The last day of any film festival is always kind of sad. All of the visitors have flown home, the PR firms have recalled their talent and promoters and many of those who live in town simply stay home to get some much-deserved rest. Even the biggest screenings aren’t packed and the last few shows are always a mildly depressing collection of exhausted diehards trying to make their way through just one more movie. Me, I’m always one of those diehards. I’m in it to the bitter end – the guy happy to turn the lights off on the way out.
I began my day by getting dropped off downtown by my wife as there was no way I wanted to pay for parking on what was both SXSW and St. Patrick’s Day. Nor did I want to fight traffic on the way back home. First on the agenda Chan-wook Park’s I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay – a deranged little comedy about a girl who believes she’s a cyborg who falls in with a man who believes he can steal the talents and traits of others. It’s a cute film, if not completely whitewashing mental illness for the sake of comedy. In that vein it was akin to Crazy People, if that Dudley Moore comedy had been directed by someone with the visual sense of David Fincher. This one split the audience with those walking in convinced of Park’s genius feeling it was cemented, while others complained that they hoped he would return to revenge films.
Then there was a crushing reminder of why I’ve spent the bulk of the week at the Alamo Drafthouse. Can you believe there are still movie theatres that sell only soda, popcorn and nachos at the refreshment stand? What am I supposed to do if I want some fried pickles, a Chicken Caesar salad and blueberry cobbler for desert? Go to a restaurant? Pshaw! But that’s what I had to do. I made a quick run for some food before the next show, making it back just in time to catch…
The Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) produced What Would Jesus Buy. Here’s a perfect example of the kind of documentary that just gets under my skin. They’re the ones that have a message I can 100% get behind and even rant for hours about myself, but is presented by people so obnoxious that I want to distance myself from what they’re saying and doing. Here we have Reverend Billy, a self styled revivalist preacher railing against consumption and overspending at Christmas. By screaming at people at Starbucks, Wal-Mart and the Disney Store. And while I like what he’s saying, I kinda have to get off the bus when they start deliberately trying to get arrested. Following that, any sympathy I had left was lost when their message of keeping Christmas holy leads them to spend Christmas yelling at families at Disneyland. Until they get arrested. ‘Tis the season, right? No. They should have gone home for Christmas. That would have made their point.
And lastly I spent my final hours of the festival in a dark corner of the Alamo Drafthouse with a pile of fried pickles and a Raging Bull Pizza while watching the gleefully retarded low budget Kiwi comedy The Devil Dared Me To. No, you probably won’t ever see this anywhere (except maybe video), but for the final midnight movie of the fest, it sure was a fun, if deliberately stupid ride. Blood, profanity and more blood manage to spill out of every character in the film – a film about stuntmen with more balls than brains. Some of the jokes were decidedly for the New Zealand audience they were intended for, but a lot of it translated well. It was cheap, stupid fun for a beer drinking crowd. A nice way to cap off a long, but amazing week.
Well, that’s it folks. The fest is over. I’ve still got a few small pieces and a couple of interviews coming your way. But my daily coverage is over. It's been a blast. Thanks for reading and I look forward to doing this again next year. Until then, I remain...
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email
Austin-based Cargill, who "...
not only loves, but owns, The Cutting Edge," writes on Movies
and DVD two times a week.