Our Final ActionFest Diary Survives The Trip With The Endurance of Donnie Yen

By  · Published on April 21st, 2012

If you’re just catching up with us, Junkfood Cinema head honcho Brian Salisbury and I have made the dubiously sane decision to trek 20+hours across the country to attend ActionFest, an upstart film festival focusing exclusively on badass action films. It’s a long drive from Austin to beautiful Asheville, NC, but we’ve made it relatively unscathed and have two full days and 9 fest films under our collective belt. You can read about those first two days here and here. It is with little sleep and much caffeine that we make our way back to the Carolina theater for the third and final day of ActionFest 2012!

We started day 3 with the first of 2 secret screenings on the ActionFest schedules. Rumors were flying, even as we were in line, but none turned out to be correct. The film was Sleepless Night which had previously played Toronto and our own beloved Fantastic Fest. Brian had already seen it so he went up the lounge to “work” (I’m fairly certain he drank beer and ate chicken). Despite trying to see it twice at Fantastic Fest, circumstances conspired to keep me from seeing the last 30–40 minutes or so. OK fine, the first time I just fell asleep. In any event, my dad and I stuck around for the French flick to which Warner Bros. has already purchased the remake rights. We rushed out as the credits rolled and managed to only miss the first minute or two of Goon. Yeah, that’s right, we went to see Goon a second time. Yes, it’s that good. The movie is hilarious, consistently funny throughout and an all-around great time. See it!

It was lunch time. I’ll give you three guesses as to where we headed but you’ll only need one. That’s right kids, we stuffed our faces with delicious Zaxby’s. And after three days it was still just as good as the first time. Brian mustered all of his courage… and ordered a brownie batter milkshake. I’ll turn it over to him for a quick description:

There are a handful of notable events in the history of mankind that mark our ascension to the dominant species on the planet. We discovered fire, we learned to farm, we developed the written word and movable type. Gloss over a few other trivial accomplishments and you’ll land at the distinct height of human evolution: the brownie batter milkshake. As a proponent of junk food, possibly definitely unhealthily so, the entrance of the brownie batter milkshake into my gullet was an experience akin to Keir Dullea witnessing the splendorous technicolor mysteries of life in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The delicious chunks of as-yet-unformed brownie are chewy, sweet embellishments upon one of the single greatest dessert beverages of all time. Yeah, I liked it.

Unfortunately the second secret screening is so damn secret we couldn’t even write about it. I will say that it’s awesome that they were playing the film they played, but since we wouldn’t be able to include it in our coverage we decided to take in a regular screening of Haywire, which my dad and I had managed to miss in it’s first theatrical run. I was surprised how quiet an action film it was but still quite enjoyed it. Then it was time for the closing night film which was held at the Asheville Fine Arts theater, a sort of Paramount like theater in downtown Asheville though much smaller but, thankfully, with slightly more legroom. It was a nice way to finish out the fest as we took in the Donnie Yen film Wu Xia, a beautifully photographed, highly stylized actioner that we all loved. In fact, as much as he loved The Raid, my dad said he thought Wu Xia might have been his favorite of the fest. It was with heavy hearts that we said our thank you’s and goodbyes and bid Asheville farewell.

And then we got to drive the 20 hours back to Austin. It was a much more eventful trip this time around, but I’ll try to sum everything up quickly for you. About 3 hours into the trip, I discovered that the CD player isn’t working. Not good. Just outside of Atlanta, a nice guy in a huge truck alerted us to the fact that one of our tires was low. We pulled off and aired up and then headed to a tire shop to get it checked out. Turns out we picked up the world’s smallest nail in an unpatchable part of the tire. 90 minutes and $100 later we had a new tire and were once more Texas-bound. Around Mississippi, I try the CD player again and it magically works. Around Alabama we discover that though the CD player will play, it refuses to eject the CD. We are stuck with Kanye’s Late Registration and local radio for the duration of the trip. There are plenty of worse CD’s to have stuck in your player. Somewhere in Alabama, Brian decides we need to stop at Krystal. I have 6 cheeseburgers, he has 9. Neither decision bodes well for our respective digestive systems. But the real fun starts when we get back to Texas. Sleep deprived, our mind starts playing tricks on and at various points one or both of us sees the following: Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China, that monster thing from the Cosmopolis trailer and a sentient fog with pillars and the ghosts of children running through it. We somehow managed to make it back to Austin without killing ourselves or anyone else and fell into comas. A great time was had by all, but this was finally the time to sleep. We’ll see you next year, Asheville.

More ActionFest Coverage awaits you.

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