Winner, Peter C. Rollins Book Award, Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, 2011
During the 1990s, Austin achieved "overnight" success and celebrity as a vital place for independent filmmaking. Directors Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez proved that locally made films with regional themes such as Slacker and El Mariachi could capture a national audience. Their success helped transform Austin's homegrown film community into a professional film industry staffed with talented, experienced filmmakers and equipped with state-of-the art-production facilities. Today, Austin struggles to balance the growth and expansion of its film community with an ongoing commitment to nurture the next generation of independent filmmakers.
Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids chronicles the evolution of this struggle by re-creating Austin's colorful movie history. Based on revealing interviews with Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Mike Judge, Quentin Tarantino, Matthew McConaughey, George Lucas, and more than one hundred other players in the local and national film industries, Alison Macor explores how Austin has become a proving ground for contemporary independent cinema. She begins in the early 1970s with Tobe Hooper's horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and follows the development of the Austin film scene through 2001 with the production and release of Rodriguez's $100-million blockbuster, Spy Kids. Each chapter explores the behind-the-scenes story of a specific movie, such as Linklater's Dazed and Confused and Judge's Office Space, against the backdrop of Austin's ever-expanding film community.
Alison Macor is a freelance writer and former film critic for the Austin Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman. She has taught film courses at the University of Texas, Austin Community College, and the Austin Museum of Art.
Introduction. The Hippies and the Cowboys All Looked Alike
One. A Living Nightmare: Tobe Hooper and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Two. Eagle Pennell and the Rise of Regional Filmmaking
Three. Made in Austin: The Austin Chronicle and Red Headed Stranger
Four. Slacker: The Least Auteur Film Ever Made
Five. The Mariachi Kid: Robert Rodriguez and El Mariachi
Six. The Reluctant Quarterback: Richard Linklater and Dazed and Confused
Seven. Winning the Battle, Losing the War: The Newton Boys
Eight. The Company Man: Tim McCanlies and Dancer, Texas Pop. 81
Nine. Office Space: The Making of a Cult Classic
Ten. Rebel With or Without a Crew: Robert Rodriguez and Spy Kids
Conclusion. Outside the System, Inside the System
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