Fantastic Fest is quite possibly my favorite film festival. It’s held in my hometown of Austin, TX and takes place at my favorite theatre, the Alamo Drafthouse on S Lamar. Last year wasn’t as good because the theatre was under construction, so they had to have it at a different Alamo. But this year it was back in home base and was all the better for it.
Of course, I still only got to see five films. Pesky work got in the way of my good time!
What is Fantastic Fest, you ask? It’s the local horror, sci-fi, fantasy film festival, that’s what! Full of tun and dismemberment, even the bad movies tend to be a lot of fun.
Seeing as how I only saw the five films, I’m going to attempt something different.
This is a double feature of the best film I saw and another, older film.
Nils (Stellan Skarsgard) is just a guy. No one truly special, although his town just voted him Citizen Of The Year. That’s mainly because he runs the snowplow and, in the snowy mountains of Norway, that’s a pretty important occupation.
When his son is killed, the ol’ revenge bone acts up. When he’s told that his son overdosed on heroin, it positively flares up. The mild-mannered man starts to find out exactly who the drug dealers in town are and goes for them one by one, trying to build himself up to the leader, a fairly insane vegan who calls himself The Count. (He’s crazy enough to think that he can be a good father while being a gangster.)
Nils becomes obsessed (of course) and kills a number of gangsters on his way to The Count, each one taking him further down the rabbit hole. Strangely, he’s pretty good at killing. I’m not so sure about that, but there it is.
The best thing about this movie is its humor. Nils is in a desperate situation. One that he may not come out of alive. But the movie never loses the dark sense of humor that includes flashing the name and religious symbol for each life lost along the way. It doesn’t hurt that Mr Skarsgard is in top form here and seems just as dumbfounded with his talent as the audience is.
This definitely made me want to check out Skarsgard’s other collaboration with Moland, A Somewhat Gentle Man.
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
By now I think we’ve all seen this. In fact, some of us have seen tv shows and other movies based around this movie. But I’ll give you a quick synopsis, anyway.
Jerry Lundergaard (William H Macy in the role that made him basically a household name) is just a guy. He’s trying desperately to get himself out of a financial hole, so he hires two dudes (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare to kidnap his wife so that her rich father will pay the ransom. Of course, things go horribly wrong.
Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is a very pregnant police chief. She just wants to solve this case before her water breaks. Fortunately, she’s just about the smartest person in town. Unfortunately, she’s just about the smartest person in town.
Lots of blood and snow ensue.
Fargo is an amazing film with enough black humor to go around. So much so that some people mistake this movie for a comedy. And it is pretty damn funny, but it’s definitely a story of murder, sex and bad intentions gone horrible worse.
Ok. Maybe it’s kind of a comedy.
Snow. Murder. Blood. Hitmen. Dark, dark comedy.
These movies have a lot in common. Throughout In Order Of Disappearance I was constantly reminded of the Coen Brothers. Enough to make me think that maybe Moland had seen Fargo just a few too many times. But that’s certainly not a bad thing.
I loved both of these movies and they’re both worthy of being in your collection.