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SXSW12 – Beauty Is Embarrassing/Sinister

2012 March 11
by profwagstaff

“F.U. Money” is the American Dream.


Directed by: Neil Berkeley
Written by: Neil Berkeley/Chris Bradley/Kevin Klauber

Wayne White is not a household name, but many of his creations were for a while. He is the creator of many of the most beloved characters on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. For an entire generation of tv watchers, Chairry, Dirty Dog and Randy were some of the best friends a man-child could have. (Especially Chairry. Who wouldn’t want a chair that could hug you?)

But Wayne is more than just some amazing puppets on a wacked-out kids’ show. He’s also the son of a Tennessee couple who have supported him in everything he’s done (although his dad doesn’t quite understand his son’s art). He’s the husband of a comic writer/artist. He’s the father of two budding artists. And now he’s becoming a much more famous artist in art circles that he never thought that he would have anything to do with, all because he decided to paint a few words on a cheap painting.

Beauty Is Embarrassing is Wayne’s story. He’s a crazy man with opinions to spare and a heart that won’t quit. He has nothing but love for the world, but it sometimes comes across as hostile. He will at times burst into a kind of hillbilly dance that, really, only he could make cool.

We hear about his journey from a small boy who drew crazy pictures in 1st grade to his crazy times in college when he finally found kindred spirits, to his best times with Pee-Wee, to his worst times on Beakman’s World and six other projects at the same time all the way to the release of his first art book, Maybe Now I’ll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve.

I can only hope that, through the release of the book and this film, he will finally get that respect. He absolutely does deserve it.

White is an amazing talent who absolutely lives up to his book’s title (Now Maybe I’ll Finally Get The Respect That I Truly Deserve)
Doc’s flow works for such a cluttered and interesting mind
Pee-Wee’s is a show that I need to catch up on…wasn’t a huge fan when it happened, but now look back and realize how important it really was
HUGE influence on current trends


Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: Scott Derrickson/C Robert Cargill

The found footage trend in horror has kind of been done to death. According to Joss Whedon, it’s a step back in the right direction because it’s about “the thing almost seen.” While I can agree with that, I also think that not everyone and their dog can do it right.

Scott Derrickson and C Robert Cargill’s Sinister pulls off something that I didn’t think could be done: it does something with found footage that, while not really new, makes it incredibly creepy again.

Ellison (Ethan Hawke) is a true crime novelist who is looking for his next big hit. It’s been ten years and his family is in need of some money. He finds a story in a small town murder of a family…but he may have found more than that, too. When he finds connections to other murders spread out all over the country and time, he realizes that he might be on the verge of something more important than he ever thought possible. The clues are in a bunch of super 8 films that he found in the attic of his new house…the very same house that the murdered family lived in.

Ethan Hawke is great as a man crumbling under the pressure of keeping his family together and trying to restart his career while trying to keep his sanity. The insanely creepy images that he sees in the films certainly don’t help him. These films are among the most frightening things I’ve seen on the big screen in years.

Cargill knows horror movies. I know this because I’ve had conversations with the guy at Fantastic Fest and Butt Numb-a-Thon. Of course, I would also know this from the movie itself. His story is one of the best ghost stories I’ve seen since The Devil’s Backbone. I can’t wait to see what the general public thinks of this Shining-esque movie. It’s everything that Insidious wanted to be.

Also, night terrors are the scariest thing ever.

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