My Sucky Teen Romance

Austin Cinematic Limits

I have been anxiously awaiting Fantastic Fest 2012 (September 20-27) ever since the carnivalesque tomfoolery of the Fantastic Fest 2011 closing party. Year after year, Tim League and the Fantastic Fest programmers have totally blown me away with their impeccable curating of genre films. And the parties… Oh, the parties! If my liver could talk, the stories it would tell… If history serves, Fantastic Fest 2012 will continue to expand upon its awesomeness, so this year will probably be ten times more amazing than last year’s festival. The announcements that Fantastic Fest has made so far with the first wave and second wave of programming have already solidified the fact that this will be the best damn Fantastic Fest of them all. First off, Tim Burton will be in attendance at the world premiere of Frankenweenie on the opening night of Fantastic Fest 2012. Sure, I have not been a fan of most of his recent work, but that makes him no less of a cinematic genius in my mind. And, while on the subject of this year’s festival guests, I pretty much peed my pants with excitement when I heard that Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be coming to Fantastic Fest with their film Looper. Color me thrilled!

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The Week That Was

What is The Week That Was? Lets take a guess here, shall we? If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’d know that we put a lot of words on the internet. Chances are that you didn’t have time to sit by your computer screen and wait for every single update. Though if you did, congrats, you’re our favorite. That said, by Saturday the rest of you might be struck with the depressing realization that you didn’t read all of the best articles the FSR staff put together this week. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with a round-up of all the best that this site had to offer over the course of the last seven days. Go forth and enjoy.

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When it was announced that the newest film from eighteen-year-old director Emily Hagins, entitled My Sucky Teen Romance, was going to premiere at SxSW, I was ecstatic. Almost every member of our SXSW coverage team either lives or has previously lived in Austin and knows Emily personally. Hell, some of us even donated our time to assist in the movie’s completion. That made it slightly difficult to lend our voices to reviewing the film. So do we decline to review it? Do we expend no words on it at all? Yes…and no. There is a story here, and a damn good one at that, completely divorced from the film itself. Emily’s story. Hagins wrote her first feature-length film, Pathogen, at age 11.  The next year, she earned a grant from the Austin Film Society to produce Pathogen, effectively becoming the youngest recipient of that award. Her tireless dedication to making her first feature film, and the fact that she wasn’t even in high school yet, attracted the attention of a trio of documentary filmmakers who noticed Hagins’s casting call posted on a local website called Austinactors.net. They crafted their 2009 film Zombie Girl: The Movie around her efforts. Between 7th and 8th grade, when the biggest thing that happened to most of us was getting our first kiss at a skating party, she was hard at work on The Retelling, her second feature. And now, here at SXSW 2011, Hagins’s third film played to bright marquee lights and packed houses […]

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South By Southwest has already begun heating up, but there are still plenty of movies and buckets of Schlitz to go. If you’re in Austin right now, you’re probably puzzling day to day over what you’re going to see. If you’re not in Austin, you’re probably still wondering what might escape the confines of the festival to see theaters near you. Although there’s no guarantee (except for a few big names we already know will see theaters), here are the hot tickets that might just earn themselves distribution deals. Our intrepid SXSW patrol (comprised of Adam Charles, Jack Giroux, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Luke Mullen and Brian Salisbury) have put together a list of what they’re most looking forward to for your reading and viewing pleasure. Keep in mind, there are over 250 movies playing this year, so this represents only a small amount of the quality programming. These are the movies that stand out even amongst the best of the best at the fest. Check it out for yourself:

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So you’ve eaten at Pita Pit and Best Wurst (because there’s nothing wrong with two lunches) and you’re scoping out theaters ready to get more movies on, but you have no idea what you’re going to see. That teary indie drama or that ridiculous sci-fi comedy? You don’t know do you? And you can’t figure it out on your own for some reason. Fortunately, we’ve created this handy guide to help you in your time of duress. Use it wisely. There’s no chance it’ll send you to the porno theater across the highway, so if you end up there, it’s on you.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we do what Hollywood finds impossible by creating a successful reboot. The show is getting an upgrade (which is why you can hear both drilling and confetti being tossed constantly in the background), and the new format promises to make everyone who listens to the show three inches taller and wildly, wildly wealthy. As in, so wealthy you’ll have to figure out how to buy off politicians. You can check out the show guide below, but the quick and dirt version involves two beloved Rejects battling it out in a game of wits, a teenage director seeing her first SXSW premiere, a visual effects artist arguing on behalf of post-conversion 3D, and 5 myths about production that ensure movies will be crappy. Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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The Week That Was

Welcome to another scorching edition of The Week That Was. As you may have gleaned from our articles about terrible honeymoon spots and our lack of posting any weekend articles (including this day-late entry into our weekly recap series), a few of us went out into the wilderness to watch Cole Abaius tie the knot. It was adorable, he and his bride will surely be happy and she even agreed to watch movies with him (even the scary ones). We drank, we went skeet shooting, we drank some more and in the end, we had a wonderful time helping the man who has often been referred to as “the glue that holds FSR together” off into the world of marriage. That said, even though Dr. Abaius was off work this week in preparation for the big day, we did have all kinds of things buzzing on the ole site this past week. Here’s a quick round-up.

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The first trailer for My Sucky Teen Romance, the horror comedy from teen filmmaking sensation Emily Hagins (Pathogen, The Retelling) has hit the web after making its debut at this past weekend’s Wizard World Austin Comic-Con. And as you might not expect, it’s a movie that doesn’t feel like it was directed by someone who just turned 18. In fact, you wouldn’t have even noticed that it was directed by an 18-year old if I hadn’t just mentioned it. Twice. But now that you know, please don’t hesitate to be impressed by the quality of the production. Allowing yourself to be awed by the maturity Ms. Hagins shows (especially visually) isn’t a distraction, either. There’s real talent here — talent that can be seen in two and a half minute teaser. And that’s not something we can say of every filmmaker, despite their age.

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Having seen both of Emily Hagins’s films – Pathogen and The Retelling – I can firmly say that while there is a spark of potential in both, the amateur nature of both is what shines through the most. Of course, both films come with the caveat of being made by a teenager, but it’s clear that the films are low-budget learning processes. That’s why I was taken aback by the first image that’s emerged from her new film, My Sucky Teen Romance. With a slightly bigger budget and some bigger names in the Austin film scene at her side, the look of the film has jumped from a young girl borrowing her mom’s camera to a young filmmaker making a mark.

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Friends, Romans, Countrymen, there is a rare opportunity in this life to do the right thing. Whether it’s sheltering those kittens that were going to be euthanized or volunteering to be the one to tell that co-worker about their offensive body odor, the call to greatness doesn’t come around just every day. And when it does, you have to be ready for it.

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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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