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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 4: Ulee's Gold

Slide 4: Ulee's Gold

Release Date: June 13, 1997
Domestic Gross: $9,161,691
Programmed Against: Speed 2: Cruise Control

On June 13, 1997, moviegoing audiences were given a choice between Speed 2: Cruise Control – a sequel to the bomb-on-the-bus hit from 1995 which was set on a distinctly sluggish cruise ship – and Ulee’s Gold, a small indie movie featuring a comeback from a member of a Hollywood dynasty. The latter was directed by Victor Nuñez, who four years earlier had a significant indie success with Ruby in Paradise and now hit paydirt again with the story of a Vietnam vet and beekeeper, Ulysses “Ulee” Jackson (Peter Fonda), who tries to bring his family back together after his son ends up in jail and his daughter-in-law abandons their two young children. The movie was a return to the big screen for Peter Fonda, who described Ulee as “the best character I've ever read… the kind of role you pay money to do.” Fonda was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards that year for his performance, and Roger Ebert lavished praised on the film and its star, saying, “Now, at 57, he has found the role of a lifetime--perhaps the role that points the way to a reborn career.”