In Park City, movie stars intermingle with ski bums and hordes of people dip in and out of cocktail parties in various pop-ups on Main Street. I'd been there for days, and it was a blur of screenings and bashes, drawing tens of thousands of attendees from LA, New York, and elsewhere to this tiny mountain town. In other words, it was the perfect place for smug people to out-smug each other as they skipped from party to party. But lest the attendees forgot, actual movies premiere here — and some of these films feature deliciously devious characters that make cutting the cocktail line look like baking cookies. Let's take a look at the three baddest to show up on the screens in Park City.
Philip Seymour Hoffman — God's Pocket
When Philip Seymour Hoffman breaks bad, he's very, very bad. Think the manipulative cult leader in The Master, where Hoffman's character lures unwitting lost souls into believing in his fake religion. Or the callous Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Hoffman is just as devious in God's Pocket, the title of which refers to the tough neighborhood in South Philly where it's set. Mickey Scarpato is a drunk and a petty criminal who covers up the not-so-accidental death of his stepson. Naturally, things go awry. The film was directed by John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling on Mad Men, and his co-star Christina Hendricks appears as Hoffman's grieving wife.
Michael C. Hall — Cold in July
Michael C. Hall may have owned the character of serial killer Dexter on the Showtime series of the same name. But things have changed slightly. Now, he's playing a less-prolific murderer in Cold in July, which premiered here in Park City. His character, Richard Dane, shoots a burglar who enters his house, then has to deal with the wrath of the victim's father, an ex-con played with viciousness by the legendary Sam Shepard. None other than Don Johnson, Miami Vice's Crockett himself, rounds out the crew of actors in this thriller. He plays an investigator circling the two, and the tension continues to build until a spastic finale.
Ryan Reynolds — The Voices
Ryan Reynolds goes dark in his strange new film, The Voices. He plays Jerry, a man who kills his date in the middle of the woods, then seeks advice from his pets about what he should do. Yes, he talks to his pets — and they talk back. He needs a lot of advice, because despite being played by the affable, likeable Ryan Reynolds, Jerry can't stop killing women he dates. Maybe he should get some new talking animals — ones that inform him that mass murder is not the best hobby to list on an online dating profile.
Of course, the devilish behavior around here wasn't restricted to the silver screen. Behind every door on Main Street was an open bar, and behind every velvet rope a cadre of celebrities. Big-time producers and studio heads lingered in every corner, waiting to snatch up a movie for distribution. Everyone may have been in town for the festival, but when the sun goes down over the Rocky Mountains, everyone has a little license to be naughty.
Image by Michael Erazo-Kase