Sundance: Lessons From Entourage

I wrote a book, Salvation Boulevard.

Cathy Schulman, the Oscar winning producer of Crash, optioned it for Mandalay.

Cathy gave it to George Ratliff, the fine young director of Joshua and Hellhouse.

George wrote a script with Doug Max Stone.

It was good enough to get Pierce Brosnan to play the charismatic mega-church preacher.

Then they got Greg Kinnear (Oscar nominee), Jennifer Connelly (Oscar winner), Marissa Tomei (Oscar winner), Ed Harris (four-time Oscar nominee, and deserving of at least one), Ciarin Hinds (Caesar in HBO's Rome), and, at the last minute, Isabelle Fuhrman.

It also has Jim Gaffigan. When I told my 19-year-old son about the cast it was only after I mentioned Gaffigan that he said, "Props, dad!" Pierce Brosnan had the same experience with his kids.

Somewhere in there, Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright), also signed on as a producer.

The film got shot. It got cut. It got selected for Sundance.

It premieres Monday, January 24th.

All I know about Sundance I got from watching HBO's Entourage.

For those who don't know, Entourage is about a young guy -- like Mark Wahlberg, who created it -- who goes to Hollywood to be a star. He brings two friends and his brother, Johnny Drama, a struggling TV actor, with him from Queens, New York. They all go to the Sundance Film Festival which takes place primarily in Park City, a ski town, with two more ski areas on its flanks, Deer Valley and The Canyons.

They decide to go skiing. They start ragging on Johnny Drama, "What do you know about skiing?" Johnny says, in his blustering way, "I've skied Hunter Mountain, and if you can ski Hunter Mountain, you can ski anywhere!"

I am a Hunter Mountain ski instructor (two days a week -- usually Tuesdays and Fridays if you want drop by.) My daughter, Ana, started working in the ski school this year. My son, James, taught snowboarding there for a season. The above is, naturally, our favorite line in all of television history.

Originally, I was going out for ten days, my wife coming for two or three days, my daughter, maybe, and my son would maybe come up from Boulder, where he's in college.

As it turns out, my wife, Gil, Ana, and Ana's friend Trevor are all coming with me for the whole ten days. I have my skis, Ana has her snowblades, Trevor has his snowboard, and I can't wait for the moment when we get to the top of one of the peaks, look down and cry, in unison, "If you can ski Hunter Mountain you can ski anywhere!"

Oh, yeah, there are movies, too.

The first up, at midnight tonight, Friday, January 21st, is the documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel.

It was produced by Stone Douglass. Stone started in the business as a grip. Which I did (key grip on Lords of Flatbush --look it up). Then he made money in a start-up. He has the option on The Librarian, another of my books. He loves to ski. He is also a mensch. Or if you prefer Italian to Yiddish, a stand-up guy.

As it happens, my wife was in a Corman film, Rock'n'Roll High, as Angel Dust, the Ramones' #1 groupie.

I told Stone. He invited us to the pre-movie dinner with Roger Corman, to the premiere, and to the after movie party, starting at 1:30 AM. We left home at 5 AM this morning to get on a flight from Newburgh to Atlanta to Salt Lake. There's a two hour time zone shift. I normally pass out two minutes after the The Daily Show, so starting to party at 3:30 AM, my body's time, is going to be interesting.

On Saturday, I have a 9 AM screening of The Last Mountain. That's serious stuff, about mountain top removal to strip mine coal. The sort of thing I want to report on for Huffington Post.

This has been the set-up. To let you know who I am, and where I'm coming from. My first Sundance blog of many, hurriedly hashed out in Atlanta airport.

The others will be a mix of political and social significance -- presuming the films I see have political and social significance -- celebrity gossip, and ski reports.