Fantastic Fest X: The Fantastic Debates 2014

Welcome to the 10th annual Fantastic Fest film festival here in Austin, Texas. This is my daily recap which over the next week will primarily recap the film experiences I have has as well as touch on the mental and physical status of the Festival-going folk, myself included. My entertainment is guaranteed but please, pray for my well being. Let chaos reign!

Fantastic Fest is primarily a film festival, but it is also host to some of the most outrageous and entertaining events Austin, Texas has to offer. The jewel in the crown of Fantastic Fest, in my humble opinion, is the Fantastic Debates. Under the watchful eye of local author, performer, and emcee for the evening Owen Egerton, two people engage in debate over a subject, one for, one against. Past topics have included the value of remakes, whether hot people are pervading nerd culture, and whether Tai Chi is a martial art relegated to elderly Chinese women and is inferior in every way to Tae Kwon Do. A veritable Cinematic Thunderdome, if you will.

Where the Debates are elevated, or debased, depending on your perspective, is that after verbal sparring, actual sparring takes place. Two rounds of boxing ensue with the audience deciding who is the overall victor. It is the build up and trash talk between fighters that add entertainment equal to the actual physical contest. Most of our readers are probably aware of the Alamo Drafthouse’s “Magnited States” voicemail message PSA about talking in a theater. Well, as part of the trash talk buildup to the fights Ti West (The Sacrament) delivered his own version at his opponent, Alamo Founder and Loon in Chief Tim League.

So, this year’s Debates were:

1) Josh Ethier vs. Joe Lynch
 RESOLVED: The Samurai is Infinitely More Badass Than the Cowboy in Cinema

2) Jenny Jacobi vs. Maria Reinup
 RESOLVED: Literature Should Not Be Adapted into Movies

3) Matt Mason vs. Todd Brown
 RESOLVED: BitTorrent is the Savior of Independent Film; Not the Enemy

4) Ti West vs. Tim League
 RESOLVED: The Found Footage Genre is a Cancer Eating Away the Integrity of Cinema

Check out the photos and videos from the event below.

* Yes, that is Film Critic and all around sweetheart Leonard Maltin loving every minute of this.

So what did we learn? The Cowboy IS more badass than the Samurai, Literature SHOULD be adapted into movies, Bittorrent IS the enemy of independent film, found footage IS a cancer eating away at cinema, and beer plus cinema nerds plus violence is a very entertaining combination.

FANTASTIC DEBATES, FF’s long-running showcase of intellectual and physical combat, cements its vein-bulging status for 2014 with four (count ’em) rounds of verbal disputation followed by two-fisted decimation! Included among this year’s white-knuckle conflicts are Alamo Drafthouse founder TIM LEAGUE duking it out with indie provocateur TI WEST on the controversial subject of found footage horror, filmmakers JOE LYNCH (EVERLY) and JOSH ETHIER (ALMOST HUMAN) with “RESOLVED: Samurais are infinitely more badass than cowboys in cinema,” while producer/film writer/Twitch website editor TODD BROWN accepts the challenge from’s MATT MASON, whose stunning topic is: “RESOLVED: Bit-torrent is the savior — not the enemy — of independent film.” Check out Todd Brown and Matt Mason’s challenge fight videos HERE.

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