My parents are visiting Austin next week. We don’t usually watch movies together. They go to the outlet mall while I’m at work. We sit around on the sofa with a golf game on the TV and talk about what we might want to do (and rarely do any of it except nap). Sometimes we sit on the patio and drink beer and tell very funny family stories. (My dad pulls me aside to tell me the ones my mom hates to hear, like anything to do with my grandparents.)
We might go to the Wildflower Center, but I’m not sure my dad will like it. He likes to go places where he can get snacks at regular intervals. (His favorite Austin restaurant is Taco Cabana. Don’t ask me why.) So perhaps we might go see the new Whole Foods, because that seems like a great place for him to procure snacks while we watch the chocolate enrobing station. We could go to the Westlake Farmers Market. We could walk to the Dairy Queen, or hang out with the cows at Amy’s Ice Cream. Who knows?
But we are probably not going to see any movies, especially not in movie theaters. My mom doesn’t like anything with crude language or even hints of non-marital sex. My dad loves movies with fart jokes or any kind of physical humor. (He would have felt right at home seeing those movies with the Fiji audience in Reel Paradise.) Usually he pretends to pacify my mom, or whomever else is in the room, by shouting, “That’s disgusting! What kind of filth is that?” and then laughing his ass off.
I will illustrate the difficulties in seeing movies with my parents by sharing my estimate of my parents’ reactions to some of the movies opening in Austin this week. I will leave you to guess which parent would say what.
New movies in Austin this week:
Callas Forever”Callouses forever?” “That sounds like your feet. No, wait, that would be Corns Forever!” “Good one!”
This is actually a biopic of opera diva Maria Callas, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Cast includes Jeremy Irons and Joan Plowright.
Downfall”A movie about Hitler? Hey, do you still have The Producers on video? Now that’s a good Hitler movie. That Mel Brooks …”
Bruno Ganz stars (as Hitler) in this movie about Hitler’s last days. I am sure it is not at all Mel Brooks-like. Sorry, Dad.
Guess Who”I like Bernie Mac. He’s funny. You ever see his TV show?” “Is he the one who hosted the Oscars?” “I remember the original movie, with Spencer Tracy and Sidney Portier. The story was dumb.” “I don’t see why they have to remake movies, especially if they’re just going to add dirty jokes.”
I actually agree with my parents on this one in all respects, including the dumb storyline of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?.
Millions”It’s a kids’ movie. Too bad [niece] isn’t old enough to see it.”
This “kids’ movie” is directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and looks quite promising. I ought to see it because I want to support movies made for a younger crowd that don’t suck.
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous”I like that Sandra Bullock. She’s so cute.” “Why not just rent the first movie then?”
Years ago, I said that Sandra Bullock was the contemporary equivalent to Carole Lombard. I take it back. Lombard was much smarter, or more fortunate, in the films she chose.
Schultze Gets the Blues”I can’t get into any of those foreign films.”
The storyline actually sounds like fun to me: a German accordion player stumbles across zydeco on his radio one night and is fascinated. He decides to travel to Louisiana to find the source of zydeco and blues music. (I want to point out that “zydeco” and “blues” are not interchangeable terms.) I’d like to see this, especially since the Austin Chronicle compares it to Jim Jarmusch’s films … time is short this week, so I may have to wait for DVD.
Short Cut to Nirvana”Isn’t that the band with the guy who killed himself, and now the wife is all over the news being ridiculous? I never understood any of that.”
This is actually a documentary about Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival held in India every 12 years.
Notable events/revivals in Austin:
Academy Award-Nominated Short FilmsPlaying at Alamo South all week long. Actually I would really like to see these if I can. Alamo Village showed them last year and some were better than others. It’s so difficult to get to see these that I hate to miss the opportunity.
American BeerPlaying at Alamo Downtown on Sunday 3/27. A documentary about beer. Mmm. Ticket price includes 15 microbrewed beer tastings throughout the film. My married brother would love this event.
Breakfast at Tiffany’sPlaying at Alamo Downtown on Sat. 3/26 and Sun. 3/27 with a champagne brunch. A lot of people love this film. I tried to watch it, and could not get past Mickey Rooney’s awful character. Ugh.
Chicken RunPlaying outdoors at Republic Square Park on Wed. 3/30 at 8 pm. The Rolling Roadshow summer outdoor movies are back, and this is an excellent choice. Possibly the only movie involving Mel Gibson that I can stand to watch anymore. I wish I could drag my parents to this. If you go, bring blankets or something because the ground does get damp for sitting. (And Republic Square Park has wireless!)
Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut Playing at Dobie Fri-Sat. 3/25-26 at midnight.
Fudoh: The New GenerationPlaying at Alamo Downtown on Tuesday 3/29. Part of the Austin Film Society series on Takashi Miike.
The GolemPlaying at Alamo Downtown on Sat. 3/26. Silent German film from 1920 about a clay statue brought to life. Live musical accompaniment from Rubinchik’s Yiddish Ensemble. Alamo’s silent films often sell out quickly, so get tickets now if you are interested.
The Kids are AlrightPlaying at Alamo Downtown on Thurs-Sat. 3/31-4/2.
The Last Temptation of ChristPlaying at the Paramount Fri-Sun. 3/25-27. Part of the Paramount’s “Salute to Martin Scorsese” series. The Paramount is showing this movie on Easter Sunday. Damn. I’m impressed.
The Last WaltzPlaying at the Paramount on Wed. 3/30 and Fri. 4/1. Part of the Paramount’s “Salute to Martin Scorsese” series.
New York New YorkPlaying at the Paramount on Sat. 3/26. Part of the Paramount’s “Salute to Martin Scorsese” series. Liza Minnelli gives me hives.
Weird SciencePlaying at Alamo Downtown on Mon. 3/28 as part of their Eighties Nite series. Admission is $1.
I don’t know exactly what we’re going to see this weekend, when we take a break from tidying up the house. (My parents are staying in a hotel, but this is still a good excuse to organize some of the stacks of paper on my desk, and find homes for various kitchen utensils that are living on the counter, and so forth.)
But I can tell you that we are getting a brand new TV this weekend, and my boyfriend and I are very excited about that. It’s bigger and nicer than the old TV without being too fancy … none of that plasma or LCD or projection stuff. I hope it fits on my old TV stand. It’s got an outlet for hooking it up to a computer, which my boyfriend is looking forward to tinkering with at some point.
We are not very frequent TV watchers … we don’t even have cable. But we are looking forward to the improved picture quality when we watch movies on DVD.
We are trying to decide which movie should be the inaugural event of the new TV set. So far Finding Nemo and Brazil are in the running. The idea is to watch something that will be visually striking, that we would normally feel that a TV would not do justice to.
We also have Maria Full of Grace and But I’m a Cheerleader rented. So we have no shortage of interesting things to watch on the new bigger screen.