Yesterday, the Sundance Film Festival announced its out-of-competition lineup, which included a lot of hype, a lot of all-star actors and a whole lot of James Franco. In his never-ending, Zelda-esque quest to become Supreme Lord of the Film Festival, James Franco is actually involved in two out-of-competition and rather NSFW films at the festival. One of the “Park City at Midnight” films is kink, a documentary about the employees of the adult website Kink.com, for which Franco worked with regular collaborator Christina Voros (Voros makes her directorial debut; Franco is signed on as a producer).
For the experimental “New Frontier” section of the festival, Franco has offered Interior. Leather Bar., which he both appears in and co-directs with Travis Mathews, who also wrote the film. In it, the directors attempt to recreate the lost gay S&M footage taken out of the 1980 film Cruising, removed to keep the film from garnering an “X” rating. I mean, it’s really only a matter of time before James Franco tries to curate his own festival of all movies involving James Franco as the star or director or EP or maybe he tries to write the soundtrack did you know he plays music now that’s a thing? Maybe he’ll come to the premieres in character. Maybe he’ll start his own filmmaking academy. Maybe eventually our national obsession with James Franco being involved in so many activities will finally come to rest, and we can all be at peace with our accomplishments. That would be nice.
But this isn’t an all-James Franco festival, because that would be boring. There are actually a lot of other talented people who have movies not in the competition. There are other documentaries, even! Including Sarah Polley’s festival-favorite Super 8-laced family tale Stories We Tell and Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers, a rather-relevant profile of members of the Israeli secret service. There’s S-VHS, the sequel to the acclaimed found-footage horror flick V/H/S, which will likely get a lot of play. There’s No, Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín’s look at the later years of Augusto Pinochet, a Cannes favorite featuring Gael García Bernal; Jeff Nichols’ Mud, your classic man-on-the-run-gets-help-from-teenagers story featuring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. The multimedia art installations from the likes of lyrical Twitterati Yung Jake and interactive light-and-sound master Rafael Lozano-Hemmer also sound pretty intriguing. Let’s see you try to do something like that, Franco.
But perhaps the most exciting batch of films are in the “Park City at Midnight” section, which includes S-VHS and kink, as well as a film involving a recently-released prisoner on the road back to family and to his new life that is even called The Rambler, a road-trip horror film, a movie about a cannibal family and Virtually Heroes, which sounds like an alternate-universe Wreck-It Ralph in which “two self-aware characters in a Call of Duty-style video game struggle with their screwy, frustrating existence.” Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon’s demon-house comedy Hell Baby, featuring a whole lot of funny people (Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Leslie Bibb, Rob Corddry) and road-trip comedy Ass Backwards, co-starring and co-authored by June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson (and featuring Alicia Silverstone!), round out the lineup.