All grown up: Dazed and Confused’s boy on the run shares some of his personal film favorites.
Wiley Wiggins is best recognized for his role as Mitch Kramer in the high school classic (dare I say the ultimate teen movie?) Dazed and Confused, but he’s come a long way since portraying the shy, awkward teen-on-the-cusp in Richard Linklater’s landmark film.
Nowadays, Wiley continues to act in the occasional movie and is a fixture of the film and video game scene in his hometown of Austin, Texas (it’s worth mentioning that he runs Fantastic Arcade, the indie game portion of Fantastic Fest). He recently featured in Andrew Bujalski’s wonderfully odd Computer Chess as one of the programmer participants in a computer chess software tournament and can also be spotted on Fandor in the surreal comedy Frontier, directed by fellow Austin residents the Zellner brothers.
A cineaste at heart, Wiley’s movie preferences run the gamut, but he has a soft spot for unusual off-the-beaten-path films that are as rewarding as they are peculiar. Check out some of his all-time favorites below.
1. Bad (1977) directed by Jed Johnson
“Starring my friend the late great ‘Susu’ Tyrrell in her most hilariously downtrodden role, Bad is a fabulously trashy, nihilistic and funny oddity from Andy Warhol’s production company. We searched far and wide for a print of this film to screen at the Alamo Drafthouse and came up empty handed, but you can see it here in the convenience of your own home.”
2. Dark Star (1974) directed by John Carpenter
“The “Dark Star” of this movie, is of course, writer Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Lifeforce, The Return of the Living Dead). This student film from O’Bannon and John Carpenter foreshadows Alien, but as a scrappy comedy of beards and bombs.”
“It bears mentioning that Fandor somehow has this lost oddity—a video feature I made with the Zellner Brothers in the late 90’s all in the little known Bulbovian dialect (with english subtitles). When two lost officers of the Bubovian Expansionist Corps discover a new, wild land, they attempt to either conquer it or be absorbed by it. Features two grown men beating the crap out of one another using chicken carcasses as boxing gloves.”
4. Journey into the Unknown (1998) directed by Kerry Laitala
“I’ve been guilty of incorporating this lovely film manipulation by Kerry Laitala into a few live visualist sets for bands when I ran out of material, and it’s now very familiar and resonant to me. I love the oversaturated colors and the texture of the film. At only five minutes, I like to sometimes put it on a loop at parties, alternating with other oddities and a few of my own videos.”
5. I Think We’re Alone Now (2008) directed by Sean Donnelly
“A funny and disturbing visit with obsessive compulsive fans of 80’s pop star Tiffany. This documentary opened to great fanfare at Fantastic Fest. You are surrounded by people just like this and you don’t even know it.”
“The first Guy Maddin film I was ever exposed to, it’s still one of my favorites. The absurdity and surreal humor of the film is held in place by an anachronistic pastiche of old gramophone music, weird nordic folklore, and the occasional Super Big Gulp cup.”
“Maya Deren is a big, beautiful cloud of crazy hair. She moves ever so gracefully—and so does her camera. An experimental filmmaker who actually experimented, a Voodoun priestess, I’m always sad that I will never get the opportunity to meet her, except through the film she shot, and this is my favorite.”
“Deranged madman and poet Sion Sono (Suicide Club, Love Exposure) takes on this larger-than-average-budget tongue-in-cheek J-Horror sendup. A hair fetishist sings a happy tune about how much he loves hair, as the hair extensions he is harvesting from a possessed corpse begin to kill. Chiaki Kurayama is adorable as always. Another Fantastic Fest Favorite.”
For anyone curious about what Wiley thoughts on acting, movies and independent gaming, check out this thoughtful interview he gave to Serial Optimist. He also writes about games for the tech and culture site Omni Reboot and you can follow him on Twitter at @wileywiggins.
*Top photo: film still, “Dazed and Confused,” courtesy Universal Pictures