The sad true story behind the horror sensation Skinamarink; meet the NC-17 whisperer who saved Infinity Pool from an R rating; congratulations to the Slamdance winners. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Skinamarink: You’ve likely heard about the success of the lo-fi horror film, told from the perspective of a 4-year-old whose father disappears, leaving him and his sister alone in a hellish house. But I was surprised to learn the story of tragic loss during the making of the film: Assistant director Josh Bookhalter died unexpectedly after shooting, leaving Skinamarink director Kyle Edward Ball in grief — and without crucial parts of the film. He tells his story to Joshua Encinias here.
Slamdance Winners: Congratulations to Linh Tran, whose film Waiting for the Light to Change won the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at Slamdance. The Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award went to Starring Jerry as Himself, directed by Law Chen. The Breakouts Feature Grand Jury Prize went to The Underbug, directed by Shujaat Saudagar, and the Episodes Grand Jury Prize went to Palookaville, directed by Theodore Collatos. The Unstoppable Grand Jury Prize went to Millstone, directed by Peter Hoffman Kimball. The AGBO Fellowship, which include $25,000 and mentorship from Slamdance veterans Joe and Anthony Russo, went to Tij D’Oyen, director of the short film “Lollygag.” Ethan Eng, who received the award last year for his film Therapy Dogs and was a jury this year, was on hand to present the award. The full list of winners is here.
The Last of Us: Did everyone watch last night’s phenomenal episode of the zombie apocalypse show? It told a breathtaking standalone story of unlikely love between a survivalist and survivor. (They’re played by the always good Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, fast becoming one of my favorite actors between White Lotus and Welcome to Chippendales and this.) The episode, entitled “Long Long Time,” stands beautifully on its own even if you never watch another episode of the series. But I think it would be hard to watch this one and not become invested.
Also This Weekend: Did anyone catch Michael B. Jordan, star of our latest cover story, hosting Saturday Night Live? He was very funny. Here we go:
“No, What Night Is It On?” Is what a kid in my Algebra II class said many years ago when someone asked him if he’d seen Saturday Night Live. At the time I thought he was very dumb but now I think he was pulling off a pretty masterful deadpan for a 15-year-old, and applaud him. Also he got an A in Algebra II and I had to repeat it so I think it’s very possible he was smarter than me.
The NC-17 Whisperer: The next time someone says “Hollywood isn’t that weird,” direct them to this New York Times story about how the new Brandon Cronenberg film Infinity Pool ended up cutting about five seconds from the NC-17 version shown at Sundance to earn a more palatable rating. The film’s distributor, Neon, enlisted a consultant, Ethan Noble, “who specializes in helping films escape unwanted ratings and in guiding them through the formal appeal process,” the Times explained. Among the offending scenes was a close-up of a man doing pretty much the main thing you can’t show a man doing.
Skinamarinkydinkydoo-: Not cool how the movie has ruined this cute song for everybody.
Main image: Mia Goth in Infinity Pool.