October 11, 1999

Heart of Texas Festival

It's Austin Heart of Texas Film Festival week again here in warm, sunny Austin, and we have a whole raft of film notables in town to promote or retrospect their work. (Is that a word? Well, it is now!) I saw a beautiful print of "Nashville" on Saturday--with Robert Altman and Karen Black in attendance to introduce and do a Q&A. Altman has a pretty biting sense of humor--just what you'd expect. Ms. Black is a pretty wacky gal, but despite being 54, doesn't look much over 34! She told the story of her audition for the movie, and sang a few bars of the song she wrote. Great voice! She's in town to promote "Charades," a movie she co-wrote and acts in. Lyle Lovett, Rick Linklater, and Steven Soderbergh were also at the screening. Soderbergh is here for the Austin premiere of his new film, "The Limey," and James L. Brooks is here for a retrospective of his work. Other actors and writers skulking about are Matthew McConaughey, Rachel Hunter, Buck Henry ("The Graduate"), Callie Khouri ("Thelma & Louise"), Larry Karaszewski ("The People v. Larry Flynt") Joe Stefano ("Psycho" 1960), Scott Frank ("Out of Sight"), and Ted Tally ("Silence of the Lambs"). I've got a pass for the whole week, so I'm going to try to see as many films as I can. "Winding Roads," which I saw last night, was OK--former model (and Rod Stewart spouse) Rachel Hunter stars, and does a decent job. Afterwards, I started watching a movie called "Junked," which was an incomprehensible, violent, derivative piece of junk about lost L.A. junkies, hustlers, and punks. It was so abysmally bad I walked out. Somehow the writer/director (if you could call him that) forgot that violence and profanity alone do not make a film into the next Pulp Fiction.

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