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2010s in Film: Why I Love #20 “Dear White People”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them. Black Lives Matter.

#20 Dear White People (2014)

Writer / Director: Justin Simien | DP: Topher Osborn | Music By: Kathryn Bostic. Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner.

Well 👏🏾 Written 👏🏾

In Dear White People, we follow Sam, via the platform of her titular college radio show, and three of her colleagues as they unmask dark truths of their Ivy League experience.

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When this came out, it hit me like an anvil. Finally, someone from our generation is tired and said it

DC Comics Gay Astronaut — fckyeahtimmy: Dear White People (2014 ...

This film gives each featured black experience a full voice, understanding, and a much needed and nourishing why.

Tyler James Williams Film Challenge GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Simien explores how Coco experiences colorism,

Tyler James Williams Movie List GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

which drives her to blend in to crowds where she both stands out and fits in.

The Wire's Movie Trailer Power Rankings: 'Dear White People ...

What’s harder, being black enough for the black kids or black enough for the white ones? Being neither.

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Yeah, it’s confusing as fuck. 

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And then, just…everything happening with Troy 😰

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By the time it’s over, what remains is weight of their exhaustion and an ultimatum to move.

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So yeah, to be continued…

Here’s a list anti-racism resources and education tools: https://linktr.ee/indiedigs

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culture Film Music Playlist

New Spotify / Apple Music Playlist – Power Pop Evolution

Our latest playlist Power Pop Evolution is now live on Apple Music and Spotify.

This genre is dear to my heart. Perfect for the upbeat summer we’re having lololol. But seriously do feel this adds a much needed level of brightness to these sunny daze. Who can resist The Cars, Big Star, The Feelies, Teenage Fanclub, The Lemonheads? Am I driving a Plymouth with the top down right now? Is my Jean jacket magic?

WHO AM I.

I learned a good number of the earlier bands through the soundtracks of my favorite childhood movies…

I’ll never forget seeing Letters to Cleo emerge from the crowd to sing directly to Cat in 10 Things I Hate About You and that solidifying in me the fact that music is the most personal special connective thing! And plus, they fuckin’ ripped. Outfits, hair, mood.

And thanks to that, I traveled down the rabbit hole to find That Dog…etc and during this playlist I came across even MORE bops I hadn’t met yet. Ain’t life grand.

Anyway, hope you have great days!! ☀️

Love,

CJ

Listent to Power Pop Evolution on Spotify and Apple Music. Find us on Instagram @indiedigs.

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #21: Little Birds

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#22 Little Birds (2011)

Writer / Director: Elgin James / DP: Reed Morano / Composer: Elgin James / Music Supervisor(s): Elizabeth James

Little Birds beautifully displays the physical and emotional implications of abandon and the performances and cinematography win this for me.

Ali and Lily live this adolescent existence where they have responsibilities beyond their scope and perform a role as the stable element in the unstable universes of their respective adults.

Just as Lily approaches her breaking point, on time arrives a team of boys who steal Lily’s gaze and lure the friends away from home to the desolate outskirts and onto L.A.

The boys skate in empty pools, live in an abandoned hotel, and have “abandoned society” altogether.

All these kids have escaped, and they push each opportunity to seriously dangerous limits to sustain their anarchist lifestyle. Lily finds this thrilling…while Ali just hangs, reluctantly, waiting for the whole thing to inevitably burn so she can get her friend back to town in one piece.

I enjoy this film because Ali consistently stands up for herself, no matter how many times she gets negged by Lily or by the boys for being honest, observant, and genuinely concerned.

And Lily *sigh*.

You only get a little time between a cut and knowing how deep it is.

Here’s the trailer ⬇️

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #22 “Sleeping Giant”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#22 Sleeping Giant (2015)

Writer / Director: Andrew Cividino / DP: James Klopko / Composer: Joey Colero / Music Supervisor(s): Misha Bower, Bruce Peninsula, Matt Cully, Neil Haverty, Chris Thronborrow. Starring: Jackson Martin, Nick Serino

From the jump, you feel the impasse.

This film explores a few elements of identity – largely class and sexuality.

The spot-on observation of social status via meals – the mere visual of arugula and lemon stuffed trout vs the hamburger and, impact-fully, the instance during Settlers of Catan.

As far as the titular Sleeping Giant, it appears as though conquering the Canadian Wonder is a known feat of human ability, accomplished only by one idolized, local legend.

Meanwhile, Dad is trying to grow his son to be a man – which means girls, and opportunities.

When it comes to figuring it all out, Adam does – in slow motion. 

With each step of bravery he crawls closer to his true self.

Until it hits.

I found the core about giving in to and resisting pressure, while the edge watchfully explores living among lack and immense possibility, like “nowhere” else.

Here’s the trailer ⬇️

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.digs Activism ART culture Film

Black Lives Matter: 6 Recommend Indie Films to Watch Right Now that Explore Black Identity.

#1: Dear White People, dir. Justin Simien

What’s it About? “Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African-American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in ‘post-racial’ America while weaving a story about forging one’s unique path in the world.” – via Letterboxd.

#2: Girlhood, dir. Céline Sciamma

What’s it About? “Oppressed by her family setting, dead-end school prospects and the boys law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping that this will be a way to freedom.” – via Letterboxd.

#3: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, dir. Joe Talbot

What’s it About? “Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind.” – via Letterboxd.

#4: Sorry to Bother You, dir. Boots Riley

What’s it About? “In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe.” – via Letterboxd.

#5: Moonlight, dir. Barry Jenkins

What’s it About? “The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.” – via Letterboxd.

#6: Medicine for Melancholy, dir. Barry Jenkins

What’s it About? “Waking from a one-night stand that neither remembers, Micah and Joanne find themselves wandering the streets of San Francisco, sharing coffee and conversation and searching for a deeper connection.” – via Letterboxd.

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #23 “Blue Jay”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#23 Blue Jay (2016)

Writer: Mark Duplass | Director / DP: Alexandre Lehmann | Music by: Julian Wass. Starring: Mark Duplass, Sarah Paulson, Clu Gulager

I love this movie because of the unspoken connection between Jim and Amanda – two adults who really know each other, and at this point in their lives might be the only people for one another who truly fit that bill.

Immediately, #IYKYK they go way back with a slick reference to Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.

Time has passed, they see each other, and all the care comes rushing back. You don’t even have to put it into words – it’s all in their eyes, smiles, and the space that’s left in conversation.

Loss is difficult, and it can throw you all over the place emotionally, so I’m pleased to see Jim experience active grief onscreen.

Then there’s Amanda, pausing to take in Jim’s childhood house – the pictures on the wall – that’s the boy I knew. Going through the closets, smelling clothes, reading letters. 

Always trying to keep it on the up, the couple staves away the looming “talk” all night, replacing it with fun trips down memory lane, dance moves, inside jokes, and playing back tapes – which the 90s kids know is a landmine waiting to happen.

Ex-couples dream of this kind of experience. Happenstance leading to resolving all of your past issues in one brisk, fun-filled day overlooking the beautiful scenics of the town that grew you both.

Blue Jay. I mean, it’s a fantasy, right?

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #24 “Lady Bird”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#24: Lady Bird (2017)

Writer / Director: Greta Gerwig | DP: Sam Levy | Composer: Jon Brion | Music Supervisor: Greta Gerwig

I’m writing this on the two-year anniversary of moving to the area to be with my mom when she got sick and I’m still recovering, clearly. I started a blog making playlists because music is the only thing we ever talked about and now I have no one to talk to anymore that really gets it quite the same *cue A Grand Scene for a Pandemic*

Ladybird is, thankfully, one of the last movies we got to watch together that year, before everything, and I was elated to showcase that my favorite writer, Greta Gerwig – who I’ve followed painstakingly since college, has made a story so close to our socio-economic experience with such breath of the times.

It was hard for my mother to watch. She was like “I’m not like…that…am I?” But I was like, “no, not exactly just some of the interactions. The way we fight sometimes but we love each other. It’s sweet!”

It’s not all us, but a lot of it is, and that means a lot. 

This was also the year my bf and I moved down to Atlanta, my home. I’d premiered my first feature film that summer alongside my creative partner for a group of friends and family in the city, and I was just feeling like all the stars were aligned that particular Thanksgiving weekend at the Tara. Like, this is the fuel you need to keep going. Greta’s going to inject it right now.

Aside from all that, there’s the multi-dimensional representation of catholic school teachers

#dramaclublife and the boys: the singing “Danny” that takes your breath away (former Drama Geek over here, so, know all about that).

the “Kyle” reading political non-fiction while smoking alone at a coffee house table and saying “tight” a lot.

And it’s the idolization of the rich girl, with her SUV and her experience, just wanting her to see you.

I had two friends like this in High School – one who drove a nice mid-sized, white, sports car and I thought she was a goddess, the other drove a jeep and threw all of the parties. Thankfully, they were both nice to me so I never had to deal with any bullying or ass-kissing, but I was thankful to have a mediator to relate to the preppy boys at parties who terrified me.

Yeah, for me, Ladybird pretty much nailed 2002. 

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #25 “Bachelorette”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#25: Bachelorette (2012)

Writer / Director: Lesley Headland | Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fischer. | DP: Doug Emmet | Composer: Sebastian Arocha Morton | Music Supervisor(s): Jim Black

Bachelorette follows a group of high-school friends affectionately known as the “B-faces”, played by Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, and Rebel Wilson, on the eve of the wedding of the one in the group they used to bully.

It came to me out of nowhere one night via Netflix while I was 25, living in a basement room in Bushwick with my cat, Bloom, eating a red velvet cupcake and drinking whisky in bed.

This script is quick-witted and every character in this film is stunning. From Regan’s dress to Gena’s tangents to Katie’s eternal highness.

And, the story is made only more uniquely kettled by the unapologetic stares, portrayal of selves, and perfect matches offered by Trevor, Clyde, and Joe.

Joe as a concept makes my heart melt and Marsden is conflictingly hot; an icy depiction of how “that kind of thing” works if you, like Regan, offer the same.

Clyde and Gena’s backstory was a surprise (it was also great to see Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan back together again after Party Down) and the fact that the Damone reference can sum up everything for that tense conversation on the train is a very comforting, generational thing to include in a story like this.

Ultimately, what I love about Bachelorette is that it’s a wedding hi-jinx movie that’s really good with presenting behaviors of true compatibility.

The B-faces approach their “demons” and meet their matches, but most importantly – due to sheer adrenaline to not fuck up in the biggest way for this accepting friend to whom they have been truly shitty – they come through for each other and themselves, solving internal and external catastrophes barely in time for the ceremony. It’s a perfect wedding.

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.digs Comedy Film

Episode: Self-Guided S1E1 – “Clueless”

The first video in our periodic Self-Guided series is up now on Youtube. Check it out!

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Film

Top 25 Films of the 2010s

Over the next few months I’ll delve more into a JUST why I love each of these and every one of these films and the tones and music within them SO VERY MUCH. For now, check out the list and watch some trailers! Here are our Top 25 films of the 2010s!

25. Bachelorette

Writer / Director: Lesley Headland

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fischer.

DP: Doug Emmet

Composer: Sebastian Arocha Morton

Music Supervisor(s): Jim Black

24. Lady Bird (2017)

Writer / Director: Greta Gerwig

Starring: Saorsie Ronan, Beanie Feldstein, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts

DP: Sam Levy

Composer: Jon Brion

Music Supervisor(s): Greta Gerwig

23. Blue Jay (2016)

Writer: Mark Duplass

Director / DP: Alexandre Lehmann

Starring: Sarah Paulson, Mark Duplass

Music by: Julian Wass

22. Sleeping Giant (2015)

Writer / Director: Andrew Cividino

Starring: Jackson Martin, Nick Serino

DP: James Klopko

Composer: Joey Colero

Music Supervisor(s): Misha Bower, Bruce Peninsula, Matt Cully, Neil Haverty, Chris Thronborrow

21. Little Birds (2011)

Writer / Director: Elgin James

Starring: Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker

DP: Reed Morano

Composer: Elgin James

Music Supervisor(s): Elizabeth James

20. Dear White People (2014)

Writer / Director: Justin Simien

Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell

DP: Topher Osborn

Music By: Kathryn Bostic

19. Get Out (2017)

Writer / Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Alison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener

DP: Toby Oliver

Music by: Christopher T. Mollere / Michael Ables

18. Black Swan (2010)

Writer(s): Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis

DP: Matthew Libatique

Editor: Andrew Weisblum

Music by: Clint Mansell

17. Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Writer / Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch

DP: Shane F. Kelly

Editor: Sandra Adair

Music Supervisor(s): Meghan Currier, Randall Poster

16. Tiny Furniture (2010)

Writer / Director: Lena Dunham

Starring: Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Rachel Howe

DP: Jody Lee Lipes

Editor: Lance Edmands

Music by: Teddy Blanks

Music Supervisor(s): Annie Pearlman

15. Touchy Feely (2013)

Writer / Director: Lynn Shelton

DP: Benjamin Kasulke

Starring: Rosemarie Dewitt, Ellen Page, Josh Pais

Editor: Lynn Shelton

Music By: Vinny Smith

14. 50/50 (2011)

Writer: Will Reiser

Director: Johnathan Levine

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard

DP: Terry Stacey

Editor: Zene Baker

Composer: Michael Giacchino

Music Supervisor(s): Jim Black, Gabe Hilfer

13. The Future (2011)

Writer / Director: Miranda July

Starring: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater

DP: Nikolai von Graevenitz

Editor: Andrew Bird

Composer: Jon Brion

Music Supervisor(s): Margaret Yen

12. Moonlight (2016)

Writer / Director: Barry Jenkins

Starring: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevonte Rhodes, Alex R. Hibbert

DP: James Laxton

Editor(s): Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

Composer: Nicholas Britell, Caetano Veloso

Music Supervisor(s): Maggie Phillips

11. Tomboy (2011)

Writer / Director: Céline Sciamma

DP: Crystel Fournier

Starring: Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana , Jeanne Disson, Sophie Catani

Editor: Julien Lacheray

Music by: Jean-Baptiste de Laubier

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Writer(s): Edgar Wright, Michael Bacall, Bryan Lee O’Malley

Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick

DP: Bill Pope

Editor(s): Johathan Amos, Paul Machliss

Composer: Nigel Godrich

Music Supervisor(s): Kathy Nelson

9. The Social Network (2010)

Writer(s): Aaron Sorkin, Ben Merzrich

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara

DP: Jeff Croneweth

Editor: Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

Music by: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

8. Fruitvale Station (2013)

Writer / Director: Ryan Coogler 

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer

DP: Rachel Morrison

Editor(s): Claudia Castello, Michael P. Shawver

Composer: Ludwig Goransson

Music Supervisor(s): Jonathan Leahy, Manish Raval, Haroula Rose, Tom Wolfe

7. Happy Christmas (2014)

Writer / Director: Joe Swanberg

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham

DP: Ben Richardson

Editor: Joe Swanberg

Composer: Dominic Lewis

Music Supervisor(s): Chris Swanson

6. Young Adult (2011)

Writer: Diablo Cody

Director: Jason Reitman

Starring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt, Elizabeth Reaser

DP: Eric Steelberg

Composer: Mateo Messina, Rolfe Kent

Music Supervisor(s): Linda Cohen

5. Your Sister’s Sister (2011)

Writer / Director: Lynn Shelton

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Duplass

DP: Benjamin Kasulke

Editor: Nat Sanders

Composer: Vinny Smith

Music Supervisor(s): Mel Eslyn, Sandy Wilson

4. Take This Waltz (2011)

Writer / Director: Sarah Polley

Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Luke Kirby

DP: Luc Montpellier

Composer: Jonathan Goldsmith

Music Supervisor(s): Jody Colero

3. Drinking Buddies (2013)

Writer / Director: Joe Swanberg

Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston

DP: Ben Richardson

Editor: Joe Swanberg

Composer: Chris Swanson

Music Supervisor(s): Dominic Lewis

2. 20th Century Women (2016)

Writer / Director: Mike Mills

Starring: Annette Benning, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup

DP: Sean Porter

Editor: Leslie Jones

Composer: Roger Neill

Music Supervisor(s): Howard Paar

1. Frances Ha (2012)

Writer(s): Noah Baumbach / Greta Gerwig

Director: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen

DP: Sam Levy

Editor: Jennifer Lame

Composer: Georges Delerue

Music Supervisor(s): George Drakoulias