After sending half the staff packing this morning, it was left to the Wild Bunch to keep hope alive. I am a man who insists on getting his money’s worth, so I was determined to cram as many movies as humanly possible into the schedule today, which turned out to be five.
Pstep, wearing Dustin’s badge, decided to saunter along for this round of flicks. The badges all have names and photographs, but if TK can pass for The Boozehound, well, surely PStep can pull off Dustin. (Though, someone from another website, perhaps Cinematical, asked him if he had killed Dustin and taken his badge. PStep did behead him, and in accordance with our Highlander-like contract, is now in charge of the site. Hope you like anime.) We were able to rise late today, as our first film wasn’t starting until 1:30. In line, I ran into the lovely Evelyn of 2 Bobs fame yet again. I’d say she’s stalking me, but she’s far to classy for that.
Splinterheads was our first flick, a goofy sort of love story about a loser/slacker who falls for a con-artist carny. It had a vaguely Napoleon Dynamite vibe, but with much more absurd profanity. The leads are two relative unknowns, but the supporting cast is pretty stellar: Christopher McDonald as a smitten policeman, Lea Thompson as our nerdling hero’s mother, Dean Winters in yet another role where he plays an insensitive egotistical douchebag bent on smashing everyone’s face in. Also, the grandfather is played by the old man from Road Trip, Frankie Faison plays the carnival owner, and there’s another awesome pairing of actors as The Amazing Steve and his assistant Wyoming. It totally falls apart by the end, disintegrating into over-the-top wackiness involving a dunktank kidnapping and other assorted crapola, but for the first hour or so, it’s a pretty solid loser love story. The lead actor is gawky and easily offended, and the lead actress is the requisite hot blonde, so they work, even if they’ve got all the chemistry of a Salvation Army Science Kit.
We were right back in line for the next screening of Four Boxes, which was supposedly a solid horror flick with a cast of just three, including Justin Kirk from “Weeds.” The premise was the three friends check out a website that broadcasts from four cameras in a home. We see two hooded and masked men named Havoc and Ziploc, respectively, assembling what appears to be dirty bombs. The two gentlemen leads run an eBay site where they liquidate the goods of the recently deceased. The female lead is the fiancee of one guy and the former girlfriend of the other, who left him after cheating with the new guy. The premise was solid, but the execution was painful. The dialogue was so fucking hipsterically ironic — with grown men in their thirties saying rizzle dizz and step off, brozilla and be right B. The timing and pace were atrocious, for an 82 minute film it seemed like hours. And then by the time they reach the ending, they twist things so fucked that even a pretzel would double bag its dick before trying to unfuck it.
The Carlson Sibs met us outside as they were planning on going in to see The Hurt Locker, a Gulf War flick that’s about bomb defusion, along with Big Philly Style, and Smokin who had joined us once more for film viewing. Everyone gave it a solid thumbs up, though I wish PStep had taken the opportunity to drive his thumb into the eye of Spike Lee, who was sitting across the aisle. Nah, just kidding, Spike. I actually liked most of your work, even Bamboozled. And so do the Carlsons, as they stayed for Passing Strange, Lee’s latest. Both Sarah and Dan were gleeful, but you’ll have to check with them as for the lineup and premise.
Me? I couldn’t end my time in Austin without paying my respects to my second home for the week, The Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar. I just fucking love that place. Plus, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of Segways circling the area, perhaps to seek retribution on Messr. Carlson for his taunting yesterday. And today. Motherfucker is inSATiable. I just hope the roving gang doesn’t send Blart to crush Seth Rogen by mistake.
I got over to the theatre just in time to see The Last Beekeeper, a documentary about the currently failing apiary business. Bees are mysteriously dying and/or disappearing. The doc was really short, barely an hour, and sort of banked on a lot of narrative subtitles and holding the shot on someone so they start crying. It’s pretty tragic, and totally exploitative, but all in all not a terrible doc. I had pondered going to see Eggshells, the lost first film by Tobe Hooper, but he himself has denigrated it claiming, “It’s a hippie film.” Also, I missed out on Pulling John, a spectacular documentary about competitive arm wrestling. Instead, I was about to make two big ol’ festival accidents.
I came out of beekeeper and went straight back in to see Make Out with Violence, which they were touting as a rock musical about two brothers who fall in love with a girl who disappears, only to me reanimated as a zombie. However, instead I was shown a godawful emo zombie rom com with painfully dry delivery. There was neither enough Making Out nor Violence to keep this author satisfied.
I ran out side to meet up with Smokin for the midnight screening, but he was already inside holding a seat for me in The Horseman. Before the movie got started, the owner of the Lamar Drafthouse recruited audience members for a drinking contest. I mean, seven people a team speed chugging Miller Lite tallboys. THEN, we got to watch a little of the ultra violence. It was well done, and managed to elevate itself about the typical torture porn fare in theatres these days. The Aussie director wisely chooses to keep the severe violence off screen, so we don’t have to watch a penis get inflated by a bicycle pump or actually see the head get caved in by a two-by-four or a lead pipe. It’s an intensely violent bloodbath, where a father beats his way through all the people responsible for his daughter’s death during the shooting of an amateur porn. And beat the fuck he does. He breaks bones and bashes with Home Depot in his quest for vengeance. Both Smokin and I were not too keen.
Austin was a gorgeous town that opened its arms and let us suckle the bosomy goodness of its’ potent potables. You can tell the town truly loves the film festival, lining up around the block to check out new films by the next big thing. It’s late, and I’m passing out from too many Guinness Milkshakes. I hope you enjoyed our dispatches, and you were able to put a few new projects on the radar for your viewing pleasure. I’ll be getting home just in time to prep myself for my appearance on this weekend’s Popcorn Mafia webcast, where I’ll be reviewing Sunshine Cleaning and Last House on the Left. I got a lot to say about that one. Maybe not nearly as much as Stipe, but hey, you know.
May this work week speed by like a taco through TK. God bless Pajiba.