SXSW 2023: Bottoms, Self Reliance, Flamin’ Hot | Festivals and Awards

Of course, most people don’t take Tommy seriously, so he hires a homeless man named James (Biff Wiff) to be with him all day and night. He also released feelers online to see if anyone else was playing and discovered a girl named Maddy (Anna Kendrick), who claims to be him. But can she trust him? Maybe he had no choice.

Obviously, “Self Reliance” is about a lonely person learning about the power of connection. But Johnson is not confident in his themes or plans to realize the many ideas that revolve around this strange duck in a thriller/comedy. After a solid set-up, “Self Reliance” doesn’t have enough actual tension or humor to carry it through each day of Tommy’s journey. When there’s a chance to go there in terms of dark subject matter like the potential for nothing to happen and Tommy suffering a breakdown, it feels like Johnson’s fear of being real. I’ve always liked Johnson as an actor, and I think he has skills as a writer and director. I just wish he had put it in a drawer for a few years and brought it back after a few more projects. Maybe he’s relying on himself here.

Finally, there’s the aggressive crowd pleaser “Flamin’ Hot.” Directed by Eva Longoria, it’s about the true story of Richard Montañez, a man who rose from the janitor’s office at Frito-Lay to an executive audience after (allegedly) developing a hot line of products for snacks like Cheetos. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has become a phenomenon, especially among young people and underserved communities, so it will be interesting to see how a different perspective – non-white – changes the a big business like Frito-Lay. The problem here is not the subject so much as murder. This film has so much talk about the cultural importance of what’s going on that I half expected to see a flashing “Applause” sign in the corner of the screen after a while. The audience at SXSW clapped about 25 times, so it was a crowd pleaser. But it’s woefully unambitious, too content to skim the surface of its characters and story in a manipulative and even dishonest way. It’s too shallow to pack any heat.

jesse garcia stars as Montañez, who tells the story of his life as a hustler from a young age, selling burritos to racist kids who threatened to beat him up in elementary school. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Judy (movie MVP annie gonzalez, who gives the film an emotional depth that is more honest than anyone else), Richard decides to leave the gang life behind to take care of his growing family. He got a job as a janitor at Frito-Lay, where he was fascinated by the process of making potato chips, Cheetos, and Doritos, learning from a longtime technician who played with the appropriate gravitas of Dennis Haysbert. He discovers that the snack company isn’t targeting his people, a culture that needs a little kick in their salty foods, and he tries to get his idea for spicy chips to the head honcho, which is played by Tony Shalhoub.

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