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This year’s Sundance lineup indulges in Nick Jonas (and Obama romance)


It’s Sundance season once again, that special time of year when Hollywood’s best and brightest load up their skis and head to Park City, Utah, for a week of vacationing, networking, and occasionally actually seeing a movie or two. In preparations for the festival’s January 21, 2016, debut, the Sundance Institute has released its initial lists of the films in contention, alongside the entries in its non-competitive NEXT exhibition.

The 65 films in question make up the usual mixed bag of unknowns and established filmmakers from both the U.S. and abroad, with names like Mad Mens Elisabeth Moss, Octavia Spencer, and Thomas Middleditch from Silicon Valley all appearing on the roster. Moss and Spencer appear together (along with Narcos star Boyd Holbrook) in The Free World, which follows a young man attempting to adjust to regular life after serving time in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, while Middleditch is starring in Jeff Baena’s Joshy, with a cast of comedy regulars like Adam Pally, Nick Kroll, and Jenny Slate.


Other films seem to be banking more on the novelty factor to stand out, including Goat, which stars Nick Jonas (of The Jonas Brothers) as a brutalized fraternity pledge whose limits are tested in the name of “brotherhood”. On the less tween-traumatizing and more charming side of things, there’s also Southside With You, a dramatization of the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama, starring Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyer as the eventually presidential couple.

It’s a big list of films—which you can read in its entirety over at Deadlinebut other standouts to keep an eye on include Other People, which stars Fargos Jesse Plemons (plus Molly Shannon and Bradley Whitford) as a young man attempting to escape a bad relationship (and, in our version of the script, the haunting specter of looking kind of like Matt Damon), and Swiss Army Man, which is that movie about Paul Dano (or maybe Daniel Radcliffe, it’s not entirely clear) dragging a corpse around in the wilderness and using it to stay alive. On a similarly gruesome note, there are also, weirdly, two different movies based on the on-air suicide of Florida news anchor Christine Chubbuck (including Christine, starring Rebecca Hall, and the documentary Kate Plays Christine) being shown, because apparently Sundance is really in a mood to bum itself well and truly out.

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