The 20 Movies We Can't Wait to See at SXSW 2019

We've inspected the SXSW 2019 program and these are the 20 movies we are most anticipating.

Sxsw

SXSW is something of a mainstay for the FSR team, and it’s not just because our home base is also in Austin, TX. It’s a festival where many of us met in person for the first time, it’s a fest that displays an ever-growing love for movies of all stripes, and it’s yet another reason for some of us to visit and support the state’s singular place of reason.

This year’s film fest features movies for all tastes including big-name comedies, dramas, and — my favorite — horror titles including world premieres of Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated Us and the latest entry in the Stephen King renaissance, Pet Sematary. There’s a lot happening from March 8th to the 17th, and the FSR squad will be represented by four of us trying to see and cover as much as we can. We’re looking forward to so very much, but here are the 20 movies we’re anticipating the most.


Adopt a Highway

Over the years, Blumhouse and SXSW have proved themselves a capable partnership, with the studio bringing movies like Hush, Upgrade, and Unfriended: Dark Web to the genre-friendly film festival. And while eyes may be on Jordan Peele and Us in 2019, don’t sleep on Adopt a Highway, the directorial debut of Upgrade star Logan Marshall-Green. After all, the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and modestly budgeted genre movies starring Ethan Hawke. (Matthew Monagle)

Autonomy

Since SXSW has always blended the best of a film festival with the best of a technology conference, this might be the perfect place to see a film like Autonomy that tackles the future of self-driving cars. The future of automation is a subject that often lurks behind many other conversations about class, politics, and the economy; how and when America adjusts to the future of self-driving cars may speak volumes about the kind of country we become. (Matthew Monagle)

The Beach Bum

News of Harmony Korine’s latest film has been floating around the internet since at least early last year — the photo of Zac Efron and his panini-beard being our first taste of the madness to come, followed later by the news that Jimmy Buffett would make an appearance. The trailer makes it look like this could be Korine’s version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and, let’s be honest, that sounds at least intriguing, if not outright fantastic. (Abby Olcese)

Body at Brighton Rock

My first thought (and tweet) after seeing the premiere of the horror anthology XX in early 2017 was a sincere hope that some smart studio would hand writer/director Roxanne Benjamin a feature film. I was unsurprisingly ignored, but that was for the best as Benjamin didn’t need to wait for someone else’s handout — she instead moved forward to write/direct her own first feature, and it’s been my most anticipated of the fest since its inclusion was first announced. The premise is simple as a female park ranger is tasked with guarding a dead body deep in the woods until help arrives, but her wait into the night holds some unforeseen challenges. She’s a highly capable genre producer (V/H/S trilogy, 2012-2014; The Devil’s Candy, 2015), but she’s also one hell of an exciting voice as a writer/director (Southbound, 2015; upcoming Night of the Comet remake). So yeah, we’re thrilled to be heading into the woods with her feature debut. (Rob Hunter)

Booksmart

Booksmart is the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, which is reason enough to pique our curiosity. The coming-of-age comedy tackles high school friendships and also boasts a fantastic cast that includes Beanie Feldstein, who stole scenes in Lady Bird, a movie this would seem to have a lot in common with. (Abby Olcese)

Boyz in the Wood

We all know that the internet and social media, in particular, were terrible mistakes signaling the downfall of humanity, but one of the positives to come from the online dumpster fire is the ability to “meet” new people. Our very own Kieran Fisher is a Scottish chap who I’d never have had the privilege of knowing otherwise, and it’s in his honor that I’m looking forward to this tale of anarchy and misbehavior in the Scottish Highlands from his countryman Ninian Doff. Is it horror? Is it comedy? Is it Scotland in a nutshell? I’m excited to find out… especially if it gives me a peek into Kieran’s bonkers brain. (Rob Hunter)

The Day Shall Come

Writer/director Chris Morris has worked on shows as diverse as Spitting Image (1984), Black Mirror (2013), and Veep (2012-2014), but for many of us it was his feature debut Four Lions (2010) that secured him as a talent worth watching. The film follows a team of would-be suicide bombers and does the seemingly impossible by being utterly hilarious even as tragedy blooms around them. His latest once again focuses on an unlikely character caught up in something far bigger than him, and we’re once again expecting to be laughing through the darkness. (Rob Hunter)

Extra Ordinary

If you’ve not yet experienced the comedic talents of Maeve Higgins, you’re in south-by-south-luck. She’s starring alongside Will Forte in a film that’s horror-comedy-romance about a woman with paranormal abilities who is also a driving instructor. And Will Forte plays a washed-up rock star who made a deal with the devil. Where do I make a deal to give this movie a shot? Oh, right. (Neil Miller)

Girl on the Third Floor

Haunted house films seem one-note on their surface, but like the houses themselves it’s what is inside that can make all the difference. Writer/director Travis Stevens has made a name for himself as a producer of quality genre films including Cheap Thrills (2013), Starry Eyes (2014), We Are Still Here (2015), Teenage Cocktail (2016), and more, and now he’s decided he has his own tale of terror to share with the world. It’s clear he has a great eye (just check out his Instagram page for more proof of that), and we’re betting that extends to the art of writing and directing too. His film follows a family man’s efforts to renovate an old house, and we’re stoked to see how horribly wrong it all goes for him. (Rob Hunter)

Good Boys

I’m calling this one Superbad Goonies. Read the official description: “After getting invited to their first kissing party, three best friends accidentally destroy a drone they weren’t allowed to touch. To replace it, they skip school and set off on an epic odyssey of bad decisions, involving inadvertently stolen drugs, the police, and lots of tears.” It’s produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and stars Jacob Tremblay, who if you’ll remember from a few Oscars-ago, is one of America’s most delightful youths. McLovins never say die.  (Neil Miller)

The Highwaymen

Since odds are good that a neo-Western starring Kevin Costner won’t set off another round of hand-wringing about Netflix and awards season — not in 2019, anyways — we’re free to take John Lee Hancock‘s latest film at face value. Yes, it’s familiar territory. Yes, it might be another film that romanticizes a dying old boys’ club. But when it comes to making stoic films about modernity, Costner’s instincts are usually pretty solid. And who am I to resist a schlubby Woody Harrelson? (Matthew Monagle)

Long Shot

The comedies of SXSW are usually winners, at least lately. Here’s a new film from The Wackness and 50/50 director Jonathan Levine, starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, co-written by The Post‘s Liz Hannah and The Office vet Dan Sterling. It’s a real fish out of water story. Get excited. (Neil Miller)

The Peanut Butter Falcon

We’re not above admitting that a film having a name the likes of The Peanut Butter Falcon is enough to get our attention. Don’t act like you’d be any different if you were in our shoes. It’s one of those titles that raises questions for which we need answers. To add to the magnetism of TPBF, the film stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and Mick Foley. Which is a cast list that really sneaks up on you at the end. This might be a sneaky contender for greatness. (Neil Miller)

Pet Sematary

Starry Eyes is one of 2014’s best horror films, and while it checks the necessary boxes by being creepy, unsettling, and disturbing, it goes the extra genre mile by being both beautiful and emotionally devastating. A new adaptation of Stephen King‘s most terrifying novel is a perfect fit for writers/directors Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer as its tale of grief and loss speaks to their very clear mindset, and I’m absolutely on board for being scared and traumatized by its world premiere as the fest’s closing night film. (Rob Hunter)

Porno

One of the fun things about film festivals is finding a movie with a particularly enticing synopsis and thinking, man, if they only manage to get this one right! Porno promises an intersection of religion, horror, and teenage sex comedy that places it right in the wheelhouse for most genre crowds, but few horror-comedies are able to maintain any kind of tone beyond the first half-hour. Odds are never going to be in favor of movies like Porno, but it’s like I said: if they manage to get this one right… (Matthew Monagle)

Romantic Comedy

Have rom-coms given you unrealistic expectations of dating and relationships? That’s a silly question. Of course, they have. Elizabeth Sankey’s documentary puts critical analysis to work in examining the tropes, clichés, and long-term effects of romantic comedies, from It Happened One Night all the way to the present day. Expect clumsy meet-cutes and intellectual discourse aplenty. (Abby Olcese)

Stuber

Stuber is listed as a “Work-In-Progress,” so what we see at the festival may not reflect the finished product, and that finished product may not be out for a while. But check out the premise: Kumail Nanjiani plays an Uber driver who picks up a cop (Dave Bautista) who’s trailing a brutal killer. Nanjiani and Bautista suddenly sound like the action buddy movie pairing we never knew we needed. (Abby Olcese)

Sword of Trust

Lynn Shelton is a seasoned pro at directing warm, character-driven comedy, with the great Laggies, Hump Day, and Your Sister’s Sister to her name, not to mention her TV work on GLOW, Love, and New Girl. Her latest, co-written with SNL alum Mike O’Brien, features a trifecta of funny people including Marc Maron, Michaela Watkins, and Jillian Bell in s story about an antique sword that’s the source of a Civil War conspiracy theory. Not sold yet? How about this: Toby Huss plays a character named Hog Jaws. (Abby Olcese)

Us

Jordan Peele is bringing his latest nightmare to Austin for opening night. It’s going to be even more insane than last year when A Quiet Place showed up and blew the doors off the Paramount Theater. Even by SXSW standards, they don’t get much bigger than this. (Neil Miller)

Villains

Can we get a do-over on Maika Monroe? After bursting onto the scene in 2014 with two John Carpenter-fueled horror films — It Follows and The Guest — the actress seemed poised for Hollywood stardom with a major role in the long-anticipated Independence Day sequel. Until it bombed. Monroe has worked steadily ever since including a particularly good turn in the melancholic Bokeh, but stardom has proved elusive. Then again, if Villains is any indication, Hollywood’s loss is the gain of indie genre film directors everywhere. (Matthew Monagle)

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.