Matthew Lickona noon, April 29
The Fourth of July fireworks display that caps off this unblinking, intimate poor-kids-in-the-heartland documentary can be viewed in a couple of ways. You can see the younguns staring open-mouthed at the pretty explosions while chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" sound in the background and think, "Brutal. How can folks cheer for a country so full of misery and failure?" Or you can dig past that reaction and marvel that these kids, these victims of crime and circumstance and their own frustrated choices, are at the display at all. Rich Hill is full of such scenes: one moment, you're wincing; the next, you're shaking your head in sympathy. The film follows three boys: Andrew has had to move somewhere around 20 times; he figures God is busy with other people at the moment, but he keeps his chin up and his body hard. Harley's mom is in prison for especially heartbreaking reasons. And Appachey is a doughy ball of medicated rage who could probably use a father. 2014.