This is the first of our daily updates from EW reporters attending the Sundance Film Festival.
The opening night of Sundance is always a zoo. Most people have barely dusted themselves off from the flight into Salt Lake (followed by a 40-minute van ride into Park City) before rushing off to Eccles Center Theater to brave a sea of North Face jackets and woolen hats and scarves, all elbowing their way inside to score that elusive good seat. Dawdle just a second too long and you, my friend, will be stuck in the nose-bleed section.
This year’s crowd braved the cold — and at 22 degrees with a fresh coat of powdery snow, it was nippy — to attend the premiere of Nicole Holofcener’s Friends With Money, a witty, affectionate meditation on four Los Angeles women (from left to right, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, and Frances McDormand [not pictured]) figuring out what the hell life’s about. Sundance vet Holofcener (she’s shown almost all of her movies here, including 1996’s fantastic Walking and Talking, also with Keener) was clearly tickled to be honored with opening night, grinning as she hopped up on stage after the credits rolled to field questions from the audience.
As the director worked the microphoned podium, eight members of the cast, including all four female leads, sat in a row at the edge of the stage, enduring an endless stream of pop-pop-popping! flashbulbs. When one moviegoer asked Aniston (who was seated next to Keener, with whom she whispered and giggled, and on whose knee she rested a sisterly hand) why she chose this project, the actress replied: “You saw the movie. Plus,” she added, gesturing to her costars and Holofcener, “all these people.” (Awwww.) Save for a lighthearted disagreement between Cusack and Keener about the meaning of money in the film — it’s a metaphor for centered-ness! said Cusack; it’s no metaphor, it’s just money! countered Keener — as well as one clueless man’s inquiry into Holofcener’s hostile attitudes toward men (um, dude? wake up!), the premiere was pretty ho-hum: No celebrity feathers were ruffled, no lines were crossed.
Because here at Sundance, serious film lovers don’t give a hoot about the whole Brangelina pregnancy thing.