By Deborah Hamilton-Lynne
As I write this letter, the annual Academy Awards are just days away. This year, there is much anticipation to see how one of our hometown heroes, Richard Linklater, and his crew will fare with Boyhood. Here’s hoping that this remarkable film will get the recognition and respect it richly deserves. Anyone who knows me well knows that one of the great loves of my life and one of my fondest guilty pleasures is watching films. I love them. Good, bad, long, short, documentaries, dramas, comedies, chick flicks, indies, blockbusters—I love them all. Every year, I look forward to a vacation with film-loving friends in Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival, and I thank my lucky stars when South By Southwest Film and the Austin Film Festival roll around. It should come as no surprise that I am thrilled to have Tim League on our cover for this issue.
Confession: I am a Tim League fan. I love his creative entrepreneurial spirit and vision for the Alamo Drafthouse franchise. I love how his programming mirrors the spirit and soul of Austin. I love that he loves Austin. I love that he shares my love of film. I love the way he has his priorities straight (see family photos and daughters). Not only is he an innovative, creative type, but he is also a savvy and visionary businessman. Read his story and I am sure you will agree.
As spring comes to ATX, so come festivals: Moontower Comedy, Austin Food + Wine Festival and the granddaddy of them all, South By Southwest. ATX Man reached out for an overview from our 2014 spring cover man and SXSW Interactive Director Hugh Forrest.
We included the pretty women of SXSW, our sirens and musician Sarah Lipstate, four bands to take in, a profile of Sascha Guttfreund and lots of info in The Buzz section and online to get you through those jam-packed 10 days in March. If SXSW isn’t your thing, Steve Habel dishes up the perfectly tranquil Southern California escape: the famed La Costa Resort & Spa. The Legislature will be in full swing as we go into March, April and May. Lots of deal making and deal breaking goes on after hours, and ATX Man found the perfect location in Malverde to show off those looks. Matt McGinnis explores Austin’s cocktail scene and reveals Austin’s best bartenders.
If you find yourself downtown, drop into the new JW Marriott and check out three new restaurants with menus concepted by Chef Juan Martinez. Spring is also the best time to get outside in Austin, so we took a look at gear and gadgets to get you out on the water and hitting the trails. If it’s excitement you are looking for, look no further than the COTA MotoGP in April. We’ve got the scoop on who and what to look out for.
In the words of our Last Word columnist, Roy Spence, spring is the season for liberation, and as I look through this issue and the men and stories featured in it, I realize one thing they have in common is that they have thrown off the bowlines to explore, dream and discover. Austin is the perfect place to do just that. Let us know what you learn or discover as you go forth this spring. We love to hear from you!
Tim League and I had the chance to discuss our thoughts on the films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and joked about the differences in our choices. While we agreed on Best of Enemies, I thought The Wolfpack left many unanswered questions and was disturbing. That is the great thing about film: There is something for every interest, every taste and every personality. See you at the movies.
Tim’s Sundance Must-See Films:
Cop Car (thriller)
Two kids find an abandoned cop car out in the boonies and decide to go for a joyride. That ends up being a bad idea. This is a taut, tense thriller with great performances by Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon’s mustache and two very natural child actors.
Best of Enemies (documentary)
The new doc by Morgan Neville, who took home the Oscar last year for Twenty Feet From Stardom, pits Gore Vidal against William F. Buckley in a series of fateful debates about the presidential conventions in 1968. This battle of diametrically opposed but equally skilled mental titans forever changed the face of TV news.
The Wolfpack (documentary)
Seven Peruvian siblings live in a squalid Lower Eastside Manhattan tenement. They are cut off from the world by overprotective parents but are not cut off from the world of movies. They spend their sheltered days filming low-fi versions of their favorite Hollywood movies.
The Witch (horror)
This was the first movie I saw at Sundance and it remained at the top of the list for the whole week. It’s creepy, atmospheric and genuinely disturbing. This was a great year for child performances too. The performances by all the children in The Witch are amazing.
Call Me Lucky (documentary)
I had never heard of Barry Crimmins before wandering into this film. I now know him to be one of the most important voices in modern comedy. He’s a trailblazer himself but also gave a start to a huge number of today’s big comedy stars. What starts out as a light-hearted comedy biopic, however, takes an unexpected dramatic turn about halfway through the film.
Deb’s Sundance Must-See Films:
I’ll See You In My Dreams (dramatic feature)
This is one of the funniest chick flicks I have ever seen. Our entire group laughed from beginning to end, and there are the most hilarious medical-marijuana scenes in the history of filmmaking. The film stars Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott and Rhea Perlman, among others, and Director Brett Haley has concocted a charming look at relationships as characters grow older.
Racing Extinction (documentary)
This film will change your life. Academy Award winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) hits another home run with a look at mass extinction and what loss of those endangered species will mean. I made a pledge to severely cut back on my consumption of meat as a result of seeing this film. Shocking and disturbing undercover footage educated me and changed the way I want to live. This film was funded in part by Austin’s own John Paul DeJoria and his PLH Foundation.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (dramatic feature)
Touching and tender, this film was so moving that one in our group saw it twice. It is a coming-of-age film brilliantly executed. It left me contemplating the meaning of life and true friendship.
Brooklyn (dramatic feature)
I’m a sucker for anything Irish, and this romantic film set in the 1950s did not disappoint. It’s all about the choices we make when we are torn between duty and desire, and those choices are an ocean apart.