Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
An overview of the diverse features selected to screen at this year's Austin Film Festival.
This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn't exist.
A cycle rickshaw, adorned with a Texas flag billowing in the wind, whizzes by while blaring a Luke Combs tune. Massive murals of Willie Nelson and Post Malone gaze down on passersby like the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg. A man in a Blue Lives Matter shirt waltzes past a "PROTECT TRANS KIDS" sign planted on the lawn of a Catholic Church. Welcome to Austin, Texas, a Southern hotspot that, for the final weekend of October 2023, wasn't just home to these and other oddball sights, but also the backdrop for the 30th edition of the Austin Film Festival. Though not as world-famous as the Toronto International Film Festival or Cannes, Austin's annual ode to cinema is still a much-ballyhooed event attended by freelance journalists, aspiring screenwriters, iconic filmmakers, and everyone in between. Continue Reading →
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
A lot's happened since we last saw the Guardians of the Galaxy (well, besides their brief cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder). Writer/director James Gunn was fired from Marvel in 2018 after some problematic tweets joking about pedophilia were unearthed, in one of the few instances of a successful cancellation from the right wing. Of course, it didn't last long, considering how thin the ground was for said cancellation in the first place; and in the interim, he swanned off to DC, made the fantastic The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, and eventually found himself sharing the throne of a newly-revamped DC movie universe. Continue Reading →
A Disturbance in the Force: How the Star Wars Holiday Special Happened
I remember parking my 7-year-old hinder in front of the television set on the evening of Nov 17, 1978 to bear witness to something that would presumably be unforgettable—a two-hour holiday special that set in the world of Star Wars, then pretty much the hottest thing in the universe. Like so many other people at the time, when it was all over, I was baffled by what I had just witnessed. Continue Reading →
Josie and the Pussycats
By the time Josie and the Pussycats premiered in theaters in April 2001, the pop culture universe of the early aughts was already in full swing. Dissenting and raging against the machine was out, and corporate partnerships and glossy production values were in. Total Request Live was the hottest television show on the air, and it had only been eleven months after Britney Spears released Oops! I Did it Again and became the official celebrity endorser for Got Milk, Clairol, and Polaroid. The Spice Girls had just gone on hiatus, and it was the height of the Backstreet Boys vs. N*SYNC fan wars. Post Y2K and only a few months before 9/11, the Dot-com bubble was imploding and consumerism was already at an all time high. Continue Reading →