Austin Film Festival Review: Spaghetti Junction
Muddled first feature still shows filmmaker's potential
By Sarah Jane,
11:00PM, Mon. Oct. 25, 2021
I’m not going to lie, Kirby McClure’s Spaghetti Junction just was not for me.
It’s a confusing and muffled 97 minute journey through a few days in the life of August (Cate Hughes), a teen who recently lost her foot in an auto accident. She has a sister, Shiny (Eleanore Miechkowski), who can’t be bothered with August and is seeming all about sex, drugs, and her heavily tatted and much older boyfriend Antonio (Jesse Gallegos). Her dad (Cameron McHarg) is going through some shit himself and maybe isn’t really paying attention to his girls the way he should. One night, after being dragged to the bowling alley with Shiny and Antonio, August makes them stop the car because she literally has a call of nature. While in the woods doing her business, she sees a light in a drainage pipe. She is drawn to it along with all the magnolia flowers suddenly all around her (they literally appeared as she was urinating. I mean, you see it) but Shiny screams at her and she runs back to the car. August begins to have dreams about the light and magnolias. The next day she returns to the pipe to seek out what or who is there.
I looked up magnolias on Wikipedia prior to this review because I didn’t know much about them apart from them being a big ass flower that appears on trees in the South (that and the amazing Paul Thomas Anderson movie that bears their name). Wait, Steel Magnolias, anyone? Did you know some kind of magnolia tree has been around for 95 million years and that they predate bees!? This information right here is going to be more interesting than Spaghetti Junction to some folks, I’m sure it.
Technically, apart from the muffled dialogue, the movie is okay. It looked good, I’ll give it that. I just couldn’t get into the story. I would’ve rather it stuck with the family and their struggles and not taken the science fiction route because it didn’t work for me. My mind just kept wandering back to what was really happening with August, Shiny and Dad, especially since Miechkowski and McHarg were so great.
Still, I bet Kirby McClure will go on to make other pictures, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for them.
Austin Film Festival, Oct. 21-28. Find all our news, reviews, and interviews at austinchronicle.com/austin-film-festival.