10 Movies I Want to See at Sundance

Five of which you can watch at home too.

10 Movies I Want to See at Sundance

The 40th iteration of the Sundance Film Festival begins today, and I am currently sitting in a rental ski condo in front of a rather feeble gas fireplace gearing up for my yearly week-long immersion in movies from around the planet, many of which will be coming to you later this year. Some of them you can watch in the comfort of your own home starting a week from today: Information on how to buy an online ticket is available at the festival’s website, and I’ve noted below which of my initial picks can be had digitally.

Following are ten of the many, many offerings I’m looking forward to this year; watch this space over the next six days for festival reports on the movies and events I do make it to. I’m usually able to catch about 25 of the 90 or so features on tap, and it’s always a merry dance between fear of missing the one movie everyone ends up talking about (like last year’s “Past Lives”) and delight in stumbling across unexpected treasures (like last year’s “A Little Prayer,” which should finally be coming to theaters in 2024).

Between The Temples– It wouldn’t be Sundance without at least one comedy of Jewish mortification. Jason Schwartzman plays a neurotic cantor whose newest bat mitzvah student is his former music teacher from grammar school. The latter is played by the great Carol Kane, almost 50 years out from her breakthrough performance as the immigrant wife in Joan Micklin Silver’s “Hester Street” (1975). Nathan Silver (no relation) writes and directs. (Available online)

Between the Temples

Love Me – The festival’s single strangest logline: “Long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love. Cast: Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun.” (Available online)

Love Me

Union– The tale of the struggle by Amazon workers in Staten Island, NY, to form a worker’s union against the express wishes of the richest man in the world, this documentary by Stephen Maing and Brett Story promises to be the rare non-fiction film this year with a happy ending. (Available online)


Girls State – I take that back: This documentary follow-up to 2020’s wonderful “Boys State,” about a week-long mock-government camp in Texas, may renew optimism for the future of this country. Filmmakers Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss return to train their cameras on the 2022 Missouri Girls State event in which high school participants build a government and try to make it work. Will we see a future President in the mix? One can hope.

Girls State

My Old Ass – There’s always a heaping handful of coming-of-age stories in Park City, but this one does sound unique: A high school senior (Maisy Stella) is visited during a mushroom trip by her future self (Aubrey Plaza), who warns her not to fall in love with a guy she’s just met. Megan Park (”The Fallout”) writes and directs.

My Old Ass

Rob Peace – Actor turned writer-director Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) brings to Sundance the true story of a brilliant Yale student (played by up-and-comer Jay Will) who was simultaneously earning six figures dealing weed. It’s a drama of double-consciousness adapted from Jay Hobbs’ best-seller, with singer Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”) as Peace’s mother. (Available online)

Rob Peace

Sasquatch Sunset – Another one of those movies whose catalogue description sounds too intriguingly bizarre to pass up. Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough play members of the last surviving family of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) in a loopy tragicomedy from brothers David and Nathan Zellner, whose “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter” remains lodged in the head of everyone who saw it (and who made a Bigfoot short a few years ago that’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.)

Sasquatch Sunset

Thelma – A comedy about an aging widow who sets out for revenge against the phone scammer who conned her out of money by pretending to be her grandson. A) Who amongst us hasn’t fantasized about dealing righteous vengeance on the creeps who prey on the elderly and gullible? B) 94-year-old June Squibb plays Thelma, and if she’s half as feisty as she was in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska,” we’re in for a treat. Directed by Josh Margolin. (Available online)


Will & Harper – An unscripted docu-comedy in which actor-comedian Will Ferrell goes on a cross-country road trip with his friend of 30 years, “Saturday Night Live” writer Harper Steele, in the wake of the latter’s coming out as a trans woman. As portraits of America in 2023 go, this may turn out to be one of the more truthful.

Will & Harper

I Saw the TV Glow – Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun took Sundance in 2021 by stealth with her eerie Internet horror story “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair,” and her follow-up, in which two teenagers (Justice Smith and Brigitte Lundy-Paine) become obsessed with a mysterious TV show, is one of the most anticipated titles at this year’s Sundance. No one may be better at digging out the anxieties behind our children’s digital culture than this filmmaker.

I Saw the TV Glow

Comments? Please don’t hesitate to weigh in.

If you enjoyed this edition of Ty Burr’s Watch List, feel free to pass it along to others.

If you’re not a paying subscriber and would like to sign up for additional postings and to join the discussions — or just help underwrite this enterprise, for which the author would be eternally grateful — here’s how.

You can give a paid Watch List gift subscription to your movie-mad friends —

Or refer friends to the Watch List and get credit for new subscribers. When you use the referral link below, or the “Share” button on any post, you'll:

  • Get a 1 month comp for 3 referrals
  • Get a 3 month comp for 5 referrals
  • Get a 6 month comp for 25 referrals. Simply send the link in a text, email, or share it on social media with friends.

There’s a leaderboard where you can track your shares. To learn more, check out Substack’s FAQ.