Hello filmsters, can you believe it is March already? That means that SXSW is right around the corner. In fact, SXSW will kick off this Friday, March 7th in Austin, TX. This year, SXSW Film is home to 125 feature length films and documentaries. These 125 films don’t include any television premieres or any of the short films also showing at the fest.
If you are one of the thousands of people that head to SXSW each year, you know how hard it is to pick out what films you should see. Hopefully, this list will help you pick a film or two to add to your schedule. Below you will find my top 10 recommendations for SXSW Film 2014. As you will notice, some of these films will be Premieres, while others will be films that are showing at SXSW that have played at other festivals previously.
10. What We Do In The Shadows – The story of three friends dealing with regular every day life. Did I mention they happen to be ancient vampires? Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, best known for their work on Flight of the Concords, wrote, directed, and star in the film. Shadows is a spoof on the modern day vampire flick and it premiered at Sundance back in January. I personally didn’t have a chance to see the film but based on the hype as well as the quirky and odd plot, I will definitely have to check it out at SXSW.
9. Joe – Nicolas Cage makes a come back. Unlike many, I personally always liked Nicolas Cage. There is no denying that the man has been in some really shitty movies, but there is also no denying that he is fucking awesome when he wants to be. I saw Joe at TIFF last year and was extremely impressed with the film. Joe is a coming of age and revenge tale that co-stars Tye Sheridan from Mud with Matthew McConaughey. The film is without a doubt the best role for Nicolas Cage since Adaptation back in 2002. If you are looking for a film that really showcases why people love Nicolas Cage or how he won an Academy Award, well than make sure Joe is on your “must see” list.
8. Harmontown – Everyone knows Dan Harmon as the creator of Community. What many don’t know about Dan Harmon, is that he is an asshole. This documentary follows Dan Harmon as he goes on a comedy tour after being fired from his own show. As a fan of Community and knowing that season four was not the same without him, I can’t wait to see the story behind the firing and his epic return told through various friends and co-workers.
7. Beyond Clueless – I am a child of the 80s and 90s so coming-of-age films were always a guilty pleasure of mine. The 80s and 90s were home to some of the best teenager driven comedies and dramas and Beyond Clueless is going to explore them even further. By dissecting 200 coming of age films, Beyond Clueless hopes to find just what it is that makes this genre so popular with audiences.
6. Creep – The last two festival films that starred Mark Duplass were Safety Not Guaranteed and The One I Love. I absolutely adored both, so I am excited to see Creep. This film sounds a lot different than anything Duplass has ever done before and considering he is co-writer on the film, I am sure it will be good. The film follows a videographer as he responds to a job offer on craigslist that turns into something unexpected. The premise sounds like its going to be a weird one, but those are usually the best types of films to see at festivals.
5. Ping Pong Summer – Another Sundance flick that I missed out on. Summer sounds like The Way Way Back with hip-hop music and ping pong. I am a sucker for coming of age films so it shouldn’t be a complete shock this made my list. I do wonder if this will be another sleeper hit of the summer such as Way Way Back and Kings of Summer, but only time will tell.
4. Stage Fright – A horror comedy that’s a full on musical. I don’t need to know anything else about the film, because I am already sold!
3. Space Station 76 – The 1970s is the future. That isn’t a typo, this is a sci-fi dramedy set as if the 1970’s is the future. The film focuses on a group of people and robots that live on a space station and are pretty content with their lives until a new assistant captain arrives. Upon this captain’s arrival, the group begins to confront their darkest feelings and change things forever. The premise sounds promising and with a solid indie cast that includes SXSW regular Patrick Wilson and Matt Bomer this is a must see at this years festival.
2. Boyhood – Richard Linklater does it again! I already got to witness the awesomeness that is Boyhood at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, but I loved the film so much that I will probably be seeing it again at SXSW. The film tells the story of a family over a series of 12 years. The primary focus in on Mason played by Ellar Coltrane who actually grows up throughout this film. It is honestly one of the most unique film experiences that I have ever experienced and Linklater’s solid storytelling, dialogue, and direction shines once again in this film. I sincerely urge you to check out Boyhood at SXSW, if you haven’t already seen it.
1. Veronica Mars – I have always had a soft spot for Kristen Bell and this show was my introduction to her as an actress. Veronica Mars is based on a cult television series that ran for 3 seasons in 2004 to 2007, but due to poor ratings was cancelled in its 3rd season. The series had a huge cult fan base that has been begging for a film to continue Mars‘ story. Last year, the shows creator Rob Thomas, launched a Kick-Starter campaign to raise money for the film since Warner Brothers wouldn’t back the film financially. The campaign raised about 6 million dollars and brought Veronica Mars back from the grave. If you haven’t seen the show, I would highly recommend that you check it out. The show is smartly written, paced, and directed. It is an interesting mix of comedy and mystery which proves that Bell can do more than just smile and look cute in front of a camera. Over these past few weeks, I have revisited the first three seasons with my wife and the show was even better than I remembered. Needless to say, I am pumped that Veronica Mars is premiering at SXSW with most of the cast attending the premiere and hosting the Q&A afterwards.
While there are several other films that I am interested in seeing during the festival run, the above films are the ones that I am most excited for. If you want to see my entire SXSW film festival schedule, please feel free to click here. If you are going to the festival, don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello. I always love meeting new film lovers.
Happy SXSW 2014!