Essays · Features and Columns

Austin Cinematic Limits: What Are You Doing On Valentine’s Day?

By  · Published on February 13th, 2012

Okay, I’ll come right out and say it: I really hate Valentine’s Day. It’s just another Hallmark holiday that was created to give retailers a huge boost in sales during what would otherwise be a slow month on their fiscal calendar. Of course, if you are in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is a really tough holiday to ignore because our society deems that everyone must at least purchase chocolates, roses, and/or a greeting card for their significant other; a romantic dinner is also a good idea and maybe a movie afterwards…

Life on February 14th is not any easier if you are single (but if you are, you should probably check out our FSR Dating site), because you definitely cannot go out in public without a date on Valentine’s Day unless you want to look like a totally unlovable loser. On that note, I will quit my bitching and tell you about all of the great cinematic events going on in Austin on the dreaded 14th of February.

The flaming hot ticket this year is to the Alamo Drafthouse’s The Princess Bride Quote-Along and Feast. The February 14th screenings at all four Alamo locations in Austin sold out a while ago (so if your Buttercup or Westley was expecting a ticket and you have not purchased one already, you are shit out of luck). Rob Reiner’s 1987 classic will be paired with a sumptuous feast and the unveiling of the Alamo Signature Wine collection, The Bottle of Wits, which features an Inconceivable Cab and an As You Wish White. What better way to express your “twue wuv” to your Buttercup or Westley, than with a MLT, Screeching Eel Salad, Seared R.O.U.S., and Twue Wuv Twuffles…well, unless you or your Buttercup or Westley is a vegetarian, than this menu would not be very appealing. Nonetheless, it would be inconceivable that someone could resist a film that features a dread pirate, a reluctant princess, a wily Sicilian, a six-fingered count, fire swamps, Rodents of Unusual Size, fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles and – most importantly – TWUE WUV!

Also on the 14th at the Alamo Ritz, Village and Lake Creek is the Love Bites Sing-Along. This particular sing-along is in its seventh year – and it has been updated every year. (The Alamo promises that this will be the best Love Bites Sing-Along yet.) If you know anything about the anthemic ballads performed by 1980s hair metal bands (such as Guns ‘n Roses, REO Speedwagon, and Warrant) that are typically showcased in a Love Bites Sing-Along, then you also know that this is your best anti-Valentine’s Day option for the evening. So, for those of you who actually want to re-live this particular part of the 1980s, lighters will be lit, fists will be pounded, hair will be teased, and animal print tights will be worn.

The Austin Film Society will be at the Alamo South Lamar to screen one of my favorite Luis Buñuel films – That Obscure Object of Desire – as the closing film of their Essential Cinema series, The Great Escape: Three European Émigré Filmmakers. Most of That Obscure Object of Desire is told in flashbacks, as the 60-year-old Mathieu unabashedly recounts his foolish relationship with Conchita – an 18-year-old flamenco dancer – to his fellow train compartment passengers. (I’m guessing that a 42-year age difference equates to a Winter-Spring romance?) Things get really confusing when Buñuel begins to seamlessly switch between two different actresses portraying Conchita. (Oh, those wild and crazy surrealists!) Far from a typical love story, there is certainly no shortage of love (and obsession) within That Obscure Object of Desire. If you have an obscure object of desire of your own, you should bring him/her to this screening – I bet they will be totally convinced of your refined taste in film by the time the closing credits roll.

Cinematic Things To Do in Austin This Week:

2/10 to 2/16 – Violet Crown Cinema — A Separation is Iran’s second film to ever be nominated for an Oscar and it is the presumed favorite in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2012 Academy Awards. (I can only imagine the priceless quotes that we will get from the Republican presidential nominees if A Separation wins!) AFS Selects presents this limited engagement of A Separation at the Violet Crown Cinema. (More info)

2/14 – Alamo South Lamar — What better way to end Valentine’s Day than with an exclusive midnight screening of The Ouija Experiment with cast & crew in attendance? (More info)

2/16 – Salvage Vanguard Theater — Cinema41 screens Chan-Wook Pan’s I’m A Cyborg, But That’s Okay (2005). (More info)

2/17 & 2/18 – Alamo Ritz — If you have never seen Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, well you should totally do yourself a kindness and check out The Late Show’s screenings at the Alamo Ritz. (More info)

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