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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Indie movies can be incredible, but some come up sadly short

There are a lot of really good indie movies. From the bizarre early work of now blockbuster filmmaker Harmony Korine, including wandering flicks such as “Gummo” and “Trash Humpers,” to Miranda July’s uncomfortably moving “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” many have found ways to make incredible cinematic experiences sans a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer budget or Academy actors.

But not all indie films are created equal. For every touchingly beautiful indie movie, there is one without any deeper purpose than its own undeserved, self-absorbed existence. There needs to be a distinction between those legitimately well-made and those not quite up to snuff.

I will try to shed some light on this fine distinction by dissecting a movie that tries oh so hard to be a cute indie flick, but fails in the most miserable way imaginable.

“Dear Lemon Lima” is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Despite its 6.3 rating on IMBD, there are essentially zero redeeming qualities about this film. It attempts to be a “Juno”-esque, but it’s a pathetic try.

The film tells the story of young Vanessa Lemor. Almost immediately after the opening credits finish, her wealthy, preppy boyfriend Phillip breaks up with her. This is just the beginning of a miserable hyperbolic onslaught.

Of course, following Vanessa and Phillip’s not-so-tumultuous break-up, the two of them attend the same school for the first time. As the new girl, Vanessa is immediately confined to the lowest tier of the social ladder.

Soon, as you probably could have guessed, Vanessa befriends a clan of other misfits. And together, they assemble to make a team to compete in their school’s annual heritage/sporting event the Snowstorm Survivor.

I need to mention a kid shoots himself with his rifle because he’s angry at his mom for not letting him participate in the Snowstorm Survivor. He dies. The worst part is as the viewer is you see it coming from a mile away. IN WHAT WORLD IS A JUNIOR HIGH SUICIDE PREDICTABLE?

Do I need to tell you the film’s conclusion? Yep, Vanessa’s unlikely crew of losers wins the Snowstorm Survivor by putting all of their unique skills together. It’s excruciating.

The movie’s so overwhelmingly cliche, it’s hard to tell if the film’s creators made it as a joke—poking fun at the commonplace young, awkward, female protagonist, who appears way too often in indie flicks. But it wasn’t supposed to be a satire. Scariest of all is “Dear Lemon Lima” won several awards.

What we need to realize is using certain camera filters and transitioning between scenes with dumb notebook graphics is not good filmmaking. It’s just a way for bad movies to pretend that they are clever or original. And although not every movie needs to be groundbreaking, especially on the indie circuit, filmmakers should be held to a higher standard than ripping off their predecessors. I expect better than that.

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