'Dear White People'
Justin Simien's cutting satire about a racially tinged campus scandal left none of its collegiate characters unspared: identity-political militants, white-privilege twits, celebrity-culture obsessives, media muckrakers, play-it-safe authority figures and firebrands with tendency to self-immolate all got skewered. What the movie lacked in finesse it made up for in bite, and those who saw the movie at Sundance recognized that Simien belonged in the one-to-watch category. Then, as 2014 went on, reality kept dealing us some depressing reminders about our nation's inability to deal with matters of race, and the film seemed to become more pertinent as the months went on even as the laughs started to catch in your throat. In January, Dear White People seemed like an impressive debut. By the year's end, it felt like required viewing.