If I had the ability to be in more than one place at once, go for days without sleep, and be immuned to movie theater seat numb butt, I would see every single movie at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. But alas, I cannot because I am human. However, since I did manage to see over 30 movies at the Toronto Film Festival, I figured I will be able to see 24 (if not more) at SXSW. Here’s my must-see list.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: As superstar Vegas magicians and former best friends Burt and Anton grow to secretly loathe each other, their long-time act implodes, allowing an ambitious rival street performer the big break he’s been waiting for. Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Jim Carrey
Why is it on my list? SXSW is the stage for the world premiere for this movie about the Vegas magician lifestyle — and if it features the likes of Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi then it is destined to be funny. This also may mark a resurgence of Jim Carrey on screen. I’ve kind of missed him…but if his performance sucks, then I withdraw that comment.
Evil Dead: Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival. Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Why is it on my list? Considering this is a non-camp remake of a cult classic, red flags should be all over it. However, I am willing to give this a chance because: 1.) It has the SXSW stamp of approval. It must be good enough for film weirdos (like myself) that attend the fest. And 2.) Bruce Campbell has a producing credit.
Before Midnight: We meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior
Why is it on my list? Because it’s a Linklater film. Even though this premiered at Sundance, it’s presence at SXSW is a homecoming for the native Texan filmmaker.
Don Jon’s Addiction: Jon (Gordon-Levitt) loves his family, friends, church and porn. Spending hours online, Jon’s ideas of a perfect woman collide with Barbara’s (Johansson) ideas of a perfect man. They struggle to see past their wants and needs in this romantic comedy. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza
Why is it on my list? For one, it’s JGL. He’s becoming a natural treasure. Secondly, my friends that saw this at Sundance compared it to Jersey Shore. That’s a magical combo.
The Spectacular Now: A high school romance between an alcoholic, party boy and a more reserved, shy, girl. Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
Why is it on my list? I’m putting a lot of trust into the title. I am also falling in love with Shailene Woodley.
Downloaded: A documentary that explores the rise and fall of Napster and the birth of the digital revolution. It’s about the teens that helped start this revolution, and the artists and industries who continue to be impacted by it.
Why is it on my list? When Bill of Bill and Ted fame makes a movie about Napster, we have no choice to pay attention. Also, this movie is to teach kids that there was a thing called Napster before.
Drinking Buddies: Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer. Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
Why is it on my list? I don’t drink alcohol. This will show me what I’m missing out on, right?
I Am Divine: The story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, and how he became John Waters’ cinematic muse and an international drag icon.
Why is it on my list? Before all those queens on Ru Paul’s Drag Race and before Lady Gaga ever existed there was Divine. Hallowed be her name.
Big Ass Spider!: When a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages across the city of Los Angeles, it is up to one clever exterminator and his security guard sidekick to kill the creature before the city is destroyed. Cast: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Clare Kramer, Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Patrick Bauchau
Why is it on my list? It’s a movie about a BIG ASS SPIDER that attacks L.A. Why isn’t it on YOUR list?
Snap: A stylish psychological thriller set against the underground dubstep DJ scene that takes the audience on a dark and terrifying journey into the depths of the psychopathic mind as it threatens to explode into horrific violence. Cast: Jake Hoffman, Nikki Reed, Thomas Dekker, Scott Bakula, Jason Priestley
Why is it on my list? At first, I thought it was a movie about the ’90s dance group that blessed us with the song “I’ve Got the Power”, then I read the synopsis and thought it sounded pretty damn cool.
Milo: A man discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to the fact that he has a demon baby living in his colon. Cast: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Mary Kay Place
Why is this on my list? Demon baby? Colon? The synopsis speaks for its brilliance.
I Give it a Year: A brand new comedy from the writer of Borat and Bruno that lifts the veil on the realities of the first year of marriage. Cast: Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant
Why is it on my list? A non-mockumentary from the writer of mockumentaries like Borat and Bruno? I’m curious to see how this pans out.
Rewind This!: Home video changed the world. The impact of the VHS tape was enormous. Rewind This! aims to trace the ripples of that impact.
Why is this on my list? I still own a VHS player and I’d like to see its origins thank you very much!
Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton: A chronicle of the iconoclastic life of gay poet, filmmaker, and spiritual visionary James Broughton, one of the defining voices of the sexual revolution, whose groundbreaking artistic celebrations of sexuality and the body influenced generations of the 1960’s and 70’s to profoundly embrace life and “follow your own weird”.
Why is this on my list? It’s trailblazing weirdos like this that make “artists” of today seem like they’re really not doing much to better the world.
Kiss of the Damned: Beautiful vampire Djuna tries to resist the advances of human screenwriter Paolo, but eventually gives in to their passion. When her sister Mimi comes to visit, Djuna’s love story is threatened, and the whole vampire community becomes endangered… Cast: Joséphine de la Baume, Milo Ventimiglia, Roxane Mesquida, Anna Mouglalis, Michael Rapaport, Riley Keough, Ching Valdes-Aran
Why is this on my list? Watch the trailer and you’ll see why it’s on my list. (Hint: there’s lots of vampire sex.)
You’re Next: A fresh twist on home-invasion horror. A gang of masked murderers descend upon a family reunion, and the victims seem trapped…until an unlikely guest proves to be the most talented killer of all. Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg
Why is this on my list? Because I could always use another freaky home invasion movie with masked murderers.
Scenic Route: Stranded on an isolated desert road, two life-long friends fight for survival as their already strained relationship spirals into knife-wielding madness. Cast: Josh Duhamel, Dan Fogler
Why is this on my list? The picture of a bloody faced, mohawked Josh Duhamel was enough for me.
Some Girl(s): On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings. Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson
Why is this on my list? I feel that I need to include some wort of hip, tragic romance movie in my lineup and since this has Zoe Kazan, I figure it must be pretty good.
Broadway Idiot: Punk Rock meets Broadway – WTF!?! Go behind the curtain with Green Day lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, as he ventures into the strange new world of Broadway. Will Billie Joe – or Broadway – ever be the same?
Why is this on my list? I loved the American Idiot musical — but punk and Broadway? I want to see how this interesting marriage came about.
Prince Avalanche: Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch
Why is this on my list? Paul Rudd vs. Emile Hirsch? That sounds fun.
SEQUIN RAZE: Behind the scenes of a hit reality TV show, a jaded producer and a spurned beauty queen face off in mental mortal combat. One driven by cash rewards and ambition, the other clinging to her last shred of dignity. Only one can leave victorious.
Why is this on my list? For one, this short film is a behind the scenes look at a reality TV show and that in itself sounds absolutely delicious. Any sort of thing that skewers or does any sort of mocking of Bachelor-like TV gets my approval. Also, Anna Camp is in this! AND Frances Conroy too!
It’s Not You It’s Me: A young woman’s relationship takes a dark turn when every sound her boyfriend makes starts to annoy her.
Why is this on my list? I love short films about couples on the verge of falling apart.
When Angels Sing: A lyrical Christmas story about finding hope and joy after deep sorrow. Cast: Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, Chandler Canterbury, Fionnula Flanagan, Lyle Lovett, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Eloise DeJoria, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson
Why is this on my list? CONNIE. BRITTON.
Zero Charisma: An obsessive fantasy nerd gradually becomes unhinged when a charismatic hipster joins his role-playing game. Cast: Sam Eidson, Garrett Graham, Brock England, Anne Gee Byrd, Cyndi Williams, Brian Losoya, Vincent Prendergast, Katie Folger, John Gholson, Dakin Matthews
Why is this on my list? To make me regret that I never got into role playing games. I was never that cool of a nerd.
I’ll be in Austin during SXSW so make sure you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and here for all my fantastical updates! If you’re going to SXSW and you see me walking in the street, at a movie screening, or eating a basket of fries alone, say hi! I’ll look at you strangely and then say hi back!