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The Cosmic Circus is going to South by Southwest 2024! The massive conference, offers a little something for everyone, from complete festivals for film & TV and music, to interactive media exhibitions, panel discussions, and celebrity guests. Scheduled speakers at SXSW 2024 include, among many others, Selena Gomez, Samantha Bee, Nick Kroll, Conan O’Brien, and Kirsten Dunst. SXSW will be held March 8-16 in Austin, Texas. I’ll be covering the fest to give you a heads-up on what to prioritize for your trips to the cinema this coming spring and summer.

Last year’s iteration of SXSW included the world premieres of Emma Seligman’s bonkers queer teen sex comedy satire Bottoms and Evil Dead Rise, the reboot of the iconic 1980s comedy/horror franchise. Other films screened last year included the hard-R raunch-fest Joy Ride and the ode to an OG video game titan, Tetris. Read on to find out what we’re most excited to see at this year’s fest.

#1: The Fall Guy lands high on the charts at SXSW 2024

Everyone’s favorite Ken is back on the big screen with The Fall Guy. Ryan Gosling stars in this action comedy as Colt Seavers, an aging stunt choreographer who gets pulled into a rescue mission when the star of the movie he’s working on goes missing. The movie-within-a-movie is being directed by an old flame, so for Seavers, it’s personal.

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy, premiere at SXSW 2024
Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy. (Universal Pictures)

Anyone over the age of 40 will recognize the title, as this new picture is a reboot of the 1980s action television series that starred Lee Majors as Seavers. That show was created by Glen A. Larson, whose other series include the original Battlestar Galactica and Magnum P.I.

Directing The Fall Guy is David Leitch, known for his work on John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and Bullet Train. As a former stunt performer and coordinator, Leitch will no doubt bring his signature action prowess to the film.

The film also stars Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer) and Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once). The Fall Guy will be released  in theaters worldwide, May 3, 2024.

(Update: Here’s James’ review of The Fall Guy)

#2: Road House, starring Jake Gyllenhaal

“Pain don’t hurt.” That’s one of the gloriously campy lines from the classic 1989 action movie Road House, starring Patrick Swayze as Dalton, a tough guy hired as a cooler at a roadside bar where things are known to get a little rowdy. Doug Liman, director of Edge of Tomorrow and the original Bourne Identity, is at the helm of a new “reimagining” of Road House, which stars the dreamy Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton, who, in this iteration, is a former UFC middleweight fighter put in charge of security of a Florida Keys dive. Yum.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Road House premiere at SXSW 2024
Jake Gyllenhaal in Road House (Prime Video)

Road House will be the opening night film at SXSW 2024. This screening might also be the only way to ever see Liman’s film. I used the word “reimagining” instead of reboot because R. Lance Hill, the screenwriter of the original Road House, has sued MGM and Amazon Studios for copyright infringement of his work. Hill is hoping to stop the release of the film entirely with his lawsuit.

Liman is also upset about the film’s distributor, writing an editorial piece for Deadline Hollywood in which he lambasted Amazon for ditching a theatrical release in favor of dumping the film on its streaming service Prime Video at the end of March. It seems everyone involved in this new version of Road House has taken Dalton’s sage advice to heart: “I want you to be nice… Until it’s time to NOT be nice.” Road House is scheduled to release on Prime Video on March 21, 2024.

(Update: Here’s my review of this film!)

#3: We’re All Gonna Die, starring Ashly Burch

As if the title alone isn’t enough to pique your interest, check out the bonkers description of this film provided on the official SXSW website: “A struggling beekeeper is forced to team up with an emotionally raw EMT on a roadtrip to retrieve her bees (and his car) after their stuff is suddenly teleported across the country by a massive alien tentacle that looms over Earth.”

We're All Gonna Die premiere at SXSW 2024
Jordan Rodrigues and Ashly Burch in We’re All Gonna Die. (RocketJump Studios)

Yes, please. We’re All Gonna Die stars the multi-hyphenate talent Ashly Burch, known for her prolific voice work in video games, including as Mel in The Last of Us Part II and Tiny Tina in the Borderlands series. Burch is a favorite of mine on the Apple TV series Mythic Quest; she plays Rachel, the game tester turned head of monetization, who participates in hilarious shenanigans with Danny Pudi’s Brad Bakshi. Her name alone makes me excited to get my eyeballs in front of this one. We’re All Gonna Die releases March 10, 2024 after a premiere at SXSW 2024.

(Update: Here’s my review of this film!)

#4: Ren Faire, a medieval new series from HBO

South By knows film, but the festival is no slouch in the TV department. To wit: This year, SXSW is host to the world premiere of an upcoming series from HBO and Elara Pictures called Ren Faire. The show chronicles the power struggle between an actor, a former elephant trainer, and a kettle-corn kingpin for the throne of America’s largest renaissance festival when the operation’s tyrannical king suddenly announces his retirement. 

Ren Faire 2024
Image from Ren Faire (HBO/’Elara Pictures)

That description (mostly the inclusion of the phrase “kettle-corn kingpin”) made me initially think that this is a comedy, perhaps in the style of The Office. However, in some spaces, the internet is describing it as a documentary.

My eyebrow was raised further when I noticed that Josh and Benny Safdie are listed among the producers of this series from first-time showrunner Lance Oppenheim. As a fan of the Safdie brothers’ movies Good Time and Uncut Gems, I’m ready to buy the ticket and take the ride. After seeing Benny Safdie’s involvement with Nathan Fielder’s absolute head trip The Curse, I’m wondering how weird Ren Faire is going to get. As a final comment on that question, I’ll note that the detailed description of the show on the SXSW website uses the term “docu-fantasia.” Hmm…

Ren Faire will air on HBO later this year.

(Update: Here’s my review of this series!)

#5: Monkey Man, starring Dev Patel

Rounding out our most anticipated world premieres at SXSW 2024 is Monkey Man. Actor Dev Patel, who burst onto the scene in the 2008 Oscar Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, is making his feature film directorial debut with Monkey Man. The film tells the story of Kid, an underground fight club worker who sets out for revenge against the group of corrupt elites responsible for his mother’s death. Patel also cowrote the screenplay.

Dev Patel in Monkey Man, premiere at SXSW 2024
Dev Patel in Monkey Man (Universal Pictures)

Patel picks some fascinating projects, my favorites include David Lowery’s hypnotic The Green Knight, the English dub version of the animated French film I Lost My Body, and Wes Anderson’s 2023 Oscar nominated short film The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar; I’m excited to see what he does behind the camera.

Netflix, which described Monkey Man as “John Wick in Mumbai,” originally acquired worldwide rights to the film. But, when Jordan Peele (Nope, Us, Get Out) saw it, he believed so strongly that it needed a theatrical release that he worked out a deal to transfer distribution rights from Netflix to his Monkeypaw Productions. As a result, Monkey Man will be released in theaters on April 5, 2024. 

More film and TV series coverage from SXSW 2024 to come!

The SXSW film festival next takes place March 8-16, 2024 in Austin, Texas, FMI on SXSW 2024, visit the official site. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more coverage of SXSW 2024 here on The Cosmic Circus! 

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Josh Thayer

Josh Thayer has been writing as The Forgetful Film Critic since 2014 and is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association as well as the Online Film Critics Society. Website:

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