Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Preston Barta // Critic
DALLAS— Friday night welcomed a handful of very talented comedians to the Gexa Energy Pavilion. Nearly 20,000 people braved the heat, atrocious traffic and deep-wallet priced food and beverages. But overall, Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Oddity Festival proved to be another successful year for the popular video site.
Jeff Ross helmed the show as MC for the evening, wasting no time between the acts and singling out (un)lucky members of the audience for a quick roast. “Thank you, sir, for fighting for our country,” said Ross to one of the devotees, “and thank you for being the reason why we have to fight for our country” to another. Not scared to offend or upset the audience, Ross stole the show.
One of the other takeaways was, of course, the star of the evening, Louis C.K. Talking about raising his kids and taking them to a summer house with a bat inside, Louis C.K. continues to cement himself as one of the funniest, most brutally honest comedians on the planet. He calls it as he sees it, and doesn’t care if the audience likes it or not.
Preceded by C.K. was Sarah Silverman, whose set provided laughs, only they were too few and far between. She ventured down a very traveled road of abortion, religion and feminism, offering nothing really fresh.
Marc Maron gave a decent enough set, including a very extended bit about his addiction to ice cream. But it was Hannibal Buress and the new comic Julian McCullough that outshined the closing acts.
Buress, returning from last year’s first show, revealed that he recently got LASIK eye surgery, and he threw in jokes about seeing certain details that he hadn’t noticed before. “For instance, I can see that you are a piece of sh*t,” said Buress as he pointed at one of the audience members.
Rounding off the bill of comedians was Whitney Cummings, who was often entertaining; however, she relied too heavily on sexual material. Her set was so gratuitous that she constantly repeated a joke about a woman squirting (Yeah, that was even tough to write).
Despite some of the comics who fell short, Oddball kept things moving and the audience entertained for the most. I can’t wait to see who returns and becomes a part of their third annual show next fall.
Oddball wrapped up their second-year tour last night in Austin, but all information about the tour can be found at oddballfest.com.