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 & Chance Maggard // Film Critics
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)
Actresses Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy descended upon Austin’s South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this week to attend the world premiere of the 30th anniversary restoration of THE BREAKFAST CLUB.
The film follows five teens subjected to spend their Saturday in detention. Played by Ringwald, Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson, the students come to detention feeling worlds apart, but as time goes on during the day they all realize how alike they really are– as we all are outsiders.
Before the screening commenced, the festivalgoers was serenaded by Barton Hills Choir, who did their own rendition of the memorable anthem “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. It was an adorable performance that touched many, including Ringwald and Sheedy, who took the stage after for a question-and-answer session.
Sheedy, 52, who now works as a teacher at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, talked about how the film still holds truth today and presents a loving message. “You do matter, we are interested in you, and we are going to tell your story,” said Sheedy.
Ringwald, 47, spoke about how she recently watched the film with her daughter and was surprised to find that her daughter related to Anthony Michael Hall’s character, Brian. In the film, Brian, nicknamed “The Brain,” is a straight-A student who attempted suicide after failing an assignment in shop class. “[My daughter] felt that I had too many expectations on her,” Ringwald said. It was a bittersweet moment that Ringwald described as a parent realizing they’re a parent.
After watching the film in all its restored glory, of course, we are left to make our own conclusions as to how things will play out for those five teens. It’s an ending that leaves you feeling both happy and sad for each of the characters, but we all hope they hung out that following Monday.
Even today, the film is still just as fun and educational as ever. It’s undoubtedly a classic that shows no signs of audiences forgetting about it.
THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981) and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR, starring Mel Gibson, was released over 30 years ago, long before many members of the audience were old enough to catch the movie on the the big screen. The opportunity to attend a late-night screening of a restored 35mm print was a serious treat. Although the film was released over three decades ago, the inventiveness and artistry still hold strong, and there is something to respect in a film that still engages the imagination without the help of modern CGI.
Even though the showing was a little on the later side of the SXSW schedule, there was an excitement that could be felt surging through the crowd as both new and old fans gathered for the experience. Whether it was the promise of a “special surprise” following the showing, or the expectation of gaining insight into the film’s director (George Miller) after the credits rolled, the crowd was engaged throughout the entire duration of the film. The excitement came to a peak when the lucky audience members were treated to an 8-minute clip and custom trailer of the upcoming feature MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
There is no sense in us giving you a play-by-play of what went down during that clip. Even the scene SX audiences were shown was completely out of context, leaving us with very little information of what’s going on in FURY ROAD. We did, however, get a great sense of tone and scope of the film, along with the madness that Hardy brings to the iconic role of Max. It’s going to be a blast!
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD hits theaters on May 15.