After a two-year hiatus, SXSW is back in-person once again. For those who have never had the opportunity to attend in person, there is so much to see and do. SXSW truly has a little something for everyone, no matter what you are interested in. The festival covers music, film, television, comedy, education, technology, and even in some cases, food and alcohol. While not aspects of SXSW happen simultaneously, the festival takes over the city of Austin for a total of 9 days, with festivities beginning on Friday, March 11 and ending on the evening of Sunday, March 20, 2022.
My coverage of SXSW is strictly focused on the film and television portion of the festival. After two years of virtual-only screenings and the notable absence of big studio premieres, I am beyond delighted to see an impressive line-up that features several highly anticipated films and television shows making their debut at SXSW. I would also like to point out that two big premiere spots at the Paramount Theater have yet to be filled. Those gaps are on Sunday evening and Monday evening. I predict that Universal will be surprising the SXSW crowd with two early screenings of either Nope, The Black Phone, Ambulance, or Bros.
But for right now, here are my picks of the ten movies and television shows that I am most excited to see at SXSW 2022.
After I saw House of Gucci, I didn’t think I would be able to watch another Jared Leto performance for a while. That said, the story behind WeCrashed intrigued me enough to give the show a chance. While I can’t go into detail since the show is premiering during the festival, I will say that even though Leto didn’t get an Oscar nomination for Gucci, I believe he will be getting an Emmy nomination for his performance as Adam Neumann in this show. Yes, he’s that good. Again, I can’t go into much detail yet, but let’s just say that this show feels very reminiscent of The Social Network and is likely to become a massive hit with audiences and award voters alike. SXSW is the perfect place to premiere a show like WeCrashed because it ties directly into many aspects of the event, including those who are invested in technology and television.
The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks
Amazon Studios has already purchased the streaming rights to this The Kids in the Hall documentary. As a child of the 80s, I grew up with The Kids in the Hall, and given how popular they were as a comedy troupe, I am surprised that it took so long for someone to create a feature-length documentary about the group and how they became a reality. The Kids in the Hall have toured around the country several times since the cancelation of their television series. There has been a significant demand for them to come back for a new series, which I believe will debut on Amazon Prime Video sometime next year. While I have been a follower and fan of the Kids in the Hall, I am very curious to learn the group’s origin story. I look forward to seeing all of them in person for what is sure to be a lively Q&A on Tuesday afternoon when the documentary premieres.
The Lost City
Paramount was the studio that got hit the hardest during the pandemic, so it’s nice to see them at SXSW with the premiere of The Lost City. I don’t know much about this film, but I have seen the trailer several times and feel like this movie is going to be a ton of fun. It almost looks like it has the potential of being a sleeper hit like Free Guy was in 2021. The cast, which includes Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, Channing Tatum, and Brad Pitt, looks like they are having the time of their life in this film, and the adventure aspect reminds me of Jumanji meets Romancing the Stone. It also looks like a great crowd movie where the audience will get into the fun. For those who don’t know, SXSW is probably one of the best festivals to get some authentic reactions from audiences that typically depict how general audiences will connect to the film. I’m hoping to have a lot of fun with this one.
The Girl From Plainville
Hulu has been killing it lately with their original series, and The Girl From Plainville looks like it will be earning the streamer some more Emmy recognition. This limited series is based on the true story of Michelle Carter, played by Elle Fanning. The real story is not only fascinating but riveting and relevant. Writer Liz Hannah serves as the co-creator of the series. For those who don’t know, Liz is an incredible writer who wrote the Charlize Theron/Seth Rogan comedy, Long Shot, and Steven Spielberg’s The Post. The Girl from Plainville also reunites Liz Hannah with Elle Fanning, who previously starred in Netflix’s All the Bright Places, which Liz wrote in 2020. The Girl From Plainville premieres at SXSW on Saturday, March 12, at the SXSW Film Theater located inside the Austin Convention Center.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Watching a film where Nicolas Cage plays Nick Cage is a dream that many of us who love movies have had. I love Cage as an actor and have been so excited to see this film since I heard it was greenlit over a year and a half ago. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is arguably the most buzzed-about film to premiere at the festival, and I don’t think Lionsgate could have picked a better place to premiere this film than at SXSW. The film festival has been the launching pad of several major studio comedies, including Bridesmaids, Long Shot, Neighbors, Sausage Party, Trainwreck, and many others. I am curious to see if Cage ends up sitting through the film with the SXSW crowd because I heard rumors that he refuses to watch this film. I do think regardless of whether or not Cage ends up watching the movie, the Q&A which will follow the premiere will be a ton of fun. I foresee this premiering making big headlines in the trades the following morning. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent premieres at 10:30pm on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at the Paramount Theater.
While television shows involving murder aren’t usually my thing (unless they are comedies), Elisabeth Moss has consistently starred in several successful television series and, for me personally, serves as this show’s strongest selling point. Moss is an actress who typically knocks it out of the park, and the show’s premise sounds like it will go beyond the typical murder mystery storyline that we have seen several times before. It is also important to note that Leonardo DiCaprio serves as an Executive Producer. With story elements that involve going in and out of reality, I can see Shining Girls being something that really hooks an audience and keeps them guessing until the very end. I can honestly say that I am very intrigued to see how this one plays out and whether it is an awards player or not.
I Love My Dad
I Love My Dad is based on an outrageous true story about a father who decides to “catfish” his son to reconnect with him. While the plot sounds incredibly weird, it totally feels like something that the SXSW audience would embrace and have a ton of fun with. It should also be noted that the film has a terrific cast, which includes Patton Oswalt, Rachel Dratch, Lil Rel Howery, and Amy Landecker. There are always a few indie films that break out of SXSW each year, and my gut is telling me that I Love My Dad will be one of the titles that will end up getting distribution and finding an audience beyond the festival circuit. I Love My Dad premieres on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at the Alamo Lamar.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Based on a series of short films, this feature-length film centered around Marcel the Shell is a complete and utter delight. I was lucky enough to see Marcel The Shell with Shoes On at the Telluride Film Festival in September. This movie is one of the first must-see films of 2022. The film combines stop motion animation with live-action. The premise is very simplistic, and the whole thing takes place in one location. However, the secret to the film’s success is the script, which is deeply engaging, funny, and emotional. Let me not forget to mention that Marcel the Shell as a character is beyond lovable and simply irresistible. If you are attending SXSW, I would highly recommend checking out Marcel The Shell with Shoes On because while it is only March, I can pretty much guarantee that it will be one of the best films that you see all the year. Lastly, if A24 plays their cards right, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On has the potential of being nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards next year. Yes, it’s that good.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Sometimes you just read a description for a movie and say to yourself, “Wow, that sounds like it could be a lot of fun,” which is exactly what happened when I read the plot description for Bodies Bodies Bodies. The film has its World Premiere at SXSW on Monday the 14th at the Paramount Theater. It features a solid cast of talented individuals, including Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson, Rachel Sennott, and Lee Pace. The film follows a bunch of affluent 20-somethings who throw a hurricane party (yes, it’s exactly what you think it is) at a family mansion in the middle of nowhere. However, the party doesn’t go as planned and some really bad things start to happen. This one could honestly go either way, but I Love You Dad could go down as one of the surprise breakout hits of SXSW.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
The Daniels are back with another strange and quirky film. Based on the trailer, I feel like Everything Everywhere All At Once is destined to become a cult classic. While the Daniels are not for everyone, I think we can all agree that they make an inventive film. They make films that push boundaries and aren’t afraid of being divisive. They enjoy telling stories that, while strange, are also bold. Everything Everywhere All At Once has a fascinating premise and one that I believe will connect to a larger audience than their previous outings. While the idea of what a person’s life would be like if they chose a different path has already been explored in various films and tv shows, the Daniels are sure to make their film a unique and one of a kind experience that will go places that those other films have not. Everything Everywhere All At Once kicks off SXSW 2022 with its World Premiere at the Paramount Theater on Friday, March 11, 2022, at 6pm.
What shows or films are you interested in seeing at SXSW? And what do you think the two surprise screenings will be this year? Let me know by tweeting me at @ScottDMenzel.