YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Five Sundance characters you won't see anywhere else (fortunately)

January 28, 2013|By Steven Zeitchik
  • College-bound Dakota Fanning and ice-cream vendor Boyd Holbrook in 'Very Good Girls'
College-bound Dakota Fanning and ice-cream vendor Boyd Holbrook in 'Very… (Sundance Film Festival )

The Sundance Film Festival has given us some great characters over the years. A nerdy, catchphrase-using Idahoan who wanted us to vote for Pedro. A pie-making waitress with a thing for Andy Griffith. A suicidal Proust scholar who didn't mind pushing a VW van every once in a while.

But for all the lovable, and believable, quirky characters on Sundance screens — and there are many — there are plenty that seem forced, self-consciously idiosyncratic types we wouldn’t see in real life (or, for that matter, on other movie screens). With the 2013 festival now behind us and many of the movies set to roll out in the coming months, here’s a crop of characters that deserve a spot on the only-in-Sundance wall.

The-Staten-Island-born-ice-cream-vendor-who-lives-on-the-couch-of-a-famous-photographer-while-quoting-Sylvia-Plath-to-woo-the-ladies.  It's possible that in the several hundred-year history of Staten Island there was once a hunk who sold Chipwiches for a living and liked to read morose poetry in his spare time. But we doubt it. Unless, of course, you’re in the land of “Very Good Girls,” where just such a soulful Mimbo has both Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen wrapped around his finger thanks to that rare combination of literary aptitude and dairy know-how.

FULL COVERAGE: Sundance Film Festival 2013

The-often-naked-South-American-road-tripper-who-is-inexplicably-drawn-to-George-Michael-Bluth.  We’ve never taken a road trip in Chile. It sounds like a fun thing to do. If we did,  we would now expect to run in to a hippie with an aversion to clothing and razors but an affinity for dropping New Age crystals in strangers’ drinks — that is, when she’s not drawing in her sketchbook, overcoming a childhood sexual trauma or showing Michael Cera the true meaning of life. It happens in “Crystal Fairy,” anyway.

The-concussed-suburbanite-turned-Sapphic-escort.  Most people who get plunked in the head with a softball end up in the emergency room, maybe with some painkillers and a small bump to show for it. The heroine of Stacie Passon’s “Concussion” has something more consequential happen to her after such a mishap: a career in lesbian prostitution. If the movie catches on, expect many frat boys in coed softball games to start developing accuracy problems.

The-lonely-Silver-Lake-housewife-married-to-an-app-company-founder-who-decides-to-take-in-a stripper-as-her-nanny-to alleviate-her-pain. Like you don’t know one.

The-precocious-teenager-living-under-the-thumb-of-oppressive-but-wryly-comedic-father-who-chooses-to-enact-Thoreau-like-fantasies-while-secretly-shopping-at-Boston-Market-and-pretending-he-hunted-the-chickens. Yes, this really happened. Then again, the man responsible for it, “Toy’s House” helmer Jordan Vogt-Roberts, is prone to wearing a full-length fur coat in perfectly temperate rooms.


Sundance 2013: In 'The East,' political questions in thriller packaging

Sundance 2013: Female directors discuss the challenges they face

Sundance 2013: In Egypt doc 'The Square,' a new kind of muckraking

Follow me on Twitter at


Sundance video guide

VIDEO: A video guide to Sundance 2013

Films in competition

PHOTOS: Dramas in competition

Films for sale

PHOTOS: Films for sale

Los Angeles Times Articles