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As All Eyes Turn To Austin, We Present The Five Best Austin Movies

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"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe when the Legislature is in session." -- Former New York Secretary of State Gideon Tucker

Seeing as the Texas Lege is all set to convene for the 81st Regular Session, we at Hair Balls thought we'd take this opportunity to remind you that not everything that comes out of Austin is designed solely to bleed more money from your pockets and make your lives an unending, poorly regulated hell.

5. Blood Simple (1984)

By pointing out the differences between Russia and Texas at the outset of their first movie, we can credit the Coen Brothers for at least temporarily staving off the mass migration of Californians to the Lone Star State.

4. Piranha (1978) Fine, it may have been shot in San Marcos, but this toothy horrorshow from the great John Sayles and the pretty decent Joe Dante may be the best of the Jaws ripoffs that came out in the late 1970s, which is a bit like calling "strawberry kiwi" the best flavor or MD 20/20. Whatever the case, the folks at Lone Star Beer aren't likely to enjoy such ubiquitous product placement ever again.

3. Dazed and Confused (1993)While there are plenty of Texas-specific elements in Richard Linklater's coming-of-age stoner opus, impromptu keg parties in the woods and the crippling fear of getting whaled on by seniors are pretty universal experiences for American teenagers. And can you even imagine a world without Matthew McConaughey?

2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) I like that Sally (Marilyn Burns) was able to escape in the pickup, but in previous viewings (and I haven't seen this since the early 90s), I always thought the truck driver got left behind. Now I see he just kept boogeying down the highway when the truck stopped. Even if he hadn't, I suppose someone who's just watched her friends eviscerated with a chain saw/hung on a meathook/whomped with a sledge and had an old man drink blood out of her finger can probably be forgiven for acting selfishly.

1. Office Space (1999)I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I first saw this, seeing as how it so closely mirrored my own cubicle-jockeying life (and the lead character even had the same name as me!). Now that I'm on Easy Street thanks to my high-paying gig as a blogger for the Houston Press, I can fully appreciate Mike Judge's masterpiece of modern workplace satire, secure in the knowledge that it no longer bears any resemblance to my life whatsoever.

*sob*

-- Pete Vonder Haar

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