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the films
  South by Southwest features a film festival, which afforded me an opportunity to check out some flicks that were either difficult to find, or hadn't been released.
The flicks:
Home Page | Go | Monsters of Grace

Home Page
This meandering documentary on the Web "home page" phenomenon never finds its footing. It begins as a chronicle of
Justin Hall, to which is added some introspection on the part of the filmmaker, on top of which are added segments on Carl Steadman and Julie Petersen. And then it ends with the filmmaker back home.

My main frustration with the film is that there's too much of people talking about themselves. Personal home pages are already about people talking about themselves. And I'm very wary of believing people when they talk about themselves. What filming could have provided was showing people being themselves; a contrast between the published and the filmed could have proven interesting.

My secondary frustration was that, ultimately, the film proved pointless. You get the sense that its maker, Doug Block, was stabbing in the dark for a "story," and, well, he never found one.

Personally, watching the film was an odd experience. Though I didn't know of any of the principal subjects when the film was being shot (1996), I now consider Justin, Carl, and Julie friends. It's like reading someone's old high school yearbook.

For more on the movie, visit

Three words are all that's needed to describe Go: Adolescent Pulp Fiction. No "Royale with Cheese" catch-phrase magic, but an entertaining flick. The premiere vignette, featuring a drug deal gone awry (shocking!), is a tad creaky, though uplifted by some hilarious hallucinatory humor. The film finds its groove midway through the Vegas vignette, when the realist trappings give way to a rollercoaster male fantasy involving drugs, sex, guns, and car chases--a brilliant depiction of id. The final vignette is the "funny one," and that's all I'm gonna say about that--any more would spoil the punchline.

Doug Liman, who also directed Swingers, maintains a sure hand even with a bigger budget, and manages to appease his fan base with what I guess are obligatory references to Los Angeles and to other films. (The Breakfast Club nod is pretty classic.) Bang-up jobs all around from the actors. And this is the first I've seen of Katie Holmes, whom I've read is on Dawson's Creek, and she is such a cutie. ("Well, duh," you're probably saying.)

Monsters of Grace
This collaboration between Philip Glass and Robert Wilson has the dubious distinction of having a title far more entertaining than the piece. (I hesitate to call it a "film," because it also features live accompaniment by Glass and an ensemble.) Leading up to the performance, we loved saying, "MONSTERS OF GRACE! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!" in that throaty yell, or shortening it to the soon-to-be-hip acronym MOG.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep about midway through the show. Partly it's my fault--I'd been a very busy boy in Austin, and when placed in a dark room with Philip Glass' music, my body reasonably had one primary reaction--snooze. But, some blame does lay at the creators' feet, as they managed to put together an impressively dull experience (this was affirmed by friends who managed to stay conscious throughout).

Oh. I forgot that you might not know the basics of this performance. It's a feature-length computer-generated animated movie designed by Robert Wilson accompanied by a score composed by Philip Glass. Oh, and not just any kind of movie, but a 3D movie!

In this context, "movie" simply means the form of "moving pictures," as there is no narrative nor dialog. There is some action, but it happens veeeerrrrry sloooooowly. My guess is that Wilson loved the idea of a medium that allowed him to minutely analyze motion--his normal milieu, theater, is unfortunately encumbered by gravity and other physical laws. And, being a world-renowned artist allows Wilson to foist his tinkering with computer graphics on an unsuspecting public.

Anyway, MOG is travelling around the country currently. Check out its schedule at
this site.
Feed featured an
interview with the animators who worked with Wilson.