Though he left out the explanation from his film for fear that it might sound too New Agey, Alex Karpovsky spent part of the Q&A that followed his documentary/concert film “Trust Us, This is All Made Up,” talking about how his subjects, the Chicago-based improv duo of TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, believe in a universal superconsciousness that they simply call the “It.” Jagodowski and Pasquesi weren’t on hand to explain the shared wavelength themselves, but the gist is that if they can simply get their collective egos out of the way, their one-hour set comes naturally, as if it unfurls in front of them. “It” is a big thing at this year’s SXSW festival, where many of the biggest highlights of the fest so far have been from laffers, big and small.
A few streets over at the Paramount, “I Love You, Man” premiered Friday, and the cast and crew reunited the next morning for a panel about the bromantic comedy that may have run slightly late, but festival coordinator Janet Pierson assured the crowd that it would “definitely be worth the wait.” Anything including director John Hamburg, Paul Rudd, Jaime Pressly, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones and Jon Favreau couldn’t disappoint — unless one counts when Favreau prompted Segel to tell a really dirty child-related joke from the set and Hamburg wouldn’t let him. (Segel promised it would appear on a future episode of “How I Met Your Mother.”) Still, the cast and crew were game for most anything: the panel started with a computer malfunction that left the sound off the film’s trailer, and so Rudd tried to improvise his own dialogue (Sample: When Andy Samberg gives J.K. Simmons a fist bump, Rudd exclaimed, “You were great in ‘Juno’!”) As moderator Mark Olsen of the L.A. Times took control of the situation, the panel settled in with questions about what Hamburg, who worked on this film for nearly a decade, thought about the fact that now that Judd Apatow has cornered the bromance movie, to which Segel leapt in with, “10 years ago, I would’ve been Judge Reinhold.”
Although Reinhold was nowhere to be seen, Favreau received a round of applause when he explained why he felt it was important for him to come to SXSW, comparing “I Love You, Man” to his own early comedies that needed more attention and cited the festival’s great track record of getting word of mouth out on the film via Twitter and web sites. He also got some of the biggest laughs of the panel when talking about his role in the film, as one half of a married couple who bicker constantly. When his onscreen better half Pressly reiterated her character’s gripes about him — having a jewfro and a tiny penis — Favreau responded, “It was a Daniel Day Lewis transformation, having a small penis,” before seriously adding that had he been in more films with ensembles like this one, he likely never would’ve become a director. Segel seconded that when he cited the many connections amongst the cast — Favreau and Hamburg had both directed episodes of Segel’s one-time sitcom “Undeclared” and Rashida Jones had appeared with Segel on “Freaks and Geeks.” As for the bromance onscreen, Rudd just said he liked how the script wasn’t mean-spirited and didn’t include typical movie alpha males, confessing, “I’m not even a beta male.”
Duncan Jones’ “Moon” may not be a comedy, but with Jones and star Sam Rockwell attending Saturday night’s preview of the sci-fi film, there was no lack of entertainment value during the Q&A. Days before a screening at NASA where he said “I’ll be asking the questions and they’re giving me the answers,” Jones took to the stage in a yellow space-suit and introduced Sam Rockwell as “my entire cast.” Indeed (if you haven’t read about the film’s premiere at Sundance), Rockwell flies solo as an astronaut coming to terms with the idea he might not be coming home as planned and mentioned “Dead Ringers” and “Midnight Cowboy” as unlikely inspirations for when his character begins to talk to himself. The “Galaxy Quest” star was at a bit of a loss for words when asked by an audience member whether he had made anything about the fact that he tends to excel in movies about space, but there was a truly eerie moment when another asked about why the robot that is the astronaut’s only companion, voiced in the film by Kevin Spacey, wasn’t as villainous as onscreen predecessors like “2001: A Space Odyssey”‘s HAL 9000, the microphone made a strange, pulsating buzzing noise, a moment that left some in the audience fearing that the computers had finally taken over and others laughing hysterically, convinced that “It” happened.