Hello from Austin. The sun is shining. They just refilled the chips and salsa. And adopted Austinite Sandra Bullock has won an Oscar. It must be time for the movie portion of South By Southwest, which mixes Hollywood fare (the slashfest Predators) with small-time oddities (a documentary about a parking lot.)
Click Below to View our Gallery of This Year's Must-See Films
Where does SXSW, as it is known, fit in among the Sundances and the Torontos? For one thing, it has an unapologetically nerdy streak, but it's a discerning, highly cultivated kind of nerdom. Thus, Austin will host the world premiere of Kick-Ass, a superhero parody that Austin Internet kingpin Harry Knowles screened at his birthday party last year, and which reportedly pleased his geek audience as much as Avatar. "Badass," wrote one attendee.
• Brian Ries: Inside AOL’s Effort to Interview 2,000 Bands at SXSW SXSW also has MacGruber, with Will Forte and Kristen Wiig, and The People vs. George Lucas, a documentary white paper about the Star Wars director. If that isn't enough to tickle your inner fanboy, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez will appear on a panel to talk about transforming decrepit B-movie genres into something like Inglourious Basterds or Grindhouse.
Not to mention the kinds of flagrantly artsy movies you'd expect to find at a film festival: a new film from French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, from Sweden; and Barry Munday, a movie about a man who wakes up to find he has been relieved of a very vital part of his anatomy. VIEW OUR GALLERY of the most anticipated movies at this year's indie extravaganza.
Bryan Curtis is a senior editor at The Daily Beast. His story about his grandfather's softball career is in The Best American Sports Writing of 2009.