The 16 Must See Films of SXSW 2012

Re:Generation Music Project

Many people may flock to SXSW for the indie feature goodness, but I always tend to find myself camping out at the Drafthouse engrossed in the eclectic documentaries. That is why my most anticipated list features two noteworthy documentaries. RE:Generation may not be groundbreaking, but it’s the subjects within the story that capture my fancy.

Showcasing the talents of dubstep heavy hitter Skrillex, among other big electronics names, means no one in the theater will be able to keep from jamming out during some portion of the film. I can’t wait to look like a crazy person when I dance my way to the film I hit up after it. – Gwen Reyes

21 Jump Street

You know what? I’m cheating on this one. I’ve already seen Chris Miller and Phil Lord‘s take on the classic (sure?) television series back in January at a limited press screening that was met with resounding praise, applause, and hysterical laughter. I’ve been singing the praises of their funny, irreverent, clever, wholly unexpected film since then, and I’ll keep doing it until every last audience member at the Paramount laughs so hard that they wet themselves.

It’s the best comedy of the year (read: the past two and a half months) and I remain unconvinced that its title will be usurped throughout the rest of the calendar year. – Kate Erbland

The Do-Deca-Pentathalon

Wait, Mark and Jay Duplass wrote and directed a film about brothers that Mark is not starring in? What in the what is this? Next you’re going to tell me that they did this again. What?! Another one? (I kid – Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a goddamn gem and I’ve already seen it). Here’s the deal, if the brothers Duplass do something, I’m in.

And considering how much I loved Jeff back in November, I’m pretty psyched for The Do-Deca-Pentathalon, which they boys have been talking about for quite awhile now. Besides, the logline of “two brothers compete in their own private 25-event Olympics” seems primed for hilarity no matter who directs it (but it’s better with the Duplai). – Kate Erbland

Sun Don’t Shine

Amy Seimetz is, without question, an indie darling. Let’s review her acting resume for fun: Alexander the Last, Gabi on the Roof in July, Tiny Furniture, The Myth of the American Sleepover, The Dish & The Spoon, Silver Bullets, and You’re Next. But what has me most excited for her feature directorial debut is her haunting performance in The Off Hours (which I saw at last year’s Sundance, and which has unexpectedly stuck with me for those many months) and the fact that the plot to her Sun Don’t Shine is consider “top secret.”

Seimetz herself posted on the film’s IMDb page that “in a nutshell, it’s about two people on the road in Florida doing very bad things. Shot on Super 16mm, the film is inspired by Two-Lane Blacktop, Deliverance, Woman Under the Influence and reoccurring nightmares.” Um, that sounds fantastic. – Kate Erbland

God Bless America

Bobcat Goldthwait‘s  Sleeping Dogs Lie was an enjoyable debut feature, but it’s his hilarious dark comedy World’s Greatest Dad that showed he’s a true talent behind the camera. God Bless America doesn’t look to have some of the subtlety of his previous film, but it does come off as a fun and wicked wish-fulfillment road/killing spree movie, and how often do we get those? – Jack Giroux

Killer Joe

Another collaboration between Tracy Letts and William Friedkin, the two minds behind the horrific and lovely Bug? Count me in. The buzz was mixed for Friedkin’s stage adaptation out of the Toronto International Film Festival, but all the criticisms I heard only make me more excited to see the film. Featuring desperate morons making horrible decisions? That’s my kind of film. – Jack Giroux


With Killer Joe, Bernie, Jeff Nichols’s Mud, and Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, this is the year when Matthew McConaughey shows us once again that he’s a great actor, not just a romantic comedy star. He reminded us last year with The Lincoln Lawyer that he’s got real chops, but now he’s got four potential quality films this year, all made by respectable auteur filmmakers.

My excitement for McConaughey aside, I’ll be first in line for any Richard Linklater film, and the Bernie trailer showed dark comedic promise. – Jack Giroux


Editor’s note: Salisbury is anticipating his pick so intensely that we just let him riff on it for a few full paragraphs instead of making him pen three mini-paragraphs about three different films. He simply couldn’t be stopped.

The horror anthology used to be a thriving beast, no longer. Now a sad little runt stumbles out every few years, paling in comparison to its progenitors in both the quality of the framing device and the impact of the individual stories. Most recently, we were burned by the slop-over-substance Chillerama which ultimately amounted to one repetitive joke at which few of us felt compelled to laugh.

What we have no shortage of, however, is the recently resurrected gimmick of the found footage horror flick. While the latter may be rapidly running its course and knocking on the door of forgettable white noise, an unholy marriage between found footage and the horror anthology may be just what each subgenre needs. That’s one reason I’m stoked to see V/H/S at SXSW. Each vignette within V/H/S is itself a short found footage film arranged around the story of a group of burglars tasked with recovering an ominous VHS tape from an even ominous-er house.

The other reason I’m so excited to feast my eyeballs on this V/H/S has to do with the talent pool collected to collaborate on this monster. Namely, I’m intrigued to see directors Glenn McQuaid (I Sell The Dead), Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way to Die), Ti West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), and David Bruckner (one of the vignettes of The Signal).

Most of these guys are also responsible for writing their segments, but I’m also thrilled to see Simon Barrett‘s (You’re Next, A Horrible Way to Die) name amongst the writer credits. With the preponderance of brilliant up-and-comers involved, the merger of two subsets of horror, and the fact that audiences at Sundance were so smitten, I forsee V/H/S being one of my favorites of the fest. –Brian Salisbury

Are you coming to SXSW? If so, what are you looking forward to seeing?

Wipe the BBQ sauce off your mitts and read the rest of our SXSW coverage

The FSR Staff is an author similar to Hydra. Its articles have many authors. It has many heads. Please don't cut off any of its heads, we're trying to work here.

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