Every year, hundreds of film industry types take over Park City, Utah during the Sundance film festival looking for the next, great indie film, and emerge, slick with overhype carrying What Just Happened?. And every year, well every year since last year, I read the Sundance film guide to try and figure out what makes Sundance movies so Sundancery—and to get a hit of some of the best negative energy available, of course.
Is Sundance an attitude? A certain slumpy posture? Is it spores of quirkiness flitting about every frame? Is it the "raw" performances that are just so totally "raw"?
Simply put: is the Sundance-iness of Sundance movies something important and intangible that can’t possibly be described with words, or could any movie sound like a Sundance movie on paper?
After reading all of the descriptions for the movies screening at this year's festival, I've once again isolated a few key words and phrases that make Sundance movies sound like Sundance movies, and seamlessly worked those Sundance-ifiers into the Yahoo Movies plot summary of the least indie movie I could find: the upcoming kids n’ canines movie, Hotel For Dogs (a movie that stars Don Cheadle, thus fulfilling his mission to star in both Hotel Rwanda and its complete movie hotel opposite). The result? A deft exploration of love and family and depression and dogs so profound it’s like putting your heart in an incubator made of celluloid.
Below, you'll find a full description of the movie, Sundance-ified:
Hotel For Dogs (U.S.A.)
When their new guardians, preoccupied by sex, drugs, and new wave…Los Angeles in the early 1980s, forbid 16-year old Andi and her younger brother Bruce to have a pet, Andi has to use her quick wit to help find a new home for their dog, Friday— all against the paranoid backdrop of a Lyme disease outbreak. It is an elegy of our time.
Crosscutting between multiple subplots, the resourceful kids, now rendered soulless, with no choice but to follow the trail back to bleak St. Petersburg, stumble upon an abandoned hotel. Using Bruce's talents as a post-9/11 mechanical genius, they transform it into a magical dog-paradise for Friday—where his “hotel room” becomes an incubator for his art, which is violence—and eventually for all Friday's friends, featuring a riveting performance by the gifted Ashley Judd.
When barking dogs make the neighbors suspicious, Andi and Bruce contemplate love with no beginning and no end, and use every invention they have to avoid anyone discovering "who let the dogs in," in this wickedly gory, yet somehow delightful, tale of Nazi zombie terror.
If only there were a special jury prize for best use of “Who Let The Dogs Out.”