michael showalter

… in which our intrepid California-bred Senior Film Reviewer defies an epic winter storm and a fierce chest cold to bring you highlights from this year’s famous Park City fest.

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival ended last Saturday evening after ten days of showcasing over 200 films from around the globe; you can see all the winners here.

For the third year in a row, Spinning Platters was on the (snow-covered) ground trying to take in as many movies as our limited time and budget would allow. And so we bring you the first of our posts spotlighting the 17 films we managed to squeeze in to just over five days.

Many of these may receive distribution deals (if they haven’t already), so you can know what to watch for in the coming year with these handy capsule reviews, which use our patented Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide:

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May-December romance story is a terrific showcase for Field

Longtime BFFs Roz (Tyne Daly, l.) and Doris (Sally Field) attend a self-help seminar given by Willy Williams (Peter Gallagher).

The problem with a film like Hello, My Name is Doris, which features an eccentric character in a broadly comic situation, is that if not handled well, it runs the risk of making fun of both its central character and the situation in which it places her. Fortunately, writer/director Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter) avoids this trap by bringing sensitivity and graceful humor to the story of an older woman falling for a younger man, and, by doing so, provides Sally Field, as the titular Doris, with her best role in years. [read the whole post]

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How can you not enjoy these two? (Photo thanks to Tommy Lau.)

Okay, it’s taken me almost a week and I still haven’t been able to decide: do I want to call Sally Field “radiant,” or is “luminous” the right word? I swear, that’s a big part of the reason it’s taken me five days to publish my review. (It also doesn’t help that I’ve been as lazy as my crazed-grad-school lifestyle will allow…) And here I am, I still haven’t decided. Suffice it to say, Ms. Field is all that and more. Anyway, so when SF Sketchfest announced this year’s schedule, I immediately zeroed in on this chance to attend the tribute to Sally Field and screening of her quirky new comedy, Hello, My Name is Doris last Friday night at the amazing Alamo Drafthouse. (Bonus: the Q&A after the film also featured the film’s director/co-writer, Michael Showalter!) [read the whole post]

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wainydays

I will fully admit to the fact that I had never seen Wainy Days prior to this evening at Marines’ Memorial Theater. The reason I went to this performance was because the cast bridged my favorite TV show when I was 12, The State, and my favorite TV show now, at the age of 35, Parks & Recreation. It’s silly that I’ve never seen it, as I think David Wain is one of the greatest comic minds of our generation. So, I knew I was in for a surprise or two.

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True Tales Boldy Told

 

Real talk everyone: I was only at the Brava Theater to see You’re Whole. While I’m a fan of storytelling in general, and while I’d heard of State alum Kevin Allison’s well regarded podcast, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Even though the big draw for the night was Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter’s pitch-perfect late-night informercial parody, I was delighted by the raw looks into the real lives of some talented comedians.

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Florence Henderson in a sleeping in a nighty, while a dog eats pizza. Just one of the many things you will see live on stage at this year's Sketchfest.

Florence Henderson in a sleeping in a nighty, while a dog eats pizza. Just one of the many things you will see live on stage at this year’s Sketchfest.

Wouldn’t it be great if cloning was already a thing? So we could be at 8 places at once and not have to decide which Sketchfest events you are going to? Well, until science improves greatly, we are stuck with one body and being in one place at a time. Because of this trouble, I have taken the time to dissect the entire Sketchfest schedule and help you out by highlighting the best of the fest. A complete schedule and tickets can be purchased here. A lot of shows have already sold out, and more shows are selling out every day, so don’t forget to purchase in advance!

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A Nerd’s Guide To SF Sketchfest 2013

January 21, 2013

Spinning Platters loves Sketchfest. San Franciscans are generally really lucky, but for two and a half weeks every year, our lives get even brighter and more chaotic, because the best live comedy programming one could imagine is here, in the greatest place on Earth. Of course, it can be awfully intimidating. Hence this guide, to help you […]

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Sketchfest Review: Stella at Mezzanine, 1/21/12

January 30, 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3NIA4BZ-T8″

Spinning Platters’ writers Christopher Rogers and Dakin Hardwick both got to enjoy a performance by Stella: Michael Ian Black, David Wain, and Michael Showalter‘s nightclub show. Instead of boring you with a typical “review” of the show, Spinning Platters is opening the fourth wall, and allowing you into the personal lives of these two legendary […]

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Sketchfest Review: Pretty Good Friends at Cobb’s Comedy Club, 1/20/12

January 22, 2012

Eugene Mirman’s show Pretty Good Friends turned out to be a great start to my SF Sketchfest experience, in spite of the grim start to the evening.  At 10:20 it was pouring rain and the line to get in to Cobb’s Comedy Club was around the block.  I was umbrella-less, water dripping off my nose and […]

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A Nerd’s Guide To SF Sketchfest 2012

January 16, 2012

For 11 years, San Francisco has had the opportunity to witness the best in comedy. And, for the third straight year, we’ve helped you dig through the 500,000,000 amazing shows to find the best shows for only the nerdiest of San Franciscans. And, since I am a man of exquisite taste, you will trust my […]

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