Sundance 2022 Log Day 4: (Brian and Charles, Cha Cha Real Smooth, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future)

Hey everyone! Yesterday was the 4th day of Sundance and it was also my birthday. As such I only saw 3 movies at Sundance because of family commitments. It was a mixed day of movies and I definitely have an unpopular opinion on one of them…If you are a seasoned Sundance attendee there is always a festival darling you don’t love like everyone else. It’s part of the Sundance experience.
Here we go!Brian and Charles
My favorite film of the day is the sweet little dramedy Brian and Charles. Director Jim Archer has taken his 2017 short film of the same name and expanded it to feature length. I haven’t seen the short but I would definitely be curious to do so after enjoying this longer version (a lot of Sundance movies I think would be better as shorts).
Brian and Charles tells the story of a man named Brian who in a fit of loneliness builds a 7ft robot to be his friend named Charles. The film is done in mockumentary style and the whole thing is just charming. There isn’t a ton of plot but the script is witty and David Earl is sweet as the robot-creator Brian.
If you like big-hearted films that will make you laugh Brian and Charles is a good one.
8 out of 10
Smile WorthyCha Cha Real Smooth
On the surface Cha Cha Real Smooth should be a movie I love. It’s a romance with attractive leads and a script that can be quite charming. The problem is it tries to be subversive of those tropes leaving me disappointed.
The positive of the film is Cooper Raiff as the 22 year old Andrew who is trying to figure out his life while working as a party starter for bat/bar mitzvahs. He seems to only be successful in starting one party and the rest of the time he fails at his job but it appears to be enough to keep him regularly employed. As I said, Raiff is charming in the role, and he captures the likable aimlessness of young John Cusack. I also enjoyed his interactions with young autistic teen Lola played by Vanessa Burghardt.
I wish the movie had been content to leave him as a friend with Lola’s Mom named Domino played by Dakota Johnson. Instead it flirts with romance but the 2 don’t have chemistry and as she’s engaged to another man it ends up feeling more awkward than swoonworthy. I won’t give away the ending but I found it unsatisfying. Other people seem to be enjoying it more than I did, but I felt the film was trying to convince me it was a happy ending when it was not especially for Domino.
I can see why Cha Cha Real Smooth is getting a lot of buzz for Raiff’s performance but the script let me down, so it’s a miss for me. Not horrible but in the end frustrating.
5 out of 10
Frown WorthyThe Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future-
Going into the festival The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future was one of my most anticipated. The story of magical realism intrigued me and it looked beautiful. Now having seen the film it’s another mixed bag for Sundance 2022.
What I liked about the film is the beautiful cinematography and music. Director Francisca Alegria does a good job creating a sense of time and place and immersing you in the experience. It is also creative and surprising.
Unfortunately the narrative takes forever to get going and the story is on the thin side. It seemed to take forever for the promised drama of a Mother returning from the swamps to materialize. Until then it was a lot of traveling and doing chores. I was just like ‘where’s the drama?’.
I think The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future is another example of a Sundance film that would have been better as a short. There’s just not enough story here for a feature film. Nevertheless, it is pretty so not devoid of merit.
5 out of 10
Frown Worthy
So there you have it. My thoughts on the 3 films I saw at Sundance on my birthday. I recommend checking out Brian and Charles. Let me know what you think!

4 thoughts on “Sundance 2022 Log Day 4: (Brian and Charles, Cha Cha Real Smooth, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future)

  1. A very happy (belated) birthday! I keep thinking one of these days I’ll go to one of these big film festivals, but I’m glad you can go and provide a vicarious visit. Hope to check some of these out when they get a release.

    1. Thank you! It’s definitely worth going to festivals. Find one that’s close to you and support it

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