Mike Judge

Quick Snaps: 'Extract' Now on DVD

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'Extract' World Premiere in Austin

The latest comedy from Austin filmmaker Mike Judge, Extract, is out on DVD today. Just in time for Christmas, you can sit with your family and watch a movie about insurance fraud, adultery, sexy con artists, dopey gigolos, drug-pushing bartenders ... hmm, I may have to get my hands on a copy. As you can see from my review, I got a kick out of the movie, although it may not be as repeatedly watchable as Office Space or Idiocracy. Jenn Brown also reviewed the film.

The DVD release gives me an excuse to share a few more photos from the local Extract premiere at the Paramount in August. As I noted in my article, everyone was sweating like crazy, although you're supposed to call it "glow" when actors do it. Still, the folks on the red carpet that evening were good-natured about it. Debbie Cerda was also there and got some great quotes from Judge as well as Houston actress Lidia Porto, who plays one of the factory workers in the film, sidekick to Beth Grant's chronic complainer. Although Grant wasn't at the Extract red carpet, we chatted with her a bit at Austin Film Festival and should be posting some of that material soon.

After the jump, I've got a photo of Lidia Porto, another of Jason Bateman, and one more of Mike Judge, my favorite from the evening.

Premiere Slackery News Tidbits

Men Who Stare at GoatsI've got plenty of Austin film news to share today, from premieres to DVD news to some articles you won't want to miss. Here we go:

  • Slackerwood is sponsoring a special preview screening of The Men Who Stare at Goats (pictured at right) on Thursday night. Follow our Twitter feed to find out how you can get free passes.
  • The general release date for Richard Linklater's latest film, Me and Orson Welles, has been pushed back to December 11. No word yet on whether that's the date when the film will open in Austin.
  • However, if you live in Austin, you can see Me and Orson Welles at the Austin Film Society gala premiere on Monday, November 30 at the Paramount. Tickets are on sale now for AFS members, and will go on sale for the general public on Nov. 9. Linklater will be at the event along with actors Zac Efron and Christian McKay. Proceeds from the screening benefit the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund.

Review: Extract

Extract

Austin has a special place in its collective heart for Office Space, and no surprise -- not only was it filmed in town, there are plenty of cube farms were every character is represented, where TPS reports line the cube walls, and people know the mere mention of a stapler will invoke a quote-athon. Ten years later, Mike Judge's latest is the ultimate companion film about the other side of the desk, Extract.

Jason Bateman plays Joel, who's considering selling the flavor extract business he started from the ground up, but a freak accident and some bad judgment put his life into a tailspin. Joel suddenly finds himself battling lawyers, lotharios, the world's most annoying neighbor and a con artist, when all he really wants is some quality time with his wife.

Bateman, whose comic genius lies in his uncanny "straight man" abilities, is made for the role of the hapless Joel. But what makes him shine is the supporting cast, including Kristen Wiig (Adventureland), Beth Grant (No Country for Old Men, Jericho), J.K. Simmons (Juno, Spider-Man), and Clifton Collins Jr. (Sunshine Cleaning, Star Trek). Every one of them you'll recognize, both as outstanding performers and the characters they play, including an uncredited performance by Judge himself.  Ben Affleck again proves he's not just a pretty face, but one that does best in snarky comedy.

'Extract' Premiere Benefits Texas Filmmakers

Extract red carpet

The world premiere of Mike Judge's new film Extract took place on Tuesday night in Austin at the Paramount Theatre, with star Jason Bateman (pictured above with Judge) and others attending. The premiere was a benefit for the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund. It's been a big week for Austin Film Society (AFS), with the recent announcement as reported by Jette of the TFPF grants awards announcement and now a major premiere benefiting the fund. I spoke with actors from Extract as well as AFS founder and filmmaker Richard Linklater, who was in attendance supporting fellow Austin filmmaker Mike Judge and the TFPF benefit. 

Jenn interviewed Mike Judge for Slackerwood earlier that day, so rather than inundate him with questions I did ask him the one question that was in the back of my mind:

Red-Carpet Mania in August

Grindhouse Red Carpet, April 2007The last week or so has been crazy with announcements for red-carpet film events in Austin, so much so that keeping them all straight is enough to keep your eyes crossed. Count 'em, no less than three in four days in August:

  • Saturday, August 15: Cinemapocalypse kicks off with Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds
  • Sunday, August 16: Austin premiere of Robert Rodriguez's Shorts
  • Tuesday, August 18: World premiere of Mike Judge's Extract

To ease the vertigo and help you schedule your ticket buying, we've compiled the relevant information below. You will notice that there are benefits to membership, as AFS members and Fantastic Fest 2009 badgeholders have an advantage over the general public.

The 'Office Space' Anniversary at the Paramount

On Sunday night, SXSW and Fantastic Fest teamed up to host a 10th anniversary screening and cast reunion at the Paramount for Office Space, which Mike Judge filmed in Austin (okay, and a couple of scenes in Dallas) in 1999. The Paramount was completely sold out, which means that we saw Office Space with 1,200 people. That's an experience I highly recommend.

I wrote about the event for Cinematical, but I thought I'd include more photos here. The above photo is a shot of the red carpet ... yes, that's a "Jump to Conclusions" mat, just like the one in the movie.

The evening started with a red carpet, and writer/director Mike Judge showed up first with his daughters. The young women looked very happy to be the center of photographic attention:

SXSW 2008: Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards

Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards On the opening night of SXSW this year, I traded an evening of filmgoing for something I hadn't done before: attending the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards over at Austin Studios. The event is a big fundraiser for Austin Film Society, with tickets and tables going for way more money than I could afford, so I figured that covering the event as press would probably be the only way I'd ever attend.

The evening began with a red carpet setup at the entrance to the event. I was advised to get there early because a lot of celebrities are honored at the awards ceremony, so tons of media would be there, especially video cameras. Video cameras take up a lot of room on a red carpet and still photographers can have trouble squeezing into a good spot where they won't be bonked on the head with a camera or potentially stumble over a tripod. I staked out a spot near the end of the actual carpet, where the long line of video cameras ended. I was right next to the IFC video crew, which was good because any time they started pointing their camera at someone, I figured I should too.

What's up with Idiocracy?

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If you live in Austin, I assume you know who Mike Judge is ... you may even have spotted him around town. You know, the unassuming man who sounds a little bit like Hank Hill (for good reason). When he spoke to a class at UT I audited in the spring, he rode his bike from his office to the classroom.

What you might not know is that Mike Judge has a movie opening in theaters on Friday. He wrote and directed Idiocracy, a comedy that stars Luke Wilson, Dax Shepherd, and Maya Rudolph. Stephen Root, who had a role in Judge's Office Space and played a recurring character on King of the Hill, has a small role. Wilson plays a guy who is kept in suspended animation and revived 1,000 years later. He wasn't very smart in the twenty-first century, but in the future, everything is so dumbed-down that he is hailed as a genius.

At least, I think that's the plot. I can't tell for sure because no publicity materials are available for this film. Critics are becoming familiar with studios not having press screenings for movies that they think will be panned, but Fox hasn't released any trailers or publicity materials for Idiocracy. If you look around the Web, you will see the same two still photos everywhere for Idiocracy. No Web site exists (not even on MySpace!).

Here's a copy of one of the two photos circulating around the Web:

Idiocracy

Normally I would crop the text on the bottom, but this time it's important. The still is from 2004, and at the time, the film was still referred to as "Untitled Mike Judge Project." It's not even a recently created publicity shot.

And when I say that Idiocracy opens Friday, I mean that it is opening in only a few cities: Austin (yay), Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto, according to this Austin Chronicle article. Notice that New York isn't on the list. Austinites can be happy that for once, we're getting a movie first, before NYC even, but this release pattern doesn't bode well for the film. Box Office Mojo lists it as opening on only 125 screens (and I'm wondering if that isn't a generous estimate).

Is Idiocracy a bad film, or simply misunderstood by the studio for which it was made, Fox? Bear in mind that Fox wasn't crazy about Judge's previous feature, Office Space, which has since become a culty hit on DVD. (High-tech Austin adores the film.)

When Mike Judge spoke to my aforementioned UT class back in January, he was obviously disgusted with certain aspects of making movies for a studio, especially test screenings. He told some pretty funny stories about test screenings for Office Space -- the kind of funny where you feel lucky the movie got the release it did. Judge obviously wasn't happy with the way test screenings were being handled for Idiocracy, and the recommendations that Fox was making. He said he didn't want to work for a studio again -- he would prefer to raise money himself for low-budget films over which he had more control.

At least in Austin, we have the opportunity before most of the rest of you either to uncover a hidden comedy gem, or to suffer through a tedious, unfunny bomb, starting on Friday. Idiocracy opens here at the following theaters: Alamo on South Lamar, Galaxy Highland, Gateway, Tinseltown in Pflugerville, and Lakeline. I'm reviewing the movie for Cinematical, and with no screenings available beforehand, plan to go on Friday night.

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