Sunday, March 14, 2010

Festivus: 2010!

As Willy the Shakes reminds us, beware the Ides of March...

...but then again, Shakespeare never went to SXSW. And this year, I'm a guy who really needs some good ol' fashioned Festivus..., after a week in San Francisco Adjacent, working on my latest gig (VIE...stay tuned for more details!) and a schmancy meal of sushi and champagne with my Bulgarian employers and a half dozen or so French game designers, I flew into Austin on Saturday and met with my host family, Scott and Maury the Wonder ChiBeagle.

After a much needed pitcher of Shiner Bock and a chicken club sandwich at the Casino el Camino, Scott and I strolled over to the Paramount for the premiere screening of Cyrus, the studio debut of mumblecore All-Stars Jay and Mark Duplass (of Humpday, Baghead and Puffy Chair fame).

With their big Hollywood budget (i.e., less than the cost of one Na'avi from Avatar), the Duplasses (Duplassi? Duplee?) were able to afford big name talent like John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener for their tale of a schlubby divorcee who starts dating a dreamy single mom with a possessive, passive-aggressive son.

The film was sporadically funny in the rambling, verité style that gives mumblecore its name (and also tends to alienate more caffeinated viewers), but the Q&A after the screening was even better as improv ninjas Reilly and Hill skewered the typically inane questioners who thrive on opportunities to hear themselves talk in large groups of people. "If I understand correctly, you're asking whether I took the role for an opportunity to wrap my leg around Marisa Tomei," Hill deadpanned to some audience member at one point. "The answer is no. And also, you are an asshole."

After the premiere, jet-lag kicked in and Scott and I retired to South Austin, but stay tuned as Festivus week continues!


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