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Kirby: Sundance takes ‘park’ out of Park City

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 20 2014 03:10 pm • Last Updated Jan 20 2014 10:17 pm

Park City •

Saturday night was the Sundance Film Festival showing of a remake of the Ashton Kutcher film, "Dude, Where’s My Car?" Easily four stars.

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Produced and directed by the Park City Police Department, it has drama, heartache, eye-popping rage and riveting suspense.

The show began just after dark, when half the population of Earth showed up at Park City Mountain Resort for the second round of the snowboard halfpipe finals. They all needed someplace to park.

But there aren’t any places to park during the film festival, at least none that are convenient. Parking wherever is the central conflict in "Dude, Where’s My Car 2."

As the plot developed, residents began calling the police to report their driveways blocked or occupied by vehicles that didn’t belong to them. City bus drivers couldn’t maneuver through the choked streets.

The main feeder routes became one-way (barely) lanes when drivers simply abandoned their vehicles at any vacant spot close to the resort.

My seat for this epic drama was in a Park City police patrol vehicle. When dispatched to fix the problem, it took us the better part of half an hour to get to the scene less than five blocks away.

The intersection looked like a used car lot for the mentally deranged. Vehicles were parked on private property, under "No Parking" signs, in lanes of travel, on corners and up on piles of snow.

The solution was immediately apparent: a tow truck. A bunch of them. Half a dozen showed up and fought their way through the congestion.

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Tow driver: "How many?"

Officer: "That one, those three over there, the two in this line, that other one and everything on that side of the road. Don’t forget that Beamer."

The tow truck drivers got to work. I was impressed. Their job looked impossible considering how tightly wedged some of the vehicles were.

Towing cars is three parts physics, two parts proper equipment and three parts artform. A truly talented tow operator can pull a car with its doors open from the bottom of a well without scratching it.

The offending vehicles ranged from old Motor City beaters to high-end foreign rockets. Pedigrees didn’t matter. They all came sideways out of their spots and were hauled away. That’s when the show got really interesting.

Apparently word got out that the cops were stealing cars. People started to hurry back. In some cases they arrived in the nick of time. But more than a few didn’t.

I was watching the tow drivers when a young man hurried out of the darkness and said, "Dude, where’s my car?"

Officer: "It left with a tow truck."

Kid: "Will they bring it back?"

This was not the dumbest thing said in the next hour. In descending order of dumbest, they were:

""I didn’t see any parking signs," a guy insisted. He was referred to the large red-and-white "No Parking Any Time" sign on the pole above where his car used to be.

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