Break's over, the Canadian Geese have started flocking on Locust, and you have some catching up to do. If you're still pissed about that Carol snub (Ed. note: we are.) and questioning the #Oscarssowhiteness of it all, drop the Academy altogether and take the road less Netflixed by with some of our favorite independent movies from last year.
For the woke kids in Intro to Queer Studies:Tangerine
Finally, a movie about transgender women played by transgender women. In this comedy—shot entirely on iPhone apps—sex worker Sin–Dee Rella and her best friend Alexandra tear up LA looking to enact some Christmas Eve revenge on the pimp that broke her heart. It’s got donut shops, crack pipes and cat fights, as well as some of 2015’s most heartbreakingly honest social commentary.
For the tortured (probably white and male) Comparative Literature majors who like to talk about postmodernism in the lobby of Fisher Fine Arts: The End of the Tour
It’s okay if you haven’t finished Infinite Jest. Nobody has. But it’s more sinful to have missed this intimate portrait of one of America’s most genius and troubled writers. The End of the Tour follows Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky as he tags along on the last leg of David Foster Wallace’s book tour. In a Linklater–esque style, the film rests entirely on the conversations between the two characters, as they ride in taxis, smoke in the snow and discuss personal boundaries.
For freshmen with crushes on their TAs: The Diary of a Teenage Girl
At times, The Diary of a Teenage Girl can be too much to stomach. But this female–directed coming–of–age drama delicately handles its taboo thematic content, following fifteen–year–old Minnie as she initiates a relationship with her mom’s boyfriend, who is 20 years her senior. With all the necessary complexity of a situation so unsettling, Diary flawlessly explores sexual awakening, emotional dependence and all the other shitty stuff most of us have to deal with a few years later than Minnie.
For the whiz kids applying to grad school: Dope
The college application process may seem like a distant nightmare to most of us, but none of us had an interviewer who trapped us into pushing molly. This comedy follows high school senior Malcolm, who got caught up in a gang fight and has to sell drugs to get into Harvard. Featuring Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky, Tyga and more, it’s hilarious and surprisingly profane, and you’ll wish you had as interesting of an essay topic for your Common App as Malcolm.
For the Cinema Studies majors who want a break from live action: Anomalisa
The first animated film to win the Grand Jury Prize at Venice, this Charlie–Kaufman–directed–and–written treat is what all the strange intellectuals have been waiting for. Anomalisa centers on a disconnected self–help speaker and the relationship he develops with an emotionally–crippled woman attending his conference. The beautiful stop–motion is perfect for creating a portrait of a loner and his honest attempts at feeling.