Ain't It Cool News DESERT BLUE review

Alrighty folks... Day one of SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST... I’m drunk as hell right now, but I’m going to attempt to somehow express to you how the evening and day went. I’ve had in excess of 14 hard liquior drinks (Crown and Coke and Jack and Coke), two glasses of Merlot and a really great dark beer that I’m unfamiliar with that had VOODOO in the title.

Now if everything follows form, beings that I’m drunk, my writing and spelling should be better than usual. Though... because I just pointed it out, this will probably be the exception.


A year ago at this festival is when I began to be entranced by the elegant Annette Kellerman, and became good good friends with Tom Joad. Inevitably I will have further friendships occur here and now. We’ll see how it goes.

The day started with a rush on getting our badges at registration. This is akin to College Registration... if you are familiar with that process, then you’d be familiar with this one. Confused folks lining up in front of the clearly marked booths and being frustrated at every itsy bitsy detail.

I feel for the folks running registration. You can watch them looking at the folks... trying to be sympathetic, trying to rush things along... but there are hundreds and thousands of people getting their badges... Every other one has questions and/or problems. The patience of Job is what is needed here, and me... I’d just be rude... say “Fuck it” and walk away. My patience has boundries and the couple of quite rude folks that tried to bully and brow beat a couple of the registration folks was... well.. uncalled for.

After that we got our badges and the BAGS... NO... no Mystery Men t-shirts or HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE nightlights you evil bastard.... Nope... instead we got every film magazine known to man, we got cds upon cds of hours and hours of music. Screen Actors Guild flashlight pens, and a coupon for the local titty bar... Wow... everything you’d need.

After the badges, Annette, Tom Joad, Father Geek and myself went over to IRONWORKS, one of the best bar-b-que joints in existance and as we ate we bowed our heads in silence in memorial to Moriarty, 2nd Brain, Salma Stalker and Free Rider... All of which where victimized by the ‘CLOSED SUNDAY’ sign the last day they were here.

After that, Father Geek and I went to a place called Tesoros to check out a vintage Mexican Movie Poster sale (and Cuban posters as well). Gorgeous images, Luis Bunuel films, Cantinflas, and on and on... But... well we had our hearts set on an EL SANTO poster... So when I spied a whole bunch of Mexican Wrestler masks... well... I had to possess one. You see, I sport a physique not unlike TOR JOHNSON, who died the day I was born... and George “The Animal” Steele (sans the insane amount of body hair) I would look funky as hell with this mask... and You’ll be hearing more about this mask during SXSW...

Next I did a few interviews about South By Southwest with the local media. I do my best, but really... I was anxious to get back in line... You see, the Line People were in a talkative, playful mood... as was I.

One fella had drove from Maryland to attend, another was a friend I hadn’t seen since RoRo and I went to that Nudist Reunion thing about 2 years ago. Ahhhhh, this was all getting very strange.

Robogeek and Johnny Wad were there, but strangely... Mysteriously... Annette Kellerman and Tom Joad were... missing... Hmmmmmmm.... Annette was probably sparring with a gang of Triad Water Assassins while Joad was off in some damn orange grove somewhere.

The movie we were waiting on was DESERT BLUE...

Why would we line up for a movie called DESERT BLUE? Well... Did you see HURRICANE STREETS? If not, well go rent it, but if you did, then you are familiar with the fantastic work of Morgan J Freeman (no he was not the actor in GLORY or DEEP IMPACT or SEVEN... he’s a director/writer).

Morgan did a great job with HURRICANE STREETS which was shot gorgeously by Enrique Chediak (who also shot THE FACULTY among other films).

Well, DESERT BLUE starred Christina Ricci, Brendan Sexton III, Kate Hudson, John Heard, Casey Affleck, Sara Gilbert and the ubercool Michael Ironside... Definately a possibly cool ensemble cast, but... Well Freeman was faced with the blunderous wall known as the SOPHMORE JINX. This film... as a basic rule must suck. It’s a rule.

As the doors opened and we filed into the gorgeous PARAMOUNT theater... yes, that very same Magic theater I mentioned a few weeks ago, those silver haired ladies that usher you through this grand dame of a theater... Well they all came up thanking me as though I kept a wrecking ball from hitting this place. In reality... it was just that EDtv coverage and letter to Ron Howard... Apparently they felt it made a difference and spoke out and defended this, the most singularly sacred film building in Austin (though if the Paramount is HOUDINI... the Alamo is our David Copperfield... both magic, but one with the ages and the other... one for the future.)

Anyway, we run down to our typical seats, and... stake out the claim for our missing in action compadres. I eager as hell to see this movie. I met the director out in Rotterdam during my journeys out there... I was supposed to catch his film, but... BUT I was having so much fun with THE BEAST, and Truffaut’s readers from FAHRENHEIT 451... The great Dutch beer and company just thrilled me and... I forgot.

But that wasn’t the case here. This was the movie that was kicking off the 6th Annual SXSW film festival... I’d be damned if I missed it.

After the whole crew arrived (including Quint, Annette, Tom Joad, Father Geek, Robogeek, The Waif One and Johnny Wad) we bowed our heads in silence for... Copernicus, who’s dedication to the heavens has called upon him to observe the mysteries of the universe many hundred miles away... As we speak. It’s ok Copernicus... you would have hated tonight... surely you would have...

The first person to appear on stage was Louis Black the Andy Hardy of this here show called SXSW. He started in about how Nancy Schafer (the Cattle Queen of the film fest) insisted that he watch this movie. He responded with, “Ya know Nancy, we run this lil paper here called the Chronicle,” which illicited a giggle or two from me. He then began roasting her a bit for ‘always being on vacation’. But... well she was dead on right about this film he said.

“Imagine if SLACKER was directed by Preston Sturges...” Hmmm... that’s an odd description, but then Louis went into how it was hard to describe good Independent films cause they aren’t as easily reduciable to a “Die Hard on a Ski-Lift” mentality.

Next he introduced the director... Morgan J Freeman. He came out in all black (jeans and t-shirt) with black spiked hair. I giggled a bit as he was trying to block the rays of light shining into his face like his name was LAURA... He went on to tell us how the film was set in the desert... but in reality it was a mere 5 degrees Fahrenheit and in the 8 hours of sunlight they had each day, they spent four of that shoveling snow out of the way and laying fresh... desert down for the audience.

They did a beautiful job, but before I get to that Morgan introduced his cast... well at least the ones that came... Isidra Vega, Ethan Suplee, Sara Gilbert and Brendan Sexton III...

THen he pretty much left the stage to let the film start..


This movie doesn’t hit till June or so of this year. It doesn’t have a bunch of BIG STARS, but it does have alot of a bunch of folks that well... they are future stars...

The movie is set in the wacky town of Baxter, California... an old semi-ghost town that is now kept alive by... THE WORLD’S LARGEST ICE CREAM CONE... an attraction that brings in dozens a year to this little out of the way place.

About this point I began to realize... that the group of girls sitting behind me are literally the worst forms of human skin the world is familiar with.... They were the people best described as, “the assholes that read OUT LOUD every bit of text on screen, then carry on a giggly conversation about it on account of how brilliant they were!”

You are familiar with this hideous being, I believe the Latin name is, Homo Loudmoutphien.

I loved just about everyone in this film... They all do a super job.. though the stand outs would have to be Christina Ricci, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck and Brendan Sexton III.

To describe this film would be to do it injustice. It’s the movie that GO tries sooooooo hard to be, it’s the movie that kind of mixes some Coen Brothers sensibilities with a John Huges formula with a tad of GIANT and OUTBREAK and you’ve got a great concept of what is happening with this film.

The dialogue... on paper (looking at my notes here) doesn’t read that funny... but the timing and tone of the delivery is just dead on. Especially Casey Affleck who delivers one line in particular that me and all my friends are saying to one another.... When you see this baby you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Christina Ricci’s speech about an Olympic Bombing Event is so fucking funny that you’ll just about start pissing yourself. So use the restroom BEFORE the movie... it’s not long... but it will cause you to squirt if you aren’t careful... not pointing at Quint.... I swear... Quint didn’t squirt himself.

After the film, we went over to JAZZ’s for the DESERT BLUE party... and looky there... it was a freakin’ open bar. We grabbed a table, gathered about and just proceeded to get SHIT-FACED.

As the night went on, I noticed that the women I talked to continued to all be beautiful. Usually Annette is the only illuminated movie starlet at the table, but... Well... they kept showing up, one after another.... And the more and more I drank the friendlier the bathroom became. There is nothing like using a toilet so often you give it a name... I called the toilet Farrell... I used Farrell all night long, as did everyone else. So I’d just like to think that porcelean beauty.... Farrell... thanks for the gulping... you made the party cooler.

Anyway, we anchored our table, listened to the multiple bands as our muscle control started slipping. Tom Joad was jelly legged, Annette pulled a Ruby Keeler... for me... it was just the beginning of this first lost weekend of SXSW....

As for Desert Blue... check it out, you’ll like it, the soundtrack is pretty damn cool, and the film is hitting in June. Later...

Reprinted for Fan apprecation only with out permission from Ain't It Cool News