There’s a lot to navigate in Dallas International Film Festival’s 2017 line-up. But what if — between the human rights documentaries, dark family dramas and ready access to booze — you just want to chill out and watch something funny? Well, you’re in luck there too. We’ve got five of ’em for you.
And you know what else? Four of them even have Texas ties. So snag a ticket, grab a seat and find your new favorite indie comedy.
Mustang Island — April 1, April 2
Written in Austin, shot in Galveston and named after another Texas coastal city, Mustang Island is the bizarre new comedy you’ve been searching for. Constructed like a rom-com, then subverted at every turn, this black-and-white slow burn takes you through one man’s emotional undoing, potential redoing and brave journey to find peace at the bottom of a bottomless mimosa.
It’s flat-out hilarious, oddly endearing and loaded up with hallucinatory vibes. Plus, it’s rare to find any cast this on point, much less in a micro-budget comedy treasure. This one gets its world premiere at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, with an encore screening at 9:45 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Both screenings are at the Magnolia Theater.
Mr. Roosevelt — April 3, April 4
You’ve seen Noël Wells before. Maybe it was as a cast member on Saturday Night Live or as Aziz Ansari’s potentially forever-gal love interest on Master of None. Or maybe y’all rubbed shoulders in line at the original Tamale House (RIP) on Airport Boulevard, before she left Austin to give Los Angeles a piece of her mind. But now, you can get to know her even better in the debut film she both wrote and directed, Mr. Roosevelt.
It’s got a little Austin. A little broken romance. A cat funeral. Failed sketch comedy auditions. And, since screening at SXSW, Mr. Roosevelt also has the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award tucked away into its high-waisted jean pockets. See Wells hug-tackle the world at 5:15 p.m. Monday, April 3, and again at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4. Both screenings are at the Magnolia Theater.
The Relationtrip — April 1, April 2
Writers/directors/producers Renee Felice Smith and C.A. Gabriel have known each other since grade school. Been together since their early 20s. And basically have this love stuff all figured out. As they watched their friends scramble to find someone before all of the someones were gone, Gabriel and Smith found the foundation of their film debut, The Relationtrip.
Surreal. Weird. Packed with puppets, skin masks and giant mother figures, it’s a bizarre spin down otherwise familiar indie rom-com terrain. Join leads Renee Felice Smith and Matt Bush as they hit the road, compacting an entire relationship’s timeline into one extremely freaky weekend. It screens twice, once at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and again at 9:45 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Both screenings are at the Angelika.
A Bad Idea Gone Wrong — April 1, April 2
Ever just want to lock yourself inside a Fort Worth McMansion for a weekend? Neither did would-be burglars Marlon (Matt Jones) or Leo (Will Rogers). And still, such is life.
The plan was simple: Get inside a nice-enough house and take a few nice-enough things. Then, have money. But something … strange happens. First, they’re trapped inside the house they’re meant to be robbing. On top of that, there are some other concerns, like — are they alone? Why did Leo choose this house? And what’s so great about Niagara Falls anyway?
A Bad Idea Gone Wrong is the directorial/screenplay debut from San Francisco-based filmmaker Jason Headley, and its cast snatched up a special jury award for best ensemble at SXSW. Catch your cut of the heist at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and 4:45 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Both screenings are at the Magnolia Theater.
Pineapple Express — April 8
David Gordon Green gets handed the 2017 L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Award at SMU Meadows Museum at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 8. That’s especially great news because DIFF is coupling Green’s visit with a screening of his 2008 hashed-out action comedy Pineapple Express later that night.
If your memory is hazy on this one — [waves cloud of imaginary smoke away from face] — it’s understandable. Here’s a flashback: Dale (Seth Rogan) serves up subpoenas in a rumpled suit. His crap job is made more bearable thanks to loads of high-grade kush, dealt by Saul (James Franco). There’s a murder. Rosie Perez is a cop. But let’s not get into the nitty gritty — “details” aren’t what Pineapple Express is about. It’s a high jinks-laced, stoner slapstick that pairs well with your hook-up’s latest Colorado shipment. Added bonus: It will be screening at Texas Theatre, which has never once run out of concessions. See it 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8.
Get your tickets to individual screenings for $12 each at diff2017.dallasfilm.org.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.