Texas®

While the Dallas Int’l Film Festival ended this past weekend, we’re still fest-ing it up, here. In fact, over the next couple of weeks, we’ll fill you in on some of the Texas-centric films that were showcased in Dallas.

Of course, it’s hard to get more Tex-centric than a movie that details the musical life of the legendary troubadour outlaw, Jerry Jeff Walker. OK Buckaroos, an extremely well-made and polished documentary from filmmaker Patrick Tourville, really highlighted the music that has made the man into a legend, worthy of a retrospective and loving film. Here’s the thing, though: the film might’ve been too loving, actually.

In an effort to present Walker as a rightful elder-statemsan who truly has grown his legend outside of the major-label machine, the film comes off as more of a cute, somewhat fluffy, Walker info-mercial than it does a proper document of the good, bad and crazy times that have also helped define Walker’s legacy.

Again, this was a well-made film and had many moments of warmth, especially when Walker himself played tunes acoustically in-front of Tourville’s cameras. Perhaps the point wasn’t to get into the sordid details of Walker’s drunken, rowdy lifestyle of early, Outlaw-era Austin. Mission accomplished, if indeed that was the case. With only Ray Wylie Hubbard adding somewhat empty, forced platitudes that merely hinted at Walker’s wild side and Walker himself not really divulging much, all the viewer was really left with was a goodie-basket full of the warm and fuzzies.

Speaking of Hubbard, another disappointment was the curiously small amount of notable artists that contributed Walker-intensive tales to the film. Aside from bits of archived footage that featured Willie Nelson and Guy Clark; Hubbard was the only contemporary of Walker’s to play a major role in the film. Even as great as Bruce Robison and Todd Snider are, only having them chip-in seemed ill-fitting and only served as more hero-worship on top of a film that was already full of such adoration towards its subject.

Personal aside, if you don’t mind: My all-time favorite song is Walker’s version of “L.A. Freeway,” and my all-time favorite “Texas Record” is Viva Terlingua, so I’m coming from an appreciative perspective of the man’s work. But this is a film that serves more as a basic introduction or as a wistful reminiscence. If one needs anything more balanced or in-depth than that, keep waiting.

 

Very exciting stuff for us, here at The Squawker: We will be all up in this year’s Dallas International Film Festival! I mean ALL up in it.

Hosted by the Dallas Film Society, and presented by Cadillac, this year’s festival, will take place on screens inside of the Magnolia Theatre, Angelika Dallas, the Texas Theater, and at the North Park AMC. Beginning tonight, Thursday the 31st, and rolling through Sunday, April 10th, this is no mere weekend at the matinee.

Films are split into several categories (See the video above for trailers from a few of the films), including: Documentary Showcase, Narrative Feature Competition, Premiere Series, Midnight Specials, Latino Showcase, India Spotlight, World Cinema – and yes, even a Texas Competition – among other divisions.

Of course, the Texas Competition is of special interest to us here. OK Buckaroos, a documentary profiling the lengthy and influential life and career of Texas legend Jerry Jeff Walker, is a prime offering,  and Traveling, a story of life on the road for three folks who find themselves bonding in Texas seems like it could be worth making time for, as well.

The Nolan's from The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan

There are a couple of films that aren’t a part of the Texas Competition, yet have Lone Star connections, none the less. They also happen to look as though penciling them in on our schedule would be a wise choice. The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan is a documentary that looks to piece together the puzzle surrounding the nature of why Nolan – a Texan who was fighting in Vietnam – went missing all of a sudden and how he may have recently been spotted alive. Was he captured? Did he go AWOL? Did he go crazy?

Also, as a part of the Shorts Program, 8, is a product of filmmakers with ties to Dallas and Austin. This docu-short tells the touching story of how a daughter spends the anniversary of her father’s death with her mother (See trailer below). Adding to the Texas flavor of 8, Austin’s David Graza handled musical duties for the film.

Of course, big names that have little to do with our state will be present, as well. New features from Morgan Spurlock (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold), Maria Bello (Beautiful Boy), Colin Hanks (Lucky), Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt (Soul Surfer) and even the New York Times (Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times) are among the titles that will surely generate a fair amount of word-of-mouth over the course of the 10 day extravaganza.

As was stated earlier, we’ll be there! Follow Kelly on Twitter for live-updates, and also look for cool notes to pop-up, here on The Squawker, as well. Of course, we’ll also offer all kinds of recapping and reviews towards the end of the shindig.

“8″ Trailer from Daniel Laabs on Vimeo.