David Lowery is hardly the lone iconoclastic, indie cinematic voice to emerge from the Lone Star State. While Hollywood may view us as flyover country, some of independent film’s most influential and notable names either reside in or have roots in our sun-baked soil. Here are a few of them.
The reclusive, enigmatic Malick parties to his own rhythm, rarely playing by industry rules, often angering critics and viewers alike in the process. While his 1978 drama Days of Heaven is a classic, his later, sometimes more impenetrable works — The Tree of Life, To the Wonder and The Thin Red Line among them — provoke more arguments.
If he did nothing else beyond his 1993 hit Dazed and Confused (which launched the career of Matthew McConaughey), Linklater would deserve recognition. But his résumé also includes the emotional roller coaster that is the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy, the Jack Black showcases School of Rock and Bernie, and even a remake of Bad News Bears.
Often quirky to the point of annoyance, Anderson has created a body of work — Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou — that is undeniably distinct. He also gets points for giving us the Wilson brothers ( Bottle Rocket, 1996) and his style has gotten more mainstream recognition with Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom.
While his family-friendly “Spy Kids” films have no doubt put food on his table, it’s his genre mash-ups ( El Mariachi, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, Machete) that have earned him his film-fan following.
The Dallas software engineer-turned-filmmaker/actor has only made two features, the time-travel brain tease Primer and the exquisite if baffling Upstream Color, but they have earned him an enthusiastic cult following.
Jay and Mark Duplass
The brothers have crafted indie favorites like Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives at Home and The Puffy Chair, while Mark has such acting credits as Zero Dark Thirty, The Mindy Project and Safety Not Guaranteed.
David Gordon Green
Though now based in New Orleans, Green grew up in Richardson. His career includes multiplex hits like Pineapple Express, studio dross like Your Highness and The Sitter, but also more thoughtful films like the recent Prince Avalanche.
Yes, everyone knows him as the creator of Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill. But he’s also responsible for the 2006 film Idiocracy (starring Luke Wilson), a comedic broadside against the debasement of American culture.
Arkansas-born, Austin-based Nichols took critics by storm with his 2011 feature Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon. But the rest of the world took notice with his 2013 feature Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey as a guy on the lam. The film, estimated to cost $10 million, has been a small-scale hit, raking in around $21 million so far.
While his low-budget, high-grossing Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974 may not have been the first slasher film, it was one of the most influential. Not only did he create an iconic horror character (Leatherface) but the movie paved the way for A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Saw.