12 Must See Films Playing at SXSW 2018
SXSW 2018 starts March 9, 2018, and this year SXSW is turning 30. While I have never attended the festival as press for anything other than film, I have attended a few interactive panels and comedy events over the past nine years since I started attending the festival. I always found incredible how large SXSW has become over the past 30 years. SXSW started off as a small music festival but has quickly morphed into this huge event that now not only celebrates music but film, television, social media, technology, education, and comedy as well.
This year’s SXSW film line-up features a lot of big studio films such as Paramount’s A Quiet Place, Universal’s Blockers, and Fox Searchlight’s Isle of Dogs but there are as always a lot of smaller films that are worthy of your attention too. What is also interesting to note about the line-up this year is that there are q quite a few films from past festivals playing. I do highly recommend checking out several of them and will be including them in my countdown below.
So now, without any further delay, here are my picks for the twelve must-see films playing at SXSW 2018. Please note: I do predict that there will be a few surprise screenings this year. While I cannot confirm or deny that these films will be, if you are attending SXSW Film, I would keep an eye out for some last minute Paramount additions on Saturday evening as well as Sunday evening.
You Can Choose Your Family
Miranda Bailey has produced several amazing independent films over the years from The Squid and the Whale to Swiss Army Man. Bailey tends to produce films that dare to be different and I admire her for supporting filmmakers that break the mold. This time around, Bailey isn’t just producing but also sitting in the directors’ chair for her first feature-length film. You Can Choose Your Family stars Jim Gaffigan as well as the up an coming Logan Miller. The plot of You Can Choose Your Family sounds incredibly original and is centered around Logan Miller’s character Phillip who discovers that his father Frank (Jim Gaffigan) is not only cheating on his mother but has another family. The film has a pretty wild concept and considering Gaffigan is known for producing big laughs, so I think this film will be incredibly funny and entertaining.
You Can Choose Your Family premieres at SXSW on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 7:30 pm at the Zach. There are two additional showings which can be found below:
Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 7:00 pm at the Alamo Lamar A
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 6:00 pm at the AFS Cinema
Olivia Wilde is such a talented actress with a proven track record that she can be comedic as well as dramatic. A Vigilante sounds like a very powerful drama about a woman who devotes her time to tracking down domestic abusers. This film sounds like it will be a heavy hitting drama and I won’t be surprised if Wilde knocks it out of the park with her performance. I was blown away when I saw her in the overlooked Meadowland from a few years back. As of late, Wilde has been very active in fighting for causes that she believes in and this film sounds like something that is right up her alley. I look forward to what I hope will be an award worthy performance by Wilde and a new talent discovery of the film’s director/writer Sarah Daggar Nickson.
A Vigilante will have its World Premiere at the festival on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 2:30 pm at the Paramount followed by three additional screenings at the time and locations listed below:
Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 7:45 pm at the Rollins Theater
Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 8:45 pm at the Alamo Lamar D
Saturday, March 17. 2018 at the Alamo Lamar A
While I am sort of over Orange is the New Black, I think Taylor Schilling is a very talented actress who takes on interesting material. Family has the potential of becoming one of the best dark comedies of the year. While I am the furthest thing away from being an Insane Clown Posse fan, I can’t help but be intrigued by the film’s plot description which revolves around Schilling’s character hating children yet has forced to look after her 12-year old niece who runs away to become a Juggalo. The film could honestly go either way but with Schilling and Kate McKinnon involved, I am hoping for a fun surprise.
Family plays three times during SXSW at the times and locations listed below:
Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 4:45 pm at the Stateside
Monday, March 11, 2018, at 2:15 pm at the Alamo Lamar B
Thursday, March 15, 2018, at 11:30 am at the Alamo Lamar E
Joey King is such a likable up and coming actress but she needs a great role and good material. The plot description of Summer ’03 sounds weird but weird in a good way. This is one of those films that just sounds too weird not to watch.
Summer ’03 premieres at SXSW on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 1:30 pm at the Stateside but will play at the two additional times and locations listed below:
Support the Girls
There is something about the plot description for Support the Girls that leads me to believe that this is going to be a surprise hit. The fact that it is a female-driven independent comedy that stars several talented and underrated actresses leads me to believe that this may be one of the most popular and best-reviewed films to come out of SXSW this year. Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula Brooklyn Decker, and AJ Michalka star in Andrew Bujalski’s latest film centered around a sports bar that seems to be poking fun at Hooters.
Support the Girls plays four times during SXSW at the times and locations listed below:
Friday, March 9, 2018, at 9 pm at the Zach
Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 2 pm at the Rollin Theater
Friday, March 16, 2018, at 7 pm at the Alamo Ritz 1
Saturday, March 17 at 11:30 am at the Alamo Lamar B
Hearts Beat Loud
My first of several must-see films that premiered at Sundance 2018 and have found their way to SXSW. Hearts Beat Loud stars Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons as a father and daughter who decide to start a band and record music together. The film is not only heartfelt and funny but it also highlights how talented Clemons is not only as an actress but as a singer. Hearts Beat Loud is the perfect film for SXSW because it is all about the power of music and daring to dream. I truly enjoyed this film and if you want to read more of my thoughts on it, feel free to check out my review of the film below:
Hearts Beat Loud plays at SXSW on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 7 pm at the Paramount.
Sorry to Bother You
Another Sundance goodie. Sorry to Bother You is one of the most creative and batshit crazy films that I have seen in quite some time. Boots Riley wrote and directed this feature film that stars Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson. Sorry to Bother You is one of those films that the less you know about it, the better you are. There is a lot going on in this film and while it might be considered “too out there” for everyone to enjoy, I think this film will hit big with the film festival crowd especially those at SXSW. If you are curious to read more about the film, you can check out my full review from Sundance by clicking on the link below:
Be sure to check out Sorry to Bother You at SXSW by attending one of the screenings listed below:
Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 4:30 pm at the Zach
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 7 pm at the Stateside
I haven’t gotten around to writing a review for Hereditary yet but I will say that the soon to be released A24 horror film is definitely something special especially if you consider yourself a fan of the horror genre and are tired of how must horror films follow a formula. Hereditary is such a standout film because it’s engaging, scary, and expertly acted. I do believe that the film does have the potential of being mentioned around award season because Toni Collette and Alex Wolff deliver two incredible performances. Hereditary is easily one of the most original horror films of the past decade with an ending that will leave you absolutely speechless.
Hereditary will be screening twice at SXSW with both screenings taking place at the time and location listed below:
Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 11:45 pm at the Alamo Lamar E
Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 11:55 pm at the Alamo Lamar D
The A24 Bo Burnham’s coming of age masterpiece was my second favorite film from Sundance 2018. The film which stars newcomer Elsie Fisher focuses on eighth-grader Kayla as she makes her way through the last week of middle school. The film is full of awkward situations and raw honesty. Coming-of-Age films are typically big hits with not only critics but audiences as well but what makes Eighth Grade so special is that it is told from a female point of view which is surprisingly still a rarity in film. You can read my full review of Eighth Grade by clicking on the link below:
Eighth Grade plays three times during SXSW at the times and locations listed below:
Friday, March 9, 2018, at 8:45 pm at the Alamo Lamar D
Monday, March 12, 2018, at 2:15 pm at the Zach
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 4:45 pm at the Alamo Ritz 1
Isle of Dogs
Wes Anderson, Stop Motion Animation, and a voice cast that includes Greta Gerwig, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and many others are three great reasons to see Isle of Dogs. Let me not forget to mention that the film is being released by Fox Searchlight who has a proven track record of picking some of the most creative and well-crafted films released.
Isle of Dogs is the SXSW closing night film and will have its North American premiere at the Paramount theater on Saturday, March 17, 2018.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Was my favorite film that I saw at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The Morgan Neville directed documentary was something that I wanted to see but wasn’t quite sure how I would ultimately feel about it. To my surprise, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? not only reminded me of how much I adored watching the show Mister Rogers Neighborhood as a child but it also opened my eyes to how much of a trailblazer Fred Rogers was from the mid-1960s to the late 90s. I adore this film and cannot recommend it enough. If you would like to read my full review of the film from Sundance, please click on the link below:
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Is playing at SXSW at the times and locations below:
Monday, March 12, 2018, at 4:45 pm at the Alamo Ritz 2
Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 1:45 pm at the Zach Theater
Most Likely To Murder
I have become such a huge fan of Rachel Bloom ever since I watched the pilot episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The edgy and creative musical comedy immediately hooked me which lead me back to Bloom’s early YouTube days. Bloom is such a smart and comedic talent who I greatly admire for pushing the envelope. Most Likely to Murder also stars Adam Pally, who I think is not only hilarious but underrated as an actor. Even though it has been off the air for about 6 years, I am still mourning the loss of Happy Endings and keep hoping that someone will bring it back for a 4th season.
Needless to say, being big fans of Bloom and Pally, I was so excited to hear about this film when it was announced about a year ago. Upon looking further into the project, I learned that Bloom’s husband Dan Gregor would be directing and co-writing, I knew that this film was going to be one of my most anticipated films of the year. While the SXSW line-up was fairly solid this year, I can’t even deny that when I saw Most Likely to Murder on the list, it made coming to SXSW exciting. I cannot wait to see it.
Most Likely to Murder Is playing at SXSW at the times and locations below:
Monday, March 12, 2018, at 7:00 pm at the Stateside (World Premiere)
Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 6:00 pm at the Alamo Lamar D
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 9:45 pm at the Alamo Lamar E
Those are my picks. How about you? What films are you most excited to see at SXSW 2018? Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know.