In the past I've done these photo diary posts for Comic-Con and Sundance, so I thought, why not do another one for SXSW? That's way easier than coming up with something new! And for you, it'll be just like you're here, but without any of the good parts. So anyway, here goes. Above, you can see the placard for the Vimeo Theater panel entitled, "A Conversation with Matthew McConaughey," which didn't turn out quite as amazing as I'd hoped, mainly due to a distinct lack of shirtlessness or talk of borrowed hoodies. But it was still unmissable for obvious reasons. We'll get to all that in a second, but in the meantime - is this not some of the most intriguing signage ever?! Controversial, but I say yes.
Here's Tim Heidecker onstage at the IFC house to introduce the Jash show. It's okay that those words mean nothing to you right now. Great picture, right?? Of course not. That's because we were packed in there so tight like sardines that the hum of people talking and saying "excuse me" as they tried to find a better vantage point was almost as loud as anything onstage. Tim and Eric valiantly tried to quiet everyone down, but it didn't really work. As you can imagine, that environment wasn't especially conducive to comedy. One of the drawbacks of live comedy is that, unlike music, the audience has to pay really close attention for it to work. At least, I think. I usually just assume my audience would be rolling in the aisles if only they had paid a little closer attention to my amazing jokes. Right, you guys? ...Guys? Anyway, I have an even worse picture of Eric Wareheim that I won't bore you with. He is a very large man.
Oh man, if you like blurry pictures, you'll LOVE this shot of Sarah Silverman that I got hanging over a balcony. I think she had a good set, from what I could gather when people weren't shoving by me saying "excuse me." There were a couple rape jokes, I think. I saw Michael Cera upstairs. Cool story, huh? Big up to Jason somethingorother and his buddy with the beard, who recognized me from FilmDrunk when I was standing in line by myself being all sad not knowing anyone. They bought me a beer and I tried to reciprocate with a round for them and all their friends, but I lost them in the crowd and ended up having to quadruple fist it. In that moment I would've had a hard time explaining that FilmDrunk is supposed to mean drunk on films and not seeing films drunk like everyone asks. I can see how people would miss that distinction.
Is everything bigger in Texas? The rain sure as f*ck is. I don't think I've ever gotten that drenched as the thunderstorm on night one. My shoes still haven't dried out. (Don't worry, these pictures will get better, I promise).
Here we have the official car of Austin, with the official uniform of Austin there in the foreground - ray bans, sleeveless tee, cutoff jeans. I do like the cutoff jeans look, but I don't want to ruin a pair of my good skinny jeans to achieve it. What to do??
By the way, the mom-jeanshort epidemic seems to have hit Austin especially hard. We should do a benefit.
Here's Matthew McConaughey arriving to his panel, with Scott Foundas. Mr. McConaughey didn't arrive shirtless, nor did he at any point suggest stripping off all his clothes and playing the bongos. And as they say, it would've been a lot cooler if he did. Though he did begin the panel by saying "Alright alright alright." That's the kind of pandering I can get behind.
Just before he arrived, a sassy black lady near me explained how she'd nicknamed him "McConaughhot." Because he's hot, get it? That lady was very excited. She's not wrong.
McConaughey said that playing Wooderson in Dazed and Confused has "informed my approach for the last 20 years." Oh, we know, McConaughey, we know.
McConaughey makes his life sound like it's been one long chill keg party. He got the part in Dazed and Confused while he was a a junior at UT. He used to go to the Hyatt bar in Austin because he had a friend from film school who worked there and could get him free beer. One night he was at the Hyatt, and there was a producer at the end of the bar. McConaughey's friend made him go talk to the producer. So he did, and eventually charmed his way into a meeting with Richard Linklater. Bingo bango bongos he was Wooderson. Matthew McConaughey's life, a history of things working out fine.
McConaughey went back and finished school after Dazed and Confused, and as soon as he graduated drove out to Malibu to sleep on the Dazed casting director's couch. He wanted "LA Woman" by The Doors playing just as he rolled into town, but jumped the gun (the first Sunset exit isn't actually that close to LA) and ended up having to listen to it 30 times in a row.
After he got there, he ended up getting the part in both of his first two auditions. For his second, for Angels in the Outfield (starring a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the part was for a baseball player. So McConaughey bought an old baseball hat at a 7/11, and walked in the room with the sun streaming in behind him, looking like a strapping (for an actor) bronze Texas God-king. The director asked, "Have you played any ball?" "For 12 years," McConaughey told him. "You're hired," said the director.
Like I said, life is one big chilled out bro down when you're Matthew McConaughey.
Though he wasn't quite the laidback, Texas Spicoli caricature I'd hoped for, McConaughey was actually pretty engaging and articulate. At one point, talking about the shift between when he stopped taking rom-com scripts and started getting more independent roles, he said, "Independents come without the ropes that pull them to the center." That's actually a pretty goddamned smart thing to say. I'm probably going to steal that.
My favorite one liner was McConaughey on his character in Mud: "He's stepped in sh*t so many times he starts to think it's good luck."
I don't know what the hell that means, but it sounds cool. Keep on livin', McConaughey.
And here we are inside the gun range for the Loves Her Gun outing. The walls were decorated with all the different types of animals you can kill with your guns. It's kind of like the back of the Triscuit box, with all the suggestions of what you can do with them (hat tip, Mitch Hedberg).
Here's a badass cougar. By the way, stuffed animals are cool. I think more people should be stuffed. Can you imagine how awesome it would be if Arnold Schwarzenegger had died in his prime and been stuffed, permanently locked in one of his Mr. Olympia poses? That would be the most sought-after piece of celebrity memorabilia ever. If I owned that, I'd just be cumming all the time. In the gym, in the car, on my bear-skin rug, in front of my stuffed preserved Arnold. Everywhere. Cumming all the time.
The blonde girl was from Scotland and had never shot before, so the other lady in the blue was giving her tips on how to do it with a plastic gun. "It's just like this, but it goes 'bang! bang!'" I think was the gist of it.
They didn't give me a new target (GARBAGE) so I aimed for the head so I could at least see where my shots were going. Those two in the middle there were mine. You have the right to remain unimpressed.
That's the director on the left there, and the gun range guy in the middle, in the midst of giving us the "don't shoot your eye out like a f*cking idiot" speech. He looks like a guy who works at a gun range, don't he?
Hi, I'm a huge dork. Sorry, it's just that the camera adds ten pounds to my face, kinda like Eric Stoltz in Mask. I'm actually quite handsome in person.
WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION, NUMBNUTS!
I want this above my sh*tter. And by that I mean my toilet, not my actual butthole. That would be cool too, but I don't think I have the real estate.
I can confirm that it was indeed Ladies Day, and that many pistol-packin' mommas took advantage of it. Pow! Pow! Don't tread on me!
Here's Buck and Elayne Angel during the post-screening Q & A for Mr. Angel. It was a very sweet movie, as we've been over. If Buck wasn't engaging it wouldn't have been much of a movie.
I don't know about you, but Josh Duhamel trying to look all serious cracks me the hell up. It's like a labrador wearing a ball cap.
Here's my seat for Spring Breakers. I don't think I could've reached the stage with a rock, and you all know I have a laser rocket arm. It's probably the biggest film of the festival, which meant we were waiting in line for an hour, and then they started the film almost 40 minutes late. The programmer came out and asked, "So, you guys excited for Spring Breakers?!" To which most of us silently (or loudly) responded, "We were a f*cking hour ago!"
Here's Harmony Korine telling us about fat, well-endowed surfers with erections. There was talk of Kool Aid and nunchuks, which Korine and James Franco both pronounced "numchuks." I don't know what it is, but I hear "numchuk," part of me is always going to think the speaker might be kind of dumb, much like saying "flick someone off" instead of "flip someone off."
The girls were asked if they had any reservations about the script or the project. Selena Gomez said "I didn't have too many reservations." Well ooh la la, you bad girl. I guess once you've dated a swaggy bad boy like Justin Bieber, nothing can scare you.
I included this one for the Frotcast listeners and Fake Bret fans. You're welcome, both of you. The SXSW interactive trade show was pretty much wall to wall arcane slogans like this. Note to all startups and trade show attendees: no one's going to ask about your f*cking t-shirt anymore, so you might as well spell it out. On that note, another highlight was the SyFy Channel taco truck blaring electro music at a million decibels at 10 am for a crowd of fat 40-somethings with neckbeards. Solid work, guys, we all know you're super hip now. The other fun one is all the companies incorporating memes from six months ago. Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. But... just stop, seriously.
The robot lady scared me.
Here's Reggie Watts, who I got to see twice this week. His fro is goddamned enormous. I don't know how he gets in cars with that thing.
Reggie's act is basically a live version of Bobby McFerrin, where he makes all the noises with his mouth and uses an iPhone app to loop sounds on the fly and create a massive wall of sound. I can't decide whether it's deceptively simple or deceptively complex, but it's basically impossible to see without thinking, "well that guy's a f*cking genius."
Only in the tech world would "pivoting" become a buzzword. It doesn't speak well of your industry when "switching to a business model that actually makes money" feels like a fresh enough concept to spawn its own buzzword. "PIVOTDESK.COM, your experts in '??? profit!'"
(Sorry pivotdesk.com, I don't feel like looking up what you actually do.) The desks didn't swivel, by the way.
Here's Amy Seimetz, lead actress in Primer director Shane Carruth's Upstream Color, at the post-screening Q & A. After a screening of one of the most impenetrable movies I've ever seen, she played with her hair and grabbed her elbow like this, and the first thing she said about the movie was "It's like, why are there cars that drive on the streets and people going to work and why do people die, you know?"
Um, no, you're going to have to elaborate on that, we didn't take the same mushrooms before this.
At one point, someone asked them about the process of making the movie, and Amy's answer was "Well, it's Shane, you know?" At which point the girl sitting next to me had had enough and screamed, "NO, WE DON'T KNOW! WE DON'T KNOW SHANE SO YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ELABORATE!"
I felt that girl's frustration.
Another guy asked for the actors' literal interpretation of the plot of the film (actually a good question, under the circumstances). Amy Seimetz asked incredulously, "You just saw a Shane Carruth movie and you want a literal interpretation? Just stop!"
I think I liked the movie, but it always bugs me when actors (and people in general) just assume anything people don't understand must be super smart. As if inscrutability in and of itself is the hallmark of high art.
One of the other actors (Andrew Sensenig, I believe) described the plot as "it's about finding your pig," which actually did make me enjoy the movie more, oddly. More on that one later. For now I'll simply say: don't trust any critic who tweeted their reaction to Upstream Color three seconds after it ended.
Saw this band at about 1:30 last night at a bar with the 5-Second Films dudes. I think they were called The Foxes. It took them about an hour to set up. I know this makes me sound a million years old, but seeing a "band" that consists entirely of two dudes playing echo-y computer sounds (and also keyboard and drums, sort of) while a chick who looks like Zooey Deschanel sings over it, is depressing as hell. Is playing an old fashioned instrument in a song with melodies that I could hum really that square? Off my lawn with you, poncey twats.
That's it for now. I'll be back with another or two of these in a few days.