Get Adobe Flash player

PingWi-Fi Knocks Off Two From #DIFF List: ‘QWERTY’ & ‘Sironia’

April 18th, 2012 · Tags:Arts · Cities

QWERT - Pupkin, Sebastian, composer Jurgen Beck

QWERTY - Pupkin, Sebastian, composer Ricardo Veiga

Word nerds, rejoice.

There is a magical place where ESPN covers Scrabble tournaments … a place where pencil-neck geeks put fear in the hearts of the office stud … a place where the oppressed librarian-kinda-gal gets 15 minutes of fame.

That place is in film, “QWERTY” to be exact. If you are considering Googling that, it is the name of a fun little film — our most recent selection from the offerings over at The Dallas International Film Festival … and of course a set of letters from the left side of the keyboard.

A self-confessed word nerd, I put QWERTY high on my list of films to see at the festival, but then was even more persuaded, after meeting director Bill Sebastian and leading lady (on film and in his life) Dana Pupkin on the red carpet the other night. (See red carpet photos below …)

Hoping to communicate on some higher level of nerddom, I asked the director just how many people knew the significance of QWERTY and then the follow-up question – “Is QWERTY WYSIWYG?” More Googling …

Also in the film, liked all the shots of Chicago … especially “The Bean” or Cloud Gate stainless steel sculpture. And then there is the token insane Christian guy (played by Bill Redding,) who befriends the troubled romeo type (Eric Hailey). The homeless, crazy guy sort of sets up his own “Occupy QWERTY” on his new friend’s patio.

Best line, paraphrased: You can stalk me. They used to call it courtship.

The film is a love story. It is “Rudy” with a dictionary. And it has references to Star Trek and Star Wars … I think that about sums it up.

In addition to Scrabble, the film brings a few anagrams to mind. You know … rearranging letters of words, to make new words. Well, “g-e-n-t-l-e p-i-n-k, likes this movie and awards 6 pings.

Cunningham, Brandon Dickerson, Jeremy Sisto - "Sironia"

Cunningham, Brandon Dickerson, Jeremy Sisto - "Sironia"

And on the same day, I saw the other film I had been waiting for … a Texas music thang — “Sironia.”

First off, where the hell is Sironia? In 9 out of 10 cases, if it is a Texas town I haven’t heard of, that means it is near Houston. However, if my research is correct, Sironia is a fictitious town near Waco. (Actually there really is a bar in Waco called Sironia.)

The film — a film after my own heart — features a boy-like aging rocker (Dallas rocker Wes Cunningham) … used up, road hard and spat out by the flesh-oriented rock ‘n’ roll pop machinery, he and his wife (Amy Acker) escape to small town Texas. But there is trouble in Sironia, as rocker boy tries to make a living.

The film has potential. I would love it I am sure — like all of the Dallas, hometown big, big Wes Cunningham friends and fans in the screening — LOL … if I knew Wes Cunningham.

More on Wes Cunningham of Baylor

(Spot on … he so sounds like David Garza!)

But, the film is not wonderful. It is pretty good.  Interesting — it is a “Texas film” but there is also Hollywood influence — both in the credits, the plot and the over-done, cliched Texas sister-in-law. (I took this as logical ambition … to give the film appeal outside The Lone Star State … but winced every time she spoke.)

The film’s appearance is “big time, decent budget” looking. Someone spent some time and money … and made a nice little film.  It’s funny too … with great lines about “mutton busting” “deer blinds” and such … open season onTexas fodder.

Like I said, man I wish I knew Wes Cunningham’s music … and I wish the film would have done more to capture his energies and abilities … long before the credits  — where he actually rocks out a bit and looks comfortable performing. I believe this is a new direction for him (acting) and I think we will see bigger/better things.

Sironia gets 5 pings from the 7-string, twangy instrument we use for rating things.

Now … dang it … Now that I have made it through an entire review without mistakenly typing “Siriana” … I gotta let out a little steam. EVERY DIFF film presentation begins with a polite little reminder to turn off your phone — the smart phones and the dumb ones.

However, last night, for the entire movie — and actually for part of the commercial clips prior to “Sironia” — my movie-going friends and I got to hear the annoying theme song from sub-par game show “The Price Is Right” for two hours, if my math is correct. No … it wasn’t someone getting calls, intermittent calls … somehow the device was stuck on the brass fanfare intro of the theme song … “dah-dah_DAH — dah-dah DAH, dah-dah_DAH — dah-dah DAH repeat …

Typically, I am amazed at how rude people behave in a movie. This time I was flabbergasted that no one grabbed the phone and threw it against the wall … especially me. Ha … I exercised restraint and didn’t even let my Turret’s Syndrome take over …

Why? Ha! Because for the first hour of the Price Is Right marathon, I secretly wondered if somehow I was responsible. Just before the film, I posted a blog rather quickly and rushed to shut down my computer, go shoot the red carpet, and grab a seat for Sironia.

“Had I not shut down the MacBook Pro properly?” “Was the browser running amuck all over YouTube and ‘looping’ viral clips of Bob Barker and the scantily clad spokesmodels?,” I asked myself.

What to do? I leaned over to my backpack. It was stuffed with a motorcycle helmet and a laptop … and didn’t seem to be making any noise, but I wasn’t certain. What if it is me? Do I risk opening the case and blinding everyone around me with the bright lights of my computer screen, as I open it? Will the somewhat faint theme song blast loudly in the theater if I open the laptop?

Bless the heart-of-Texas hearts of the Sironia film team … Because I have to have been negatively influenced by this dilemma as I was trying to review their film. About three quarters of the way through the film, I thought I had made peace with the situation and had just learned to ignore the dumb phone … I had a plan, I would just grab my bag as fast as I could when the film ended … and run … hoping no one knew that I was the Price Is Right fiend. But that was also the point where the emotions were at a climax … the poignant points were most pointed … The filmmaker inserted strategic points of silence for effect. In those quiet moments … those sweet, sweet cinematographic moments of genius … The Price Is Right seem to ring out through the theater.

Well Praise The Lord and pass the popcorn. It wasn’t me! It wasn’t me. At the end of the movie, just before the house lights went up … the woman beside me … the woman who had watched the movie wrapped in a blanket — not unlike a fatboy Chipotle burrito — unfurled her blanket and through the denim side pocket of her shirt … I could see the light of her phone. Was it a Price Is Right game she had downloaded … stuck on pause? I don’t know and I don’t care. It was the most torturous, and embarrassing film experience ever. Praise The Lord it wasn’t me.

Check your phones. Good Honk!

Know what I saying?

More from DIFF:

Matthew Heineman, "Escape Fire"

Matthew Heineman, "Escape Fire"

Je-kyu Kang, "My Way"

Kang Je-kyu, "My Way"

Daniel McQueary, "Alfred Thinks We're Aliens"

Daniel McQueary, "Alfred Thinks We're Aliens"

Gracie Whitton, "Trespass"

Gracie Whitton, "Trespass"

Major Dodson interview "Alfred Thinks We're Aliens"

Major Dodson interview, "Alfred Thinks We're Aliens"

Cunningham, "Sironia"

Cunningham, "Sironia"

Tanner Fontana, "Crescendo"

Tanner Fontana, "Crescendo"