Sundance Film Festival

A night with BROOKLYN’S FINEST, sort of

Brooklyn's Finest
Richard Gere in Brooklyn’s Finest

Getting to, and into, the BROOKLYN’S FINEST premiere last night was an even bigger ordeal than I’d expected. My boss and I left the office at the bottom of Main Street at 5:45 p.m., giving us a half-hour to make it to the Eccles Theatre. Cutting it a little close, yes, but not an egregious risk.

Except that we forgot to consider that Friday is the first full day of Sundance, and that we were taking a city bus, at rush hour, at the end of the workweek. I’ve been coming to Park City to ski since I was a kid, so I still forget how the L.A. crowd somehow manages to bring their traffic jams to this usually uncongested town.

The bus took 15 or 20 minutes to go the equivalent of three football fields. And did I mention that it was as full a Park City bus as I’d ever seen? For a moment I thought I was on the NYC subway. Or maybe that was because I heard people speaking French, Portuguese, and Spanish (both Mexican and Chilean—the former most likely workers, the latter vacationers). This warmed my heart, if briefly, as I can remember when the sight of a non-white person in Park City was news. The Sundance Film Festival, either directly or indirectly, brings crowds, rudeness, and rampant development, but it has also introduced diversity to this town (and some good films and millions of dollars in revenue, of course).

So. We arrived at the screening five minutes late, and at the exact same time as 50 Cent and his entourage. Which was unfortunate because the gatewatchers shut down entry even to those, like us, who had tickets—to allow 50 Cent to slip into the theater unmolested. My boss, a normally temperate guy, mustered enough indignation to get us past the first gate. Inside, though, there was yet another line of ticketholders about eight people deep. “Everyone’s got a story,” someone muttered behind me as my boss pleaded his case.

Apparently, our story was better. We got the last two seats: front row, far right—soooo far right that all the actors’ faces were distorted (except, somehow, that of Shannon Kane, who plays Richard Gere’s girlfriend/prostitute in the film).

Which brings me to BROOKLYN’S FINEST after-party at the Greenhouse at Sky Lodge—not the part about the prostitute, but about Shannon Kane. She was there when I arrived at around 11 p.m. with my brother (yes, she was just as stunning in person as on film—albeit with more clothes on) and we also spotted JUNO director Jason Reitman rocking out to Guitar Hero near the entrance. But the film’s male stars and supposed party hosts—Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere and Wesley Snipes—were nowhere in sight. Maybe they had already come and left. If so, I wouldn’t blame them: The Greenhouse was not a spacious, glass-enclosed space but a cramped lounge with a small corner roped off for VIP’s. The only thing visibly green about it was the lighting.

At midnight, my brother said, “We haven’t been bumped in minutes.” It was true—the place had thinned out considerably, and there hadn’t been a long line in the first place. “You also know it’s dead,” he added, “when you see older people dancing.”

We decided to check out the PUSH after-party at Phoenix on Main Street, but the line was around the corner and I didn’t have the will to imitate my boss at the Eccles. I was glad I didn’t, because as we walked down the alley and peered through Phoenix’ windows it became apparent that the line was just for show: The club was half-empty.