A user asked on Quora, “What’s it like to watch a character based on you or someone you know in a film?” I’ve always wondered about this and unsurprisingly, this question went mildly viral. Thomas Goodwin answered with seemingly direct knowledge of this experience. He wrote, “My wife is the delightful lead character and I’m the bad guy in the film LIKE CRAZY.” As soon as I read that I totally went “OMG” because this is just like that one episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted takes a date to a movie, written by his ex-fiance’s husband, which he discovers is about their relationship with Ted cast as a huge jerk who drove his ex-fiance into the loving arms of her now husband.
Appropriately for a movie about a long distance relationship, LIKE CRAZY has come a long way since its Park City debut almost one year ago. It was acquired by Paramount Pictures as “the first big sale” of last year’s Sundance Film Festival, then went on to receive the fest’s Grand Jury Prize from a group that included filmmakers Jason Reitman and Kimberly Peirce. After Sundance, it hit the festival circuit, playing Toronto, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Savannah, and Stockholm, then opened in limited release last fall. In ten weeks, without ever playing on more than 150 screens, it’s already recouped most of the reported $4 million Paramount paid to acquire the film. All in all, that’s, like, crazy. (An obvious joke, but I promise that’s the only time in this post I’ll make it. Maybe. I still have a few paragraphs to go.)
Director Drake Doremus accepts the Grand Jury Prize: U. S. Dramatic for ‘Like Crazy’ at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards Night Ceremony at Basin Recreation Field House on January 29, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images)
And the winner is… Drake Doremus’ LIKE CRAZY, which was just awarded the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s awards ceremony.
The film arrived at Sundance with tremendous buzz—Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan was particularly laudatory—and went on to be rapturously received. It was quickly picked up for distribution by Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush for $4 million, a sale that kicked off a week-long flurry of deals and acquisitions, the likes of which haven’t been seen in Park City since the 1990’s.
Along the way, there were other films that captured audiences’ hearts—MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE; HIGHER GROUND; THE GUARD—but LIKE CRAZY, which stars up-and-comers Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as college students in Los Angeles whose romance is interrupted by the INS (Jones plays a Brit who overstays her visa), was a persistent favorite throughout the week, thus its win is not much of a surprise.
Sometimes, love is all you need.
“Watching two movies in a row in which adolescent girls cut their bodies with a razor was a reminder of all the dark places the Sundance Film Festival takes you,” writes Ruthe Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle. “This time there were movies featuring drug addicts, abusive cults, a drunken driver who wipes out a family and Saddam Hussein’s sadistic son.”
Stein says she found “a welcome reprieve” from all that in three festival movies about love: Drake Doremus’ LIKE CRAZY, Braden King’s HERE and Miranda July’s THE FUTURE.
By Sunday morning, with the snow taking a break and the sun shining, the deal-making aspect of Sundance finally kicked into high gear. Woohoo!
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions announced that they’d closed a deal for MARGIN CALL, the Kevin Spacey financial thriller that excited early interest from buyers and is considered one of the more broad-reaching films here.
In what Entertainment Weekly is calling “the first big sale” at the Sundance Film Festival, Drake Doremus’s LIKE CRAZY got snatched up by Paramount Pictures on Saturday night following “an all-night bidding session.” The film, a long-distance love story starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones, from the director who brought the very different film DOUCHEBAG…