Festival

Sundance Film Festival

2012

The Top Two (And Only?) Fistfights of the Week

I’ve asked a lot of people this week—no, not anyone famous—their thoughts on this year’s festival, and nearly everyone has said that it’s been a quiet year: less marketers, less media, and less celeb-stalkers (though, according to festival director Geoffrey Gilmore, no fewer ticket buyers). The two main reasons for the relative calm? The recession and the inauguration, they say.

The Park City Police Department hasn’t been busy either. This is Chief Wade Carpenter’s first experience with Sundance, but he said, “From what my command staff is telling me, it’s a lot quieter than typical this time of year.” A few disorderly conducts, sure, but not even one DUI, he added, and there’s only been one assault charge filed during Sundance. Just as you might expect, it resulted from a fight between a local and a visitor, and it’s our Second-best Fight of the Week:

A married couple from L.A. was walking by the Egyptian Theatre when they came across two local men lying on the ground—presumably blocking the path. The couple and the locals did that “exchanging words” thing, which, I think, means Mr. L.A. rightly informed the two men of their idiocy, and they, in turn, decided to disprove Mr. L.A.—by pummeling him. For the record, I completely made that part up, but Carpenter did tell me that the two locals confronted the woman—real class acts, these guys—prompting the husband to step in. Well, mathematics were not in this guy’s favor. One of the suspects knocked him down, and then pinned him down, while his buddy kicked him in the face. Police caught one of the suspects, while the other is on the lamb in, I don’t know, Ogden? My favorite line from a Park Record article about the incident: “…the police are investigating whether the attackers were drinking alcohol beforehand.” Uh, ya think?

That fight isn’t particularly funny. Nothing ha-ha about “serious facial injuries.” But this one, our Best Fight of the Week, has been making the internet rounds:

Variety critic John Anderson had just finished watching DIRT! THE MOVIE at the Holiday Village theater and was walking toward the Yarrow for breakfast when the movie’s rep, Jeff Dowd (an imposing man best known as the inspiration for LEBOWSKI’s The Dude), pestered Anderson for his opinion of the film. Anderson let Dowd make his case, but once they arrived at the restaurant he told Dowd that their conversation was over. According to Chief Carpenter, Dowd wouldn’t listen and continued to plead his case, prompting Anderson to tell him he didn’t like the film. More specifically, writes Variety’s Anne Thompson in this detailed account, Anderson called the film “poor, too simplistic, too redundant.” That should’ve sufficed, but it didn’t. Dowd kept at it—remind me again how this relentless guy resembles The Dude?—and eventually Anderson became fed up enough to punch Dowd in the face. Carpenter, who described the fight as a “disorderly conduct on both sides,” said Dowd didn’t have any marks on his face. In the end, The Dude abided (sorry, I had to) and chose not to file charges.

But it kind of makes you want to see DIRT! THE MOVIE, doesn’t it?

(Click here for some context on pushy publicists by Variety‘s Mike Jones.)

* * *

Finally, here are four precious incident reports from the Record’s police blotter, quoted verbatim:

—On Sunday, Jan. 18, at 7:37 p.m., the police received a complaint that a driver picked up a person described as a “disgruntled volunteer.” The person was not wearing a coat, the police were told. Officers were asked to look for a silver-colored pickup truck.

—At 2:04 p.m., a man dressed in a bunny suit was spotted selling something. Public police logs do not provide details about what the person was reportedly selling. Similar gimmicks occur occasionally during film festival week.

—Someone complained to the police at 1:50 p.m. about a person who was getting in and out of a monster truck on the 300 block of Main Street.

—On Sunday, Jan. 18, the police received a complaint that Paris Hilton and the CEO of MySpace were sucking face on the dance floor at the Tao nightclub near the Town Lift. An officer investigated the incident but concluded that while the couple had been publicly indecent, they had not actually committed public indecency.

Okay, so maybe I got that last one from somewhere else.