Sunday, March 20, 2005
Scott by Scottwest
Still tired after rolling into the Big O at 3am this morning. Who'd have thought that leaving Austin at 10:30 am wasn't early enough still. GD TX/OK traffic at the Red River for leaving us at a standstill on the interstate for ONE AND ONE HALF HOURS. Oh well, we're back now.
Let's see... I got to Austin on Monday, so everyone else had a couple days on me. I made up for it with by catching a grand total of 20 films in 4.5 days. Luckily I kept my film journal so I could keep them straight.
Instead of going through them one by one, I'm just going to talk about my favorites. It will be here you notice the difference in tastes between Director Dan and myself. So here they are, my five-star movies (a dubious distinction, given others' view of my tastes):
(in no order)
1) The Fearless Freaks: Brad Beesley's portrait of the Flaming Lips. Really wasn't a huge fan of the band before the movie (I like "She Don't Use Jelly," like any blue-blooded american boy my age), but I found myself completely enthralled in this film. I'm not an expert in docs, but it seemed there was a very loose thesis, but what it lacked in focus, it more than made up for in great moments. This film is worth seeing if only for one scene, as someone in line told me (and I agree). As she said, I won't tell you what scene, but if you see this film, you'll know the scene when it comes. At any rate, to fulfill a blog cliche, I am currently rocking out to the Lips' "Yoshimi battles the Pink Robots."
2) Southern Belles: A comedy about two trailer park girls (neither being Hilary Swank) and their dreams of getting away to fulfill all of their dreams in that Southern Heaven, Atlanta. Initially went to this film because of warm feelings I have for actress Anna Faris (I hope she reads this...), but this was a hilarious film (and Anna rox). This film really reminded me of the lost art of sight gags. Again, Judah Friedlander brings it. This guy rocks, I just hope he doesn't get a sitcom someday, because his character work is bomb.
3) Hooligans: At first glance, this movie didn't really sound like something I would be into. An american lad goes to England and falls in with a gang of soccer fans. By gang I mean Gang. These guys could whoop a camel's ass. Some real brutal terrifically shot fight scenes. I actually like Elijah Wood in this movie (in comes the wrath of the Hobbits), but the heart of the film was Charlie Hunnam as Pete (watch for this guy, he's going to be huge). Funny, sad, and very powerful. As a side note, the film was directed by Lexi Alexander, while there is a big deal made about women directors, this chick rocks the house. The guy that introduced her said she "had balls." I agree. I have to. She's a champion kick-boxer. Seriously, though, great film. In the words of Joe Boro after the movie, "I wanna pick a fight now." That explains my black eye and ruptured duodenum.
4) The Devil and Daniel Johnston: Dan saw a lot of political docs, I stuck mainly to the music docs. Daniel Johnston is a singer-songwriter who did a lot of time in Austin, where he recorded most of his underground tapes. Arguably most famous for the cover of his "Hi How Are You" tape cover, which was reprinted on a t-shirt that Kurt Cobain wore everywhere, including on the MTV video music awards (the same year Krist Novoselic threw his bass in the air and clocked himself in the head). A truly tragic film that really deals with the things that kept Daniel Johnston from being that star that Kurt Cobain is now considered. Great film.
5) The Education of Shelby Knox: The only politcal doc I saw. Story of a high school girl (the aforementioned Shelby) and her struggle to change sex ed curriculm in the Lubbock, TX school district. Really captured the spirit of what Dan and I have been trying to do with EvansAmerica. This issue is also something that I had wanted to do something with someday for our own show (guest starring Shelby herself????). The Q&A was pretty cool as the filmmakers brought out Shelby herself to take questions. Shelby got more questions than the filmmakers did.
6) Kissing on the Mouth: This movie has really stuck with me. (I did only see it two days ago, but in a span of time where you see that many movies, that's something, right?) Largely improvised, it's the story of four post-college "friends" and their relationships. While this is a pedestrian-sounding premise, it was dealt with in such a realistic way that it really sets itself apart. The way in which the film was made is just as facinating. It was made by four friends/directors who served as cast and crew. Very DIY, very liberating to think about as a filmmaker. Terrific film, but if you do hear about it will most likely be for the graphic/realistic manner that sex is dealt with. It's a film about sex, but it manages to get beyond "gimmicks" such as full-frontal nudity and touch, albeit slightly inconsistently, real emotional truths.
7) Steven Tobolowsky's Birthday Party: A truly indescribable film. Filmmaker Robert Brinkmann decided to make a film about his friend actor Steven Tobolowsky (IMDB him, you know him), but instead of doing a documentary in which friends attribute to how cool of a guy Tobolowsky is, Brinkmann has Tobolowsky tell his favorite stories as he does things to prepare for his birthday party that night. A really great snapshot of who this man is and what he means to his friends.
Those were my top films. Other favorites:
-The Puffy Chair: An incredibly funny movie. Perhaps the funniest movie I saw that week.
-Dead Birds: The best-looking film we saw that week. I thought "May" was the best-shot horror film I'd ever seen. (May is a better overall movie, but that's another entry...) Oh, both were shot by Steve Yedlin, so that explains it.
-The Roost: Good homage to midnight movies of the late 70s/early 80s. The short "Dos Blokes" that preceded it was brilliant.
And others, but this entry's getting out of control, so I'm ending it here. I'm out. I'm sure Danny Boy will have some wrap-up as well.
-Bo of the Sco-