New Year’s Eve celebrations can be fun, but they can also be predictable. You go out with friends, have a nice dinner (within your budget), take a cab downtown to a bar or club where you have to pay a cover, make a toast with some cheap champagne at midnight, then stumble around in the freezing cold trying to catch a cab back home.
Fortunately for all of the introverts out there, there’s an alternative. You’ve likely heard that on January 1, a slew of titles on Netflix will expire from the video streaming service. Devoted fans of Netflix on Reddit have already compiled the list of films waiting to get the axe, and it includes plenty of must-see classics, such as Requiem for a Dream, Do the Right Thing and Troll II.
But good luck trying to cram all of those into your tight schedule. Plenty of other publications are recommending their must-see movies, but we would like to recommend the titles with Lone Star ties. Keep supporting Texas cinema, y’all!
When Robert Rodriguez directed The Faculty in 1998, he was still somewhat in the transitional stage between an indie darling and a mainstream director. He had built up a following thanks to films such as El Mariachi, Desperado (also on the Netflix chopping block) and From Dusk Till Dawn, but he had yet to strike box office gold with Spy Kids.
The Faculty would be the last film he made before his first blockbuster smash hit, and while it isn’t much more than a film cashing in on the ironic slasher flicks that followed Scream, it’s worth checking out for its deep Texas roots. Despite the fact that its story takes place in Ohio, the film was shot primarily in Austin at the Texas School for the Deaf. Neighboring Lockhart, Texas, the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” provided the perfect exterior shots for the film’s small town of Herrington.
Or you can just forget all of that and simply watch The Faculty to see Jon Stewart play a character named Prof. Edward Furlong.
Robert Rodriguez has a sizeable portion of his filmography expiring from Netflix. As mentioned, Desperado will be leaving your queue soon, as will its follow-up, Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
As the final installment of Rodriguez’s El Mariachi trilogy, Once Upon... suffers a bit from having the biggest budget of the bunch, with almost too many action scenes and Hollywood A-listers vying for your attention. However, it is also the most fun of the entire series, particularly a scene involving an epic gunfight filmed inside UT’s ornate — and appropriately named — Battle Hall (keep an eye out for its gorgeous staircase). It was only a matter of time before Rodriguez paid tribute to the campus where he learned his craft.
Oliver Stone would garner an Academy Award for Best Director with this film starring Tom Cruise as a disabled veteran turned anti-war activist, and Dallas would be the backdrop to much of the story. SMU campus locations such as Dallas Hall set the scene for the film’s staged protests, and Milo Butterfingers, a stalwart sports bar near campus, joins other locales, including Margaret Henderson Elementary School.
It goes without saying that Stone couldn’t get enough of DFW, returning shortly after to film several key scenes for his epic political thriller, JFK.
Stone’s friendship with Dallas didn’t begin with Born on the Fourth of July, either. That honor goes to Talk Radio, another thriller centered around a caustic radio host who happens to push his listeners a little too much with his political viewpoints.
Filming took place almost entirely in Dallas and Irving, with SMU once again acting as a background extra.
Sadly, this musical comedy will no longer be available for streaming pretty soon, and it’s a real shame. Based on a stage production about the real-life Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange, Texas, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas isn’t just an example of Lone Star State cinema; it depicts of our history, too.
With locations in cities including Austin, Pflugerville, Hallettsville, and Kyle Field in College Station, viewers get a nice tour of Central Texas. Maybe if other famous events in Texas history were told via musical comedy and Dom DeLuise, we’d remember them better.