Daily reviews and interviews


Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja

Spotlight Premieres
D: Billy Corben

Florida true-crime wunderkind Billy Corben (Raw Deal: A Question of Consent, Cocaine Cowboys) returns a bit older, perhaps wiser, and we bet richer, to train his sun-kissed spotlight on a more melllllooow yet still outlaw topic. This polished, basic-cable-ready doc shotguns the romance of Seventies pot smuggling into three vignettes: the Coptic Church, a SoFla sect of (mostly white?) ganja-toking fundamentalists; the Black Tuna Gang, middle-class Miami suburbanites who got rolled up in one of the DEA/FBI's biggest headline-grabbing stings; and the entire municipality of Everglades City, a close-knit (French for "in-bred") fishing village/smuggling hotbed, located on the Gulf Coast side of the famous swamp. Corben's band provides some of the appropriately lulling Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett-y tunage as the film mimics the effects of the herb it profiles – unchallenging yet lovely cinematography enhances narrative delivered by talking head after talking head (and photos and mainstream news broadcasts) which curiously ... ummm, what was I saying?

Thursday, March 17, 4pm, Westgate; Friday, March 18, 10pm, Vimeo

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More by Kate X Messer
The Gay Place: It's Aliiive!
It's Aliiive!
You can't keep a Gay Place down; just ask Sarah Marloff

Jan. 20, 2016

Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You

Jan. 15, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle