Best Films of the SXSW 2017 Festival: A List by Ashley Menzel
In general, the films this year to me were weaker overall than the previous year, but there still were some fantastic stand out films. Of the 23 films I have seen from SXSW 2017, these are my top recommendations.
Baby Driver is one of the most stand out films of the fest because of the buzz surrounding it even before the premiere. Most of the time, when that happens the film never quite lives up to the expectation. Baby Driver is the exception to that. Edgar Wright has made his best film yet with Baby Driver. It is a unique and a blast to watch. The cast is phenomenal, and the action is so meticulously coordinated with music, it leaves you in a daze. I wanted to watch the film all over again the second it was over.
Mr. Roosevelt is one of those films that you don’t expect much from but it blows you away. A simple story and description are all we had to go on entering the film. The performance, writing and directing by Noël Wells is spectacular. The film is funny, endearing, and incredibly relatable. Noël Wells is a great talent and certainly one to keep your eye on.
I see about one horror film per film festival and I am so glad that is was Tragedy Girls. The film is fresh, funny, and incredibly relevant. The story and direction are perfect. Everything works perfectly in this film from the music, to the performances and direction. It is easily one of my favorite horror films of all time.
The Big Sick
An incredibly emotional and hilarious film, The Big Sick has won its way into my heart. My husband has been talking about it since Sundance, and I finally got to see it here at SXSW. Kumail Nanjiani is spectacular in his role and the writing by him and Emily V. Gordon just oozing personality. The film is touching, wonderful, and a real treat.
A Bad Idea Gone Wrong
A Bad Idea Gone Wrong is a joy to watch. The characters are hilarious, and the jokes hit perfectly where there should. Surprisingly the film has a lot of heart and is genuinely moving at points. The chemistry between the characters works so well. It is simple, enjoyable and a memorable film.
Win It All
Jake Johnson is a force in Win It All. His range of emotion and depiction of someone going through addiction is spectacular. He approaches it with humor and gives this performance his all. It was the perfect role and perfect movie for him. The film strikes the perfect balance between telling a dramatic and potentially catastrophic story and making it funny and enjoyable for the audience.
Small Town Crime
This year there were a lot of violent films at SXSW, and I was a little worried that they would all blend but Small Town Crime stood out on its own. The film is incredibly entertaining with great performances by John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer, Anthony Anderson and more. The cast is so eclectic and varied that you would think it wouldn’t work, but it does. The film is a tale of redemption and triumph in a screwed up situation and was one of the best of the fest.