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    By | October 24, 2010

    Day 3 of Austin Film Festival was supposed to begin with me attending the “A Conversation with David Peoples” panel at 9:00am, but I decided to sleep in instead; and if I didn’t have an 11:00am interview scheduled with Mark Potts, Cole Selix and Brand Rackley from S&M Lawn Care I probably would have stayed in bed even longer. But it was worth rolling out of bed to chat with Mark, Cole and Brand — three of the most genuinely nice (and funny) guys in the movie business. I walked away with about an hour’s worth of content, and I’m looking forward to transcribing every minute of it. If you have not seen S&M Lawn Care, do yourself a kindness and attend Sunday’s 7:45pm screening at the Alamo Ritz.

    Speaking of the Alamo Ritz (my transition skills amaze me sometimes), that is where I headed next — to see Echotone with Dave Campbell. Having been an Austin musician for a significant chunk of my Austin life, I was pretty interested in what Echotone had to say about the scene. Belaire, Dana Falconberry, Ghostland Observatory, Sound Team and {{{Sunset}}} are some of my favorite Austin bands and I really enjoyed their footage; and if Echotone had one success for me, it was in making me really want to check out Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. I found Robert Garza’s cinematography to be quite beautiful — even the talking head interviews were nicely crafted. Really, the only thing that I did not think worked 100% in Echotone was the footage concerning the sound ordinance battle, primarily because it did not mesh with the rest of the film. I will get to that more in my forthcoming review. There was also a pretty interesting Q&A afterwards, which I had to exit early in order to scurry over to the Austin Convention Center for Modern Imbecile’s Planet World.

    So, yes, next on my agenda was Modern Imbecile’s Planet World. To be honest, I am still digesting this one. To call the plot and acting imbecilic would probably sound like a bad thing, but it definitely works for this film. Besides, to call a film titled Modern Imbecile’s Planet World imbecilic would just be…well…imbecilic. There are tons of clever referential sight gags and the writers-actors knack for wordplay was a lot of fun. Completely absurd and ridiculous, films like Modern Imbecile’s Planet World can be a real challenge for me to review. More than anything, the question I keep asking myself is: was Modern Imbecile’s Planet World so bad its good or so bad its horrible? Admittedly, I laughed a lot…so…I think its the former.

    The subject of laughing is an excellent lead-in to the next film on my agenda — Every Day which is yet another heart-wrenching drama about a failing relationship. I cannot say that I enjoyed the content of Every Day — because the last thing I feel like seeing on the silver screen these days is very realistic portrayals of failing relationships — but the acting and writing really impressed me. I have had a long-standing love/hate relationship with Helen Hunt, and Every Day turned out to be my favorite performance of hers in quite a while. Liev Schreiber gives one of his strongest performances to date as well. I wish I could say the same thing about Eddie Izzard — not that I hated his performance, but it was pretty much what I have come to expect from Izzard (foul-mouthed and condescending gay man). In taking down my notes for Every Day, I have been trying to pin down what exactly the film was trying to say about gays. There was something unsettling to me about the way the gay characters were portrayed, but I have yet to put my finger on exactly what it was.

    Dax Shepard’s mockumentary Brother’s Justice was next, and I had no idea what to expect. I know Shepard from his role as Frito in Idiocracy; otherwise I could not name another film he has been in. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am not a fan of Shepard per se, but Dave Campbell seemed excited about the film (and he will be interviewing Shepard on Sunday morning) and I really needed a good laugh after watching Every Day. And Brother’s Justice definitely has its share of good laughs. There are some really slow parts, but otherwise I enjoyed Brother’s Justice. Dax Shepard’s Q&A after the film was even funnier than the film itself.

    I’m glad we stuck around for the Brother’s Justice Q&A, because the situation during the first half hour of the Conference Wrap Party at Sullivan’s Steakhouse sounded pretty dire. When Dave and I arrived, they had already stopped letting people in (from what I hear, people were packed in like sardines). Within 10 minutes or so, more space was made available to AFF in Sullivan’s Steakhouse and they began to pile more people inside. Problem was there was no Dos Equis waiting for us — they were just putting it on ice as we walked up to the bar (we were flat-out ignored for at least 15 minutes because the waitstaff did not seem to want to break the news to any of us that we had to wait for our cold free beer). Then after one free lukewarm Dos Equis, they had already run out of beer; so Dave and I were “forced” to drink two very tall and very potent margaritas (presumably with Camarena tequila). God knows how long it had been since I drank tequila (or any liquor for that matter), so Sunday morning promised to be pure hell…

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