SXSW Film Festival Day 5: 'Life in a Day' / 'My Sucky Teen Romance'

Faith Korpi

A teen movie about vampires, shot by teens, making fun of teen vampire movies -- I prepared myself for the worst.

Life in a Day

Director: Kevin McDonald
US Release Date: 2011-07-24

My Sucky Teen Romance

Director: Emily Hagins

It’s Day 5 and I have “line friends” now! Starting to see the same people every day in almost every screening line I get in, which I’m probably getting a bigger kick out of than is justifiable. But hey, I love shooting the breeze about movies.

Life in a Day is a collaborative documentary about life around the world on July 24th 2010. Promoted by YouTube and helmed by Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald (Oscar winning director of One Day in September). People were asked to submit footage from their day that best represented their life. Contributors were given a series of questions to answer to help shape the content like, What do you love? What do you fear? What’s in your pocket? The result was 80,000 clip submissions totaling 4,500 hours of footage shot in 192 countries. Wow.

Quality-wise, everything from the dinkiest of camera phones to the Canon 5D and Red were used. The discrepancies in quality do not take away from the experience at all, in fact I’d say it adds to it.

Life in a Day reminded me of watching Sesame Street as a kid. My favorite segments were always the “people doing random things” montages; putting on shoes, gardening, threading a giant loom... this felt just like that, and also just like that, it is almost embarrassing to admit how captivating it is. One of my new line buddies said to me afterwards, “I could have watched that forever." I felt the same.

We are a culture of showing, not telling. It’s at least an everyday occurrence in my life that I’ll have someone say, “Hey, have you seen...? No? Oh, well I’ll show you on YouTube”. Or how about, “Hey, sorry you missed the party last night. I could tell you about it, but I’d rather show you the 600 pictures on Facebook." This project captured the spirit of that perfectly and the end result is fantastic.

Maybe you have thought something like, “Man, if only someone would sort through all the crap on YouTube and pull out the good stuff” like I have. That’s exactly what Ridley Scott and Kevin McDonald have done here. This is the layman’s Baraka, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Moreover, one of the movies I had been hearing buzz about this week while in line was My Sucky Teen Romance. I had to have known what I was getting into with this one, right? It was not on my original schedule, but I kept hearing about it. As it is the third feature by a local 18-year-old writer/director (Emily Hagins), I felt at least obligated as an Austinite female to check it out. The 1,200 seat capacity Paramount Theater was packed mostly with family and friends of Hagins it seemed. They all rose to their feet with overwhelming applause when she took the stage to introduce the movie. When they settled down about four minutes later, she shyly squeaked, “But... what if the movie’s bad”?

A teen movie about vampires, shot by teens, making fun of teen vampire movies -- I prepared myself for the worst. As a film school survivor, I’ve seen my fair share of bad movies. This was not a bad movie at all. Ridiculous? Yes. Amateur? Yes. But she will learn to not use her friends as actors, her writing will mature, and maybe she will learn to go easy on the fake blood (hey, Tarantino hasn’t even learned that yet). I was entertained, as were the smattering of other badge holders (seemingly the only audience members unacquainted with the filmmaker). We tried to keep our cool at first, but by the second blood bath it was easier to just go with it and enjoy.

There are some undeniably impressive special effects and camera work, and so while I honestly was not convinced going in that I would want to write about this movie, I have to tell you that My Sucky Teen Romance has been one of the most fun SXSW screening experiences so far.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.