SXSW Day 3: Look at All My Shit
I hate Socrates or whoever invented Daylight Savings Time. We don't need to go in the future an hour.
Sunday broke me. Not only did I have to wake up super early so I can get an SXXpress pass to skip the line for Spring Breakers, but I also ran out of energy drinks at 1pm, meaning the rest of my day was a haze comparable to heroin withdrawal. I caught four movies yesterday, each vastly different in quality and Dylan-tolerance. I also walked out of my first movie of the festival, an act I have only done one other time in my life (the first time being Ted). And finally, I slept in — albeit on a couch and I was using a space heater as a blanket. Still, I didn't have an alarm; I was at peace. Which means I was so tired I wonked out on Nick Hanover's couch and he drew stuff on me. Fuck that guy.
12 O'Clock Boys
D: Lotfy Nathan
This was the first film I watched a trailer for during my SXSW research, and remained the movie I was most excited for. 12 O'Clock Boys, the first film from my most favorite named person since Benedict Cumberbatch, Lofty Nathan, documents the life of Pug, a precocious 10-year-old that tries to join a birt bike gang, the 12 O'Clock Boys in Baltimore, Maryland. The 12 O'Clock Boys are a group of men that get together every sunday to ride dirt bikes and ATVs through the city, weaving in an out of traffic and popping wheelies, all while the police just watch, due to "no chase" laws. The struggle between the city trying to stop the what they see as deviance and what the 12 O'Clock Boys see as an alternative to gang violence adds to the fascinating portrait that is the city of Baltimore.
But Pug is the real star. He loves dirt bikes, more so than school and even friends. Everyday, he's out from 9am to 7pm, riding his bike, trying to perfect his skill so that one day he can ride in the flock. He is so charming, along with his mother Coco, with whom we share a favorite Sade song. This movie could have turned into another look at inner-city poverty and ghetto life, but it knows that the more interesting story is that of the dirt bike gang. And even though this is Lofty Nathan's first movie, he knows how to make a small documentary feel larger than life, due greatly to the almost angelic slo-mo shots of the gang riding bikes through the city.This is the movie you hope to discover during SXSW.
D: M. Blash
More like "The Wut," amirite? (I'm so sorry). As I watched this film, I couldn't help but think that it was very focused satire of modern indie films. The plot sounded simple enough: A woman receives a phone call from a psychic telling her that her recently deceased mother would come back to life in a few days. Sounds like a tense meditation on loss and grief, right? Wrong, instead, we are treated to 90 minutes of a fever dream filtered through a Bon Iver video. Chole Sevigny and Jena Malone walk through the film in full-on "frightened rabbit" mode, while Chole's character's preteen daughter phonetically reads her lines. Also, the sisters seem to have a brother that's the same age as the daughter, that lives in a rapist tent in the woods to hide from his gay friend. I think.
One of my favorite videos online is titled simply "Ken Lee," showing a woman auditioning for Bulgarian Idol, singing Mariah Carey's "Without You," but actually doesn't know English, so she just sings "Ken Lee, a libudibudouchu" and it's the funniest goddamned thing in the entire world. The Wait is "Ken Lee," in that technically it's a film, but it just has no idea how to make a story. Or plot. Or characters. Or anything.
D: Carlos Puga
I walked out of this film early, because I was reading heavy "Garden State 2.0," but with Charlie from Girls instead of Zack Braff. And no one needs that. All that you need to know is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was in my screening, fell asleep about 20 minutes into it.
D: Harmony Korine
I saw this movie with Tony Danza, therefore every screening of this film will be inferior compared to mine. But that's besides the point. This is it, guys. Spring Breakers, the Harmony Korine/James Fanco/Selena Gomez/Vanessa Hudgens/Skrillex film, finally happened to me. The Scarface for the 21st century, the film opens with the most poetic Girls Gone Wild/"Scary Monster and Nice Sprites" montage ever set to film. Cotton candy colored and quickly cut, Spring Breakers uses color and lights as interestingly as Gaspar Noe's Enter The Void.
The plot is simple, and through the technicolor haze, remains simple. Four co-eds want to go to Florida for spring break, so they rob a restaurant to fund their adventures. After everything goes swimmingly, the girls live their dream spring break with thousands of other people, weed, beaches, cocaine, bongs and beautiful men in jock straps that didn't get enough screentime. But naturally after destroying a hotel (not a room, a hotel), they get arrested, only to be bailed out miraculously by Alien. Alien, a local rapper/drug dealer/arms dealer, is played by James Franco channeling his inner Matthew McConaughey and Lil Jon. This may be my favorite Franco performance, due to his incredible skill of switching between loving to terrifying to scarred to rip-roaringly hilarious, all on the turn of a dime. I can only wish for an Academy Award nomination, just to see his Oscar clip.
There are two specific scenes that feel instantly classic. The first, Alien shows off all of is stuff, from his nunchucks to his dark tanning oil. It starts off innocently enough, but quickly evolves into a Killer Joe-esque nightmare. The second, I don't want to spoil, but it may be the greatest montage ever put to film. Even if you hate the rest of this film, it is impossible to hate this montage. It may sound hyperbolic, but for a film that deals so heavily in absolutes, it only makes sense to call Spring Breakers the pinnacle of human achievement.
< p class="p3">Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living in Austin, TX. He is studying sociology, and when he's not winning trivia nights at pork-themed restaurants, writing a collection of essays on the gay perspective in geek culture. An avid record collector, Dylan can mostly be seen at Waterloo Records, holding that one God Speed You! Black Emperor record he can't afford and crying. You can follow him on Twitter @garseed.