I recently had to click through every feature film of the LA Film Festival for “The Man“ and was pleasantly surprised to find out there are quite a few decent movies playing this year in Westwood, land of limited parking and giddy Bruins. Normally I advocate staying far far away from that hellspawn of an intersection at Wilshire and Westwood, but I think I found fifteen reasons to use up some of my $4 gas and hike on over there. Ooh, also, afterward, you can go for kebobs in the neighborhood! Yes. Life is good.
1 – The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Because you should support burgeoning world cinemas instead of giving all your money and time to Brett Ratner!, that’s why, smart ass! Korea and Thailand have had their moments in the film festival sun and the Philippines needs to step up too! This film is about a filipino transsexual who emigrates to Iceland (Iceland?! Why not San Dimas, like the rest of my family) and seeks acceptance and love in a strange new environment. Iceland?! I can’t get over that part.
2 – American Teen
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Firstly, because Nanette Burnstein directed the entertaining Oscar nominated The Kid Stays in the Picture. Secondly because the festival program says this documentary about teens in suburban Indiana has a “distinctly John Hughes flavor”. We certainly could use more John Hughes flavors in this ridiculous frilly Gossip Girls age of ours.
3 – Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? This rockumentary about Canadian metal band Anvil got a lot of positive buzz at Sundance, and has been described to me as “like Spinal Tap – only real”. Also, yeesh, look at this detail: Lips played his guitar with a dildo and belted out songs with titles like “Hair Pie” and “Show Me Your Tits.”
4 – Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Because really, Lee Atwater is to Nixon what Rove was to Bush. Atwater laid the foundation for the neo-con drubbing this country and this planet has recently endured like a noogie administered by the worst jock in high school. AND apparently Lee Atwater likes to rock. That’s right, rock! Know thy enemy.
5 – Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Because Melvin Van Peebles doesn’t direct a movie every year like Woodsy Allen. And just look at that title! The photo on the film festival website also shows a man running away from a gorilla in the woods. A gorilla raises the bar for an indie film! Yes, I know my metrics for driving to Westwood seem suspect, but you’ve read this far, right?
6 – Dirty Hands: The Art & Crimes of David Choe
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Because David Choe is one hell of an artist. Because all the cool Giant Robot kids will probably be there.
7 – Encounters at the End of the World
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Two words: WERNER. FUCKING. HERZOG. Whoops, 3 words.
8 – Fear(s) of the Dark
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? 6 graphic artists (including CHARLES BURNS, writer of Black Hole!) explore their phobia of darkness in stark black and white. I missed Persepolis last year at the fest and I feel like I ought to make it up by going to this. I guess I could also rent Persepolis.
9 – Four Wives – One Man
Why should I drive to Westwood for this? Because if you’re just like me, you got addicted to “Big Love” on HBO, you followed Warren Jeffs’ infamous arrest and now the recent hubbub around the polygamist monobrowed Texas women and their coterie of children. But this film focuses on a Muslim family, and they live in Iran. Will there be similar struggles? Do they have to fight for acceptance too, when polygamy is also a practice of some followers of Islam? How the heck does ANYONE make multiple wives work, no matter what country you’re in? Where’s Henny Youngman when you need a punchline?
10 – Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal
Why should I drive to Westwood for this?
11 – Largo
Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Aimee Mann, Patton Oswalt, Andrew Bird, Grant-Lee Phillips. That is all.
12 – Made in America
13- Paper or Plastic?
14 – Pressure Cooker
This doc follows inner city culinary students who are whipped into top form by a ruthless teacher who pushes them hard – and right into the nation’s top cooking schools. It sounds just like Hell’s Kitchen…but with a purpose! (I hate that screaming British git because he projects the idea that being a dictatorial asshole means you are professional and high class.)
15 – X-Cross
Meanwhile, Aiko soon finds herself on the run from a crazed harajuku girl brandishing frightfully large scissors.” Yeah, yeah. I’m totally gonna go see this one.
((Ed. note: YES, we know CHOKE, the film based on Chuck Pahlahniuk’s novel, is playing – but that will get a theatrical release. Try to see something at the fest you probably won’t see playing in wide release…))
Buy tickets for the Los Angeles Film Festival