SXSW Day 3 (Our Nixon, Xmas Without China, Mud, A Teacher)
Ryan Revolver
3/11/2013



Movie: Our Nixon

 

Synopsis: Throughout Richard Nixon’s presidency, three of his top White House aides obsessively documented their experiences with Super 8 home movie cameras. Young, idealistic and dedicated, they had no idea that a few years later they’d all be in prison. This unique and personal visual record, created by H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin, was seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation, then filed away and forgotten for almost 40 years. "Our Nixon" is an all-archival documentary presenting those home movies for the first time, along with other rare footage, creating an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before.

 

 

What I thought: This documentary shows that the 37th President of the United States was a paranoid & homophobic “square”. Kind of bitterly poetic hearing a recorded conversation of Nixon having a conversation while one of his aide’s Super 8 footage of birds in the backyard is shown. If Haldeman, Ehrilichman & Chapin had been around in this time-and-age would they be mega-bloggers? Constantly recording stuff and posting it on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr?

 

 

 

Movie: Xmas Without Christmas

 

Synopsis: A documentary-comedy about serious issues we have with our stuff, Xmas Without China follows Chinese immigrant Tom Xia as he challenges his American neighbors to survive the Christmas season without any Chinese products.

 

What I thought: Tom’s father very early on stating “Like Americans could survive without Chinese products,” was spot on. It is very humorous when everything the Jones’ family owns (that is made in China) is loaded into a storage unit in their driveway. “You can’t build the American dream without a little bit of China”-Tom's father is full of wisdom. Three stars guy. Products made in America is a rarity. Americans don't do silly things anymore like manufacturing their own goods.

 

 

Movie: Mud

 

Synopsis: Mud is an adventure about two boys, Ellis and his friend Neckbone, who find a man named Mud hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Mud describes fantastic scenarios—he killed a man in Texas and vengeful bounty hunters are coming to get him. He says he is planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper, who is waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. It isn’t long until Mud’s visions come true and their small town is besieged by a beautiful girl with a line of bounty hunters in tow.

 

 

What I thought: Jeff Nichols continues to impress with his portrayal of rural America. If you haven’t seen his other two films (Shotgun Stories, Taking Shelter) you should add them to your queue. This time around he has a bigger budget and a more star studded cast (no offense Michael Shannon). Go see it when it comes out April 26th.

 

 

 

Movie: A Teacher

 

Synopsis: Diana, a young, attractive teacher at a suburban Texas high school, is well-liked by her students and colleagues. Her life seems to be following the status quo, but in reality she’s having a secret affair with her student Eric. She confides in no one but him, reveling in the teenage terrain of sexting and backseat quickies. Even when the risk of discovery looms over their relationship, her investment in the fantasy remains stronger than reality. Unable to control herself, she heads down a reckless path of self-destruction.

 

What I thought: Oh the woes of a Texas public school teacher. Not only does her lover drive a much nicer vehicle than her (we are a nation of drivers) but she has to have a roommate because she cannot afford to live on her own. Relationships are hard enough, having to have some secret rendezvous with someone under the age of 18 has to be the pits. I must say Lindsay Burdge gave it her all, and then some. Self-destruction is an understatement. By the way, this film was totes shot in Austin. A Teacher was…well…it was something. That’s for sure.


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