Every once in a while, an indie movie becomes a blockbuster. The year 2004 had Garden State; 2005 had Brick, Trans America, and Hard Candy; 2006 had Little Miss Sunshine. It’s the latter that is, perhaps, the most blockbuster-esque of the early aughts’ indie blockbusters.
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ quirky tale brilliantly mixes family dysfunction with bright-eyed wonder. It’s rich with an eclectic cast of Hollywood big shots, respected actors, and a then-unknown young actor whose star was only just beginning to burn bright. What’s more, Michael Arndt’s screenplay manages to balance genuine heartfeltness with Tumblr-ready platitudes that, no matter how cliché they are, hit you right in the sweet spot. It was—and still is for many—a movie that just gets you, you know? And for good reason: The values and morals written into the script are core to becoming a better human. It’s a treat to have them delivered in such a moving package.
So, on the film’s 10th anniversary (feel old yet?), let’s look back on the five key lessons Little Miss Sunshine instilled in us. After all, there’s never a bad time to be reminded to “do what you love and fuck the rest.”