10 SXSW Titles That Should Be On Your Radar

It’s SXSW Time! Today, Friday, March 8, 2024, kicks off the 2024 SXSW Film & Television Festival. Last year, I ended up not attending the festival due to the overlap with the Oscars, but this year, I decided to come back to the festival because I missed the vibe. It is a super fun festival for those who haven’t been to SXSW. Some surprise movies end up being in the awards conversation, but mainly, most of the films that play here are indies, with a few big-budget studio films mixed in for good measure. Doug Liman’s Road House kicks things off tonight, which I think the SXSW crowd will eat up like a big ole piece of chocolate cake.

But before the best officially kicks off, I wanted to share my picks of the ten titles I am most excited to see at this year’s festival.

The Fall Guy

When my wife and I went to the movies last weekend, we saw the trailer for The Fall Guy on the big screen. After the trailer ended, my wife turned to me and said, “That’s a total Southby movie.” I responded, “Yes, it is, and it’s premiering at the festival this year.” 

The Fall Guy looks and feels like one of those iconic action comedies from the 90s, and I am totally here for it. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, who, after a very long award season and attending the Oscars on Sunday night, will head to Austin for the film’s premiere. These two actors are probably two of my favorites working today. Fresh off of Barbie, Ryan Gosling has proven he can nail any genre he is in. While The Nice Guys was a great buddy comedy with some action mixed in, The Fall Guy looks like it will push him further since he has to embrace the role of an action hero. Emily Blunt looks like she is having the time of her life based on the trailer, and after being in Oppenheimer, it will be nice to see her in a role that will be a lot more playful. Blunt, just like Gosling, can do it all, so I am excited about what these two bring to the table together.

Stuntman-turned-director David Leitch is a great action filmmaker who knows how to make a great-looking action movie and adds a lot of humor and heart to his projects. It should also be noted that the film has a great supporting cast, including Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke, and Stephanie Hsu. There is a lot that I am interested in seeing this year, but I do think The Fall Guy is going to be the most enjoyable and will make for a grand SXSW premiere. 

The Fall Guy premieres on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX. 

Hacks Season 3 Premiere

Over the past several years, television has become a pivotal part of almost all major film festivals, including Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival, and SXSW. Each year, more and more television shows have been added to festival lineups, and just like getting an early look at some great movies that won’t be hitting multiplexes for a few months, series are now doing the same. There are several series that I am excited to watch that are debuting at the festival, but the one that I am most looking forward to seeing is the first two episodes of Hacks Season 3. 

Let me say that if you haven’t seen Hacks, you are missing out. Television comedies have been incredibly strong over the past several years, but Hacks ranks as one of the best. Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder are the perfect comedic duo, and their chemistry is off the charts. The two of them bickering back and forth makes for some big laughs, not to mention how great the writing is. MAX just released a teaser trailer for the new season, and while it doesn’t give away too much as to what is in store, I can say that the humor is as sharp as ever.

I look forward to watching the first two episodes on the big screen and hearing what the cast and showrunners say about this latest chapter of the Deborah Vance story during the Q&A. The light-hearted nature of this show, combined with a young vs. old take on the current state of the world, will make this a fun watch for an SXSW audience. 

Hacks Season Three premieres on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX. 

Y2K 

In 2017, Kyle Mooney co-wrote and starred in Brigsby Bear, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. I found the film to be quirky, creative, and charming. It felt like a nice change of pace from the typical Sundance fare. However, Brigsby Bear didn’t feel like a Sundance movie, which perfectly explains why Kyle Mooney is premiering his directorial debut at SXSW. I don’t know much about Y2K, but given that it is a teen-centric comedy about 1999 and produced by A24, I feel this will be one of the most buzzed-about films out of SXSW.

Teenage comedies have always had a very strong showing at SXSW, with Booksmart and Bodies Bodies Bodies being among some of the most recent premieres that the SXSW audiences loved. The film has a solid cast, including Jaeden Martell, Alicia Silverstone, Julian Dennison, and Rachel Zegler, who is on a hot streak right now between West Side Story and The Hunger Games. I want to see this film because I remember the whole Y2K thing as well as I did in high school during that time, and I remember the sheer amount of panic everyone was feeling. I am sure that story will make for an entertaining film.

Y2K premieres on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX. 

I Wish You All The Best

Finding oneself is always a topic of at least one film that premieres at the SXSW Film Festival, and this year,  I Wish You All The Best is the one that stood out the most while reading through the lineup. Based on Mason Deaver’s novel, the plot sounds like it will resonate the most with Millennials and the Gen Z crowd. I have always enjoyed films about self-discovery, and this seems like the type of small indie comedy that usually speaks to me. I hope this is one of those surprises that audiences go into not knowing what to expect and walk out praising it. 

I have not read the book on which the film is based, but I like that the description hints that it will be more of a dramedy rather than a straight drama. It appears that the film will tackle topics rarely discussed or explored in previous coming-of-age films, which is why I think this will speak to a younger demographic and end up being a movie that will stir up much discussion on Film Twitter.

I Wish You All The Best premieres at t Alamo Lamar 4 on March 12, 2024, in Austin, TX. 

Immaculate 

Sydney Sweeney is one of the hottest stars working today, and learning that Immaculate was her dream project intrigues me. Sweeney produced the film under her production company Fifty-Fifty Films, and Neon will release it in theaters later this month. Horror flicks are a HUGE draw for the SXSW crowd, so premiering this film at the festival seems like a match made in heaven. The trailer looked promising, and this seems like a project that will showcase a new and different side of Sweeney that we have yet to see on the small or big screen. 

Neon has been promoting this one extensively over the past few weeks on social media, and the timing couldn’t be better with Sweeney’s most recent appearance on SNL, where she promoted the film during her opening monologue. I also think it is wise that Neon is using SXSW to kick off the press tour for the film with a conversation before the premiere, followed by two days of press in Los Angeles. Even the most divisive horror films have an audience, but this feels like a MASSIVE win for Neon and Sweeney. 

Immaculate premieres at the Paramount Theater on March 12, 2024, in Austin, TX. Sydney Sweeney is also part of a conversation panel that is taking place earlier that day at the Austin Convention Center.

Sing Sing 

Sadly, I missed Sing Sing at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, but several of my friends and colleagues have seen it, and I heard nothing but positive things about it. Like many actors on this list, Colman Domingo is on quite the hot streak right now, and I couldn’t be happier for him. Domingo is one of those actors who has been working in the business for a long time, and it has taken him far too long to be seen. He is the type of actor who elevates every project, no matter how large or small his role. He brings such conviction to every performance, and I want to see him get his flowers over the next few years.

While another strong vehicle for Domingo, Sing Sing marks the first time since 2020’s Sound of Metal that audiences will see Paul Raci back on the screen. I am very intrigued by the film’s premise, which is based on a real-life prison where inmates put on theatrical stage shows. We have seen so many dramas about the prison system, and this feels like a refreshing change of pace. I look forward to seeing it and hope it is as great as I heard.

Sing Sing plays at the ZACH Theater on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Austin, TX, with an encore screening at one of the Alamo satellite theaters the following evening.

My Dead Friend Zoe

This plot description and cast sold me on this one. My Dead Friend Zoe is labeled as a dark comedy, a genre I tend to enjoy a lot. So much of what happens in life can be twisted, so a film that tackles love and loss could be the perfect recipe for a dark comedy. While this will be the filmmaking debut for Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, I think he has assembled quite the cast for his debut. Sonequa Martin-Green, Natalie Morales, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Gloria Reuben are all in the film, which intrigues me even more since some of these names are icons in the industry.

My Dead Friend Zoe premieres at Paramount Theater on Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Austin, TX.

Mindfulness Over Perfection: Getting Real On Mental Health

One of the great things about SXSW is that besides having a lot of great screenings of movies and television shows, there are also a lot of conversations that happen during the day at the convention center. Each year, I try to attend at least one or two conversations on a topic that interests me. This year, the panel I know I will attend is the one on mental health that Selena Gomez is working on in collaboration with her company, Wondermind.

Mental health has become such a hot-button issue that it has sparked a lot of conversation over the last several years. Mental health is something that varies for everyone, and there is such a negative stigma around it. Selena Gomez, well-known as a singer and actor, has been one of the biggest advocates of mental health awareness and has spoken out about it on numerous occasions on social media. She has spoken out about her struggles with mental health, and the fact that she has used her power as a celebrity to launch a company that helps others who are struggling with similar issues is something that deserves to be celebrated and talked about.

We often forget that celebrities are people, too, and seeing them open up about their life issues makes them more relatable and allows others to feel a connection that we often don’t feel towards celebrities. I am sure this conversation will be chock full of information, and I look forward to hearing what Gomez and others have to say on the topic.

The Mindfulness Over Perfection: Getting Real On Mental Health Conversation will occur on Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Ballroom D at the Austin Convention Center.

MoviePass, MovieCrash

Before AMC A-List and Regal Unlimited, there was MoviePass. It was a service that I subscribed to as a moviegoer and critic, and I was a member throughout all its phases from the beginning to the end. I have heard endless horror stories about the company, including its shady business practices. I am surprised that it has taken so long for someone to make a documentary about Moviepass, given how many people worked for the company and how many times it has tried to come back and get people involved. It was always a good idea but one that never felt fleshed out. I am so curious to see how this documentary is as it is something that, as I mentioned, I was a member of for years, even though I was never particularly happy with the product or service. 

Moviepass, Moviecrash premieres at the Alamo Lamar on Saturday, March 8, 2024, in Austin, TX. 

A Nice Indian Boy

I always like to pick a random indie film to recommend at each SXSW, and this year, my pick is A Nice Indian Boy. Starring Karan Soni, Jonathan Groff, and Sunita Mani, A Nice Indian Boy appears to be a dramedy about cultural differences and acceptance. I don’t know much about the film overall, but one of my favorite things about film festivals, in general, is the ability to see smaller films that I don’t know much about. I know the internet spoils us with so much footage, but there is something special about only reading a brief plot description and a cast list before seeing a movie. There is no real expectation, and that is refreshing.

A Nice Indian Boy premieres on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at the Stateside Theater in Austin, TX. 

Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott Menzel has been watching film and television since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by the films of Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associate's Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor's in Mass Media, Communications, and a Master's in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at IMDB.com and Joblo.com. In 2009, Scott launched MovieManMenzel.com where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live Film.com. In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name change occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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