ByIan Bruce Foss, writer at
Ian Bruce Foss

Some movies just make waves each year in the multi-billion dollar industry, they remove themselves from the sea of content that is released every year. While some may earn this by way of spectacle and hype, other films content and technical excellence set them above the rest. These four movies made a splash in their day and will forever be remembered as important. Four films really had a profound effect on me this cinema year, and all emerged from independent stages. These films got their message across with bravado and really cemented a place among great cinema and will be remembered for years to come.

Everyone gets obsessed and can't stop talking about them. People tell others these are "the"movies that has to be seen. Most of these are blockbusters flicks because we are exposed to them so frequently. These type of films while enjoyable, are just popcorn flicks, with no real expression of passion or themes that a studio head did not approve of. These movies goal's, are to be as agreeable as humanly possible. But every year some Indie films break into the casual movie goers attention because of the message they carry and what they may bring to light. These films pack a punch, and are made to bring attention to issues that of the current time period.

When a film manages to capture a portion of life that we all can at least partially identify with, it tends to get a lot of attention. These movies are made to parody parts of life and carry messages about these small sections of reality. Some actually pack quite the punch, and can leave an audience breathless and looking at the world differently.

Real, and often inexplicable tragedies are put on display for our collective thought processes to make us consider this portion of life. Hopefully it works to change it. There are movies that aim their content to open an audiences consideration of the meaning and intent of the film.

An important film might vary from a piece that captures the insanity of the human condition, to posing questions that go against the daily grind of the world. Sometimes these movies are statements against those who the makers feel manipulate and control their lives. These type of movies are what I consider important. The plot has the ability to change the environments in which they exist. A lot of these films have a very real impact on the physical world outside of the screen, and they tend to garner a lot of controversy because of this. Without any further adeiu, here are some really profound films that came out this last year.


Directed by Jeff Nicholas, Mud was released sometime in May. This movie was a phenomenal coming of age story, and one of the best representations of modern southern lifestyle's. This movie is heart-wrenching and warming, as well as the anti love, love story. In itself, it is a complete oxy-moron and that's part of the reason this picture is so compelling. The movie follows a young boy put into a difficult situation as his parents split. This is happening parallel to him kindling an unlikely friendship from a man secluded from society. This man also has a long and rough past which is catching up to him. All of this turmoil advances the story and adds to the intensity surrounding each characters lives.

This movie captures the state of American marriage perfectly. Half of all marriages in the U.S end in divorce. People enter into unhappy unions all of the time in the United States, and Ellis' parents are no different. The family dynamic of Ellis is an intensely real one. Many of these marriages end because of financial difficulties, and the parents of Ellis find themselves in this same situation. Mud portrays to us the unhappy family dynamic of a lower middle class family fighting to get by,day to day. This is just an ordinary family, they should be happy but life itself has made it so they aren't. It's no-ones fault per say, but it's very real.

This movie also portrays pressures set upon young males in American society. Speaking as a former one, we are told so many ass backwards things as a kid to "protect" us from the world, but really they just work to confuse and annoy us. Ellis deals with his budding adolescence curiosity while also maneuvering the bible belt portion of the United States. Ellis has to deal with the hardships of growing up and dealing with the chemical imbalances within himself. For once in a movie like this, they don't approach it with comedy, they showed it in a very enlightening way. As a pubescent boy he is starting to change. He faces conflict here added onto with his parents constantly fighting. On top of that the area he lives in works to make his life that much more complex. He is morally torn about all decisions he makes. He is hypersensitive and naive when trying to salvage Mud's relationship, because he needs one relationship to be perfect. He needs one part of his life to be the way everyone told him it was the way it's supposed to be. In his world there isn't one aspect that is part of a normal American life according to the meta of the American Dream.

We are also exposed to the cruel world of childhood. We are treated to an intensely real moment when a 13 year old Ellis tells the first girl he kissed that he loves her. He does this in fear of losing her. She shoots him down and blatantly insults him, and this is a moment I especially can identify with. It's a painful moment in a kid's life too do something like that for the very first time, and have it responded too so negatively.

This movie is a perfect representation of this generations adolescence. We live in one of the most economically depressed times in American History with a radically different family dynamic than our ancestors had. We live in a completely different environment than the one the kids from the Breakfast Club grew up in and this movie does such a great job of capturing ours. This film allowed us to take a step back and reconsider what we, (meaning people recently reached or coming into adulthood) would do differently. How we are going to live out lives, raise our children, and what we can do too better our future.

The Dirties

Easily one of the most controversial flicks of 2013, this movie was one ride too watch. You knew how this movie was going to end as soon as it started, but you were strapped in for the ride regardless. This found footage treatment of two high school students navigating their lives as losers through the volatile minefield known as a high school. Two kids, Owen and Matt are bullied often in their daily lives, A huge hot button topic that people that have radically different viewpoints regarding this problem.

Amazingly this movie manages to take a sympathetic angle in portraying everyone involved in the plot. This flick isn't a portrayal of the black and white good guy and bad guy story we've grown so accustomed too in these types of movies. This film is 1000 fathoms deep of subtext and explores the humanity of each kid shown on screen. The supposed bad guy's of the movie are shown to have pleasant sides, and the innocents are shown to have ugly portions of their personalities. No-one is absolutely wrong, yet everyone seem's to be devoid of right as well. This film is just a portrayal of life, and this movie takes power out of both sides arguments on the bullying debate.

This movie shares a common theme of Mud, that kids are cruel. The protagonists are put through tortures we all have experienced at some point in our lives. Yet one decides he is pushed to the point where he can actually kill fellow students. However Matthew Johnson displays great insight in the direction he took the film and the way he portrayed the shooter. There are multiple reasons to why the disenfranchised youthful protagonist decides to become so radical. It's not just the teasing he receives, it's so much more of his everyday life that factors into his decision. He feel's he's losing his best friend is a large factor. Another is he feel's betrayed by the educator who was supposed to be there to support him.

Matt's decent into darkness reminds me of Tetsuo's break from sanity in the Anime epic Akira (1988) He is pushed and feel's like he is not appreciated by his peers. When people he cares for seem to have abandoned him he becomes disillusioned and begins to hurt people without fully realizing of his actions. To Matt, this shooting becomes a game, a part of this grand movie he planed to make and he never thinks of the repercussions that are to come from it. This movie presented us with a different angle to approach bullying, it's a piece of life, and their are no real bad guys, involved are just kids. We are exposed to the hardships in Matt's life and that allows the viewer to analyze him and why he is the way he is. As well as that, it opens the realm of possibilities when you start to think about the lives of even the Dirties and why they may be the way they are.

War Witch

A different kind of child solider story, this Canadian film came in the wake of people's realization of the horror's subjected to children in Africa. Directed by Kim Nguyen, this story depicts a young girl being forced to execute her parents and become the slave of a local Warlord.

This movie shows the horror that exists in the world in an extremely graphic fashion. We are forced to think and become angry that these terrors are being subjected to people in the world. It really shows how barbaric some people can really be, and were never as refined and modern and we would like to think as a whole populace.

This movie also is unique in it's depiction of two children using a drug as a release from their daily hell. Unlike most film's the substance seems almost as if it's helpful to the characters instead of a detriment.

Blue Caprice

This one is my personal favorite movie from 2013. Absolutely incredible performances from the likes of Tequan Richmond, and Isaiah Washington brought this dark biopic to life. Blue Caprice retell's the story of the Beltway Snipers and how they came to be. Alexandre Moors perfectly captured all of the elements of this story that made it such a unique and depraved.

Once again like the Dirties this movie works to show that although the protagonists may be crazy, their are not completely at fault for their crimes. Both men seem to struggle from mental illness, and Tequan gives one of the greatest performances of someone afflicted with severe autism or another social disorder. Isaiah Washington plays a deranged John Allen Muhammad who's life is reduced to shambles around him. He becomes a psychopath and abducts young Lee Boyd Malvo. Eventually the pair comes to the United States and Allen manipulates Malvo into committing various nefarious acts.

This movie is the best representation of brain washing I have ever seen on film. I almost fell for the charm of Washington's character as he convinced the young man he traveled with that his wrong actions were for the best of the everyone. Additionally, this movie is adapted from actual life and allows the audience to feel sympathetic to someone we have hated for such a long time. As an audience we are forced to understand where these men are coming from, and we feel almost sympathetic to them as humans. Once again this film throws out the grain of goodies and baddies and we are exposed to just people. People with various issues that allow them to live in the extremist way they do. It does, however, show their is a real darkness in people that is not always so apparent.

Oddly enough though, this film really captures the evil side of humanity so well, and lets us as the audience realize that their is a really dark side to our reality. This movie is the perfect expression of lost souls, people with no faith in those around them, and feel so disconnected from their lives they choose to not be a part of it.


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