The 2013 Sundance Film Festival comes to a close this weekend, and while all the big awards still need to be handed out, we do know many of the films that were picked up for distribution and will be heading to theaters sometime in the near future. Of those movies we've chosen our five favorites, so start making mental notes now because these Sundance hits are definitely worth a watch when the time comes.
1. Don Jon's Addiction (Release Date: TBD 2013)
You'll Want To See It Because: Joseph Gordon-Levitt churns out one of his all-time great roles as a Jersey Shore-type ladies man with a thick New Jersey accent and a wee bit of a porn addiction. Scarlett Johansson and Tony Danza join in on the fun as Gordon-Levitt's pushy girlfriend and loudmouth father, respectively, with Julianne Moore assisting as an emotionally weathered woman who helps our main character get his life back on track.
2. The Spectacular Now (Release Date: TBD 2013)
You'll Want To See It Because: Not only is it one of the best coming-of-age movies you'll see this year, but it's also one of the best we've seen in over a decade. With a breakout performance from Miles Teller (think Ferris Bueller with a drinking problem), the film tracks the rocky (and unexpected) relationship between a popular high schooler (Teller) and a quiet, reserved "nice girl" played by Shailene Woodley. This one has everything: laughs, heartache and a relatable message about navigating the difficult choices we face as we transition from being a kid to an adult.
3. Toy's House (Release Date: TBD 2013)
You'll Want To See It Because: If you're a fan of Superbad and Stand By Me, then you'll no doubt love Toy's House, which feels like a mix of both films with its unique cast of three boys who decide to run away from home and build a house in the woods after their neurotic, overbearing parents become too much to handle. The weird, ferret-like character named Biaggio will probably draw some comparisons to McLovin, but where this film really succeeds is in its portrayal of childhood bonding, not to mention the hilarious supporting performances from folks like Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Alison Brie.
4. The Way, Way Back (Release Date: TBD 2013)
You'll Want To See It Because: The biggest sale out of this year's festival went to The Way, Way Back (Fox Searchlight nabbed it for $10 million), yet another coming-of-age comedy about a shy, introverted kid who learns to come out of his shell thanks to a summer vacation spent alongside the ragtag group of misfits who work at a water park. Featuring memorable performances from Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney, the film is also noteworthy because it stars Steve Carell in a role we're not used to seeing him play (hint: he's kind of a mean dude).
5. The East (TBD 2013)
You'll Want To See It Because: In this tight, tension-filled drama, Brit Marling (reuniting with her Sound of My Voice director Zal Batmanglij ) plays a woman hired by a firm to infiltrate a highly secretive anarchist group that attacks big corporations they feel are poisoning the planet. It's topical and addictive, featuring Ellen Page's best performance since Juno. Easily one of our favorites of the fest.
Bonus Track: If you're a music lover who's always in the mood for a solid music doc, you'll want to keep an eye out for Dave Grohl's Sound City, which is basically the story of how all your favorite rock albums came to be. Grohl will be releasing the doc and its accompanying album later this spring. You can read Erik Davis' full take on the Sundance movie here.
For more extensive Sundance Film Festival coverage, check out our sister site Movies.com.