line at the Tower

“The Whole World is Wild at Heart and Weird on Top.”

                    —David Lynch

I was back in Timber Valley for a week when Ron and I went to see “Django Unchained”, last year’s Quentin Tarantino movie.  It was a kind of spaghetti western/Civil Rights movie so well directed by Tarantino that we were both excited and impressed.  This movie was powerful and unflinching in showing slavery and bigotry in a way we’ve never been able to read or hear about.  Sometimes darkly humorous sometimes violent, it made me proud of Tarantino for being brave enough to approach the subject so directly and unflinchingly.  Movies have power.  Art has power. Don’t ever stop making movies Quentin.

If you haven’t seen the old 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning” with Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe about the slaying of three civil-rights workers in 1964 you need to stream it or rent it before seeing “Django”.

I also discovered an exciting gallery in Park City called Coda Gallery. www.codagallery.com  I saw some great paintings but fell in love with the work of John Erickson.  Page Juliano was nice enough to take time to show me some of his other work. I also liked the work of Kim Brown, a ceramic sculptor showing at the gallery. I was impressed.  Coda has beautiful work, a perfect setting and a great person to show you the art.  It also has a nice balance of painting, sculpture, color with a touch of humor that will keep me coming back.


"Breey Day" by Jerry Fenter

“Breey Day” by Jerry Fenter


Did you like Beyonce’s Zumba Workout at the Super Bowl?  How about those Ravens?

Remember the stock market is up, the country is in recovery, Obama is president, maybe Hillary Clinton will run in four years.  Be optimistic.  Buy art!!

Mexico, The Jerry Awards and Barbie Dolls

It’s getting very close to our week long workshop in Mexico.  I am so excited I can hardly sit still.  Melaque is so beautiful, I have a wonderful collage of people in my class, and everything points to one of the best weeks I’ve ever had.  I’m madly re-reading all of my Magical Realism literature and spent time on E-Bay getting some DVD’s to take to La Paloma and share with the class.  This year I’m bringing Love in the Time of Cholera, starring the handsome Javier Bardem and based on the wonderful book of the same name by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Everything is Illuminated, starring Elijah Wood and based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, and last but not least Pan’s Labyrinth, a movie that will shock us and make us more fully understand magical and grotesque realism.  I also always bring Y Tu Mama Tambien starring Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna…”Wildly erotic,” commented Rolling Stone Magazine on this movie.  The actors in this movie actually stayed at La Paloma while filming in the area so it’s fun for Nancy Lennie and I to share stories with the class. (Those guys are as hot as the Mexican sun!)  So I’m ready.  Anyone interested in holding a place in next year’s class please contact me by e-mail at fenter@gorge.net and I’ll put you on the exclusive list! 

Speaking of movies, the awards season now has passed.  The Hurt Locker took best picture at the Academy Awards.  My friend Bill was devastated by the loss of James Cameron’s Avatar.  Both he and I loved the message in the movie and of course the special effects.  So I started thinking.  We live so far up in the woods I don’t get to see all of the Academy Award films until they come out on Net Flix so….get ready for it…here are a few winners I’ve chosen from movies I’ve seen on Net Flix during the last year.  Announcing THE JERRY AWARDS.

Best Film: Riding in Cars With Boys.  Made in 2001 and Based on the autobiography by Beverly Donofrio, directed by Penny Marshall, (Laverne) and starring Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn and James wood, this is my favorite movie that I saw on my big flat screen (47″) this year.  Every time I watch this movie I cry for at least an hour afterwards.  It’s about a hesitant teen aged mom, who is very smart, but not smart enough to not get caught up in the moment and get pregnant.  She has plans.  Her plans change.  The story is sweet, sad and true.  Drew Barrymore is excellent in this role, as good as she was in Fifty First Dates.  Steve Zahn (who I’ve never noticed in any other movie or TV show) plays the teen aged husband, who attempts to do what’s right but just can’t seem to make things work.  His heroin addiction might have played a part in this.  His performance is award level!  What a ride.

Another of my “best” awards goes to The Invention of Lying starring my favorite comic of all time, Ricky Gervais.  He was the person responsible for The Office,  British style.  I won’t be a spoiler and tell you the plot but it is a funny movie. 

I also have some favorite TV shows that I try to catch each week.  Here are some of the winners. Breaking Bad will start it’s new season soon.  I miss Mad Men like crazy.  I will watch any of the three Law and Orders at any time during the day or night.  I especially like Law and Order Criminal Intent.  By the end of the day Ron and I are pretty tired of thinking so we also really enjoy The New Adventures of Old Christine, Medium and Two and a Half Men. I think Charlie Sheen is wonderful and I love his retro shirts. Pure eye candy.  I’ve just started watching American Pickers and Pawn Stars.  Great shows that involve finding and selling old junk and antiques.  Collecting is in my genes.  It’s so much fun to see some of the odd things that people value and carefully collect.  I can totally understand where they are coming from. 

Oh, we finally got a “new” car!  Ray Schultens Motors in the Dalles pulled through for us and found us our perfect car.  It’s a 2005 Ford Explorer, white, Eddie Bauer Edition, with four wheel drive and a moon-roof!  Austin Woolsey was our salesperson.  He was very good to us.  He used to be the chef at the Baldwin Saloon in The Dalles.  I would recommend him to anyone in this area looking for cars.  After selling us the car he’s off to Disneyland with his five kids for a vacation.  I think we wore him out. Photos of our new car (possibly named Eddie) will come soon.

I’m going to talk about the new “Mad Men” Barbie dolls in my next post.  I only wish they had the cigarettes and booze as accessories!  Unfortunately the designers of the dolls thought that these additions would be inappropriate.  But I remember the 60’s in suburbia…barbecues, parties, booze and cigarettes kept my parents busy while the kids played and got radical ideas about “free love” and “the war in Vietnam”.