Today I was planning on seeing two films at this years SXSW Film Festival. The first was Joe, starring Nicolas Cage, which the review will be up tomorrow. But I wanted to describe my harrowing journey of trying to see The Raid 2 on Sunday evening. Let’s begin. The evening started with a nice little dinner between my father and I at this historic Maudie’s Tex-Mex in Austin. My father did not want to see the film as he was feeling a bit under the weather (and he was also binging through Sons of Anarchy). So I drive downtown by myself, I pay too much money to park my car for the next couple of hours, cross some streets, and I’m in line. The time is roughly 7:30 P.M. The movie doesn’t start till 9:15. The lines have gone by pretty quick so I don’t expect this evening to do so.
A man next to me asks me if I had seen the first Raid, and I reply yes. I tell him I was a big fan of the film. We talk for a little bit about the film and we go about our business next to each other. I listen to my iPod, he reads the paper as he waits for his wife. I sit there, scrolling through the whitest playlist out there. Electric Light Orchestra, George Harrison, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Bob Segar (that’s actually not a bad playlist come to think of it). The time goes by slowly, and it’s a little breezy. It’s a lot colder than in previous years in Austin during SXSW. So nothing really happens as I wait, I see people more well-groomed and better looking than me fill up the line quickly, and then we all receive queue cards giving us a number in line. My number is 130. A lot better than my 251 from the Neighbors premiere. So we wait and wait, and the time goes by quite slowly. I check the news and everything in between on my phone, but the time gets slower.
I then check my watch. 8:30. Sweet, that must mean that they should be letting us in soon, 20 minutes at tops! I continue to wait, as my incredibly awesome (albeit old) playlist streams in my ears. We get to that 20 minute mark, and nothing happens. Okay, nothing to worry about. These films never run on time. That’s a big film festival for ya. The line gets larger and larger, and we have about 10 minutes until the film starts. That’s odd, I think. Why aren’t we moving. Then it hits. 9:15. What the hell is taking so long? Then a poor SXSW volunteer (by the way, my hat is off to all of those great volunteers) yells that there are some technical difficulties and that it shouldn’t be much longer. A woman yells out why can’t we just wait inside? Pretty smart point. That same woman standing next to me very nicely asks if I’d like to sip on a beer while I wait in this line. I politely decline, as last time I checked I’m not exactly of legal age to consume alcohol. We talk for a bit, and then we get back to our business.
10 to 15 minutes later, the line finally starts to move. YES! is what I scream. We give our queue cards, I make a quick trip to the boy’s room, I find some OK seats and we all wait patiently for an introduction. People are rowdy and it’s fun, as it’s a later screening and people are a bit tipsy. It’s now 9:45 and a worker from SXSW introduces the film with several expletives (I guess that’s the difference from seeing films during the day). The filmmaker, Gareth Evans, comes up on stage to thank everyone and walks off, as we all anxiously await the sequel. The film starts with this beautiful, bleak long shot of a cornfield. Characters start to talk, but something’s off. It takes awhile for me to notice, but then it comes to me. The subtitles are turned off. I don’t know about the other people in the audience, but I can’t speak the native language spoken in this film, as I’m just a dumb hick from Texas who knows just a little English. 5 minutes into the film and people start heckling. I usually get annoyed by hecklers during movies, but some of the stuff these guys scream is pretty funny. After it gets a bit too loud, the Paramount cuts the plug on the film and we are then given a pretty amusing Q&A with Evans and the stars from the film.
The stars do a martial arts demonstration on stage which is pretty awesome, and it’s a great holdover until the movie starts. The questions get dumber and dumber as the minutes begin to drag on, and I’m looking at my watch. 10:20. God, please let this film start. During the Q&A the filmmakers and producers are briefed by workers from the festival, this the audience cannot hear. We see this for 30 minutes as this continues on. The audience, including myself, start to get pretty restless. We want to see The Raid 2 dammit! We’ve all been waiting for 3 hours now to see this damn movie! And then, the unthinkable happens. Evans tells the crowd that the screening for tonight has been canceled. I yell out “What?!?” which is heard around the theater (I want to apologize to the filmmakers for that, it was a bit out of line for me), and more moans and boos ensue. We are then told that the film will be rescheduled for tomorrow night at midnight and Tuesday at 9:45. They wish us a good evening and we all walk home disgruntled. I would have wrecked my car driving home with all the rage that was going through my body, but Jackson Browe’s soothing voice on “Stay” is able to calm me down, and I realize that we can move on. Am I still pissed off about this? You bet your ass I am, but luckily I have a pretty interesting story to tell, and I can finally watch the season finale of True Detective right now. That Joe review will be up tomorrow morning.