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Summer Indie Counter-Programming

Posted June 18, 2010 to photo album "Summer Indie Counter-Programming"

In anticipation of the release of Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, Nick Dawson looks back at summer indie hits from years past.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Kids
Slide 3: The Usual Suspects
Slide 4: Ulee's Gold
Slide 5: The Full Monty
Slide 6: The Blair Witch Project
Slide 7: Ghost World
Slide 8: Whale Rider
Slide 9: 28 Days Later
Slide 10: Swimming Pool
Slide 11: American Splendor
Slide 12: Napoleon Dynamite
Slide 13: Fahrenheit 9/11
Slide 14: Broken Flowers
Slide 15: Little Miss Sunshine
Slide 16: (500) Days of Summer
Slide 2: Kids

Slide 2: Kids

Release Date: July 21, 1995
Domestic Gross: $7,412,216
Programmed Against: Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home

The same weekend that parents were taking their kids to see the whale movie Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, many adults were going to watch a film called Kids. Photographer-turned-director Larry Clark worked with a young screenwriter named Harmony Korine to capture the reality of a group of teens living in New York City. Written by Korine when he was just 18, Kids depicted its adolescent protagonists drinking, stealing, getting high, and having unprotected sex – all of which ultra ultra-realism was too much for the MPAA, which slapped an NC-17 rating on the film. (Harvey and Bob Weinstein actually had to create a new company, Shining Excalibur Films, to release the movie because Miramax – after its purchase by Disney – was not allowed to release NC-17 movies.) While not everyone loved Kids, it was a film that demanded to be seen whether you liked it or not, with Roger Ebert stating, “Kids is the kind of movie that needs to be talked about afterward.” On the back of all that debate, Kids earned an impressive $7.5 million at the U.S. box office. The film’s success propelled Korine to a directorial career and such movies as Gummo and julien donkey-boy (both produced by FilmInFocus’ Scott Macaulay), while Clark would once again team up with Korine on the 2002 movie Ken Park, another provocative depiction of teenage transgression.