New Year’s has come and gone and school is LITERALLY just around the corner. If you’re totally tired out from all the shopping, eating and socializing with family friends who feel like strangers, then why not have a movie marathon in the comfort of your own home?
Providing you a variety of indie films, here are 10 movies you probably haven’t seen but should see while you enjoy doing absolutely nothing during the remaining days of your break.
(I know 50/50, The Kids are All Right and perhaps Moonrise Kingdom may be considered “popular” films due to the actors. But in all due respect, these movies are STILL worth the watch.)
Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, the film is a coming of age story of a 15-year-old boy named Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts). Entering his mid-teens, he only has two objectives: lost his virginity before his next birthday and make the chemistry between his parents alive once again as his mother’s ex-lover re-enters the scene.
To me, the vibe of the movie was very Wes Anderson-esque with its unique humour and eccentric characters. Add that in with songs contributed by the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, this movie probably has one of the most underrated soundtracks EVER.
Anyone who’s a sucker for indie romances will enjoy Ruby Sparks. Directed by Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris (both also directed Little Miss Sunshine), the film stars Paul Dano as Calvin, a struggling novelist who manifests a female character he thinks will love him. And out of the blue, she, aka Ruby Sparks (played by Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the script), becomes real.
This may sound awfully similar to Stranger Than Fiction but this movie is not your typical romantic comedy. While whimsical, cute and endearing, the film’s ending is surprisingly realistic. And to be honest, I wish most Hollywood films resolved things just as nicely as this movie did.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story stars Keir Gilchrist as a 16-year-old who checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward after attempting suicide. Feeling pressured by his friends and parents to do well in school, he deals with his problems there, while meeting a range of interesting characters (played by Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts) who are dealing with their own issues too.
Mental illness is often a touchy issue when it’s meant to be comedic, but this film successfully meshes in the right amount of humour and drama to provide a touching, coming of age story. Those who are used to seeing Galifianakis as the satchel-wearing Alan in The Hangover will be interested to see him playing a more dramatic role while Gilchrist and Roberts shine as awkward teens trying to sort out their growing feelings for each other.
And can I mention how great the soundtrack of this film is? Featuring the likes of Broken Social Scene and The Middle East, I also watch this film solely for this awesome scene.
Lars and the Real Girl
Before Ryan Gosling stole our hearts in Crazy, Stupid, Love, he starred in an indie comedy called Lars and the Real Girl. Playing a delusional and lonely young man, Gosling’s character strikes up an unconventional relationship with a sex doll he finds on the internet.
This is honestly one of the most heartfelt movies I have ever seen with one of the best performances I have ever witnessed by Gosling. Unlike the actor’s more recent bad boy roles in Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines and even Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gosling is sweet, lovable and awkward here. You just want to give him a hug when you watch this movie. (But of course, it’s not like we don’t want to do that now anyways.)
The Kids Are All Right
A breakout hit in 2010, The Kids Are All Right was hailed with critical acclaim and went on to be nominated for four Oscars including Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay.
Starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as a same sex couple with two children conceived by artificial insemination, things get awkward when the pair (played by Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) bring their father (Mark Ruffalo) into the picture.
This film not only features great writing and performances by Bening and Ruffalo but also showcases the acting potential by Hutcherson, who we all know as our beloved Peeta Mellark. But if you don’t like nudity, I’m warning you now. This film features a lot of it.
I honestly went into this movie not knowing what it was about but I was pleasantly surprised. Well-written with great performances, Paul Giamatti plays a struggling lawyer who comes across the teenage grandson of a client he has double-crossed in order to support his family.
This is seriously a gem of a movie. If you’re interested in a good mix of comedy, drama and the sport of wrestling, you mustn’t wait any longer to watch this film!
Before starring in Star Trek, Anton Yelchin was better known as Charlie Bartlett, a rich kid who becomes a self-appointed psychiatrist and drug prescriber to the student body of his new high school. Featuring comedic and wonderful performances by Robert Downey Jr. and Kat Dennings, this movie’s interesting plot line included some very good character study and carries great messages about our personal and social lives.
And as a side note, this film also features a younger Aubrey Graham, which we all know now as Drake.
While fairly recent, this film is a great mix of comedy and drama as Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a guy in his late 20s who learns he has cancer and ultimately learns what and who are the most important things in his life.
Inspired by screenwriter Will Reiser’s own experience with cancer, what really makes this movie worth watching is the touching and heartfelt moments between Gordon-Levitt and his best friend (Seth Rogen), mother ( Anjelica Huston) and rookie therapist (Anna Kendrick) as he becomes embittered ad confused with a disease he struggles to beat.
Like Crazy has Felicity Jones playing a British college student who falls for an American (played by Anton Yelchin), only to be separated from him when she’s banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa. Through fighting customs and immigration battles, the film surrounds the young couple as they decide whether or not their relationship is worth the distance.
While I appreciate the fact that this film makes many relevant points about young love and long-distance relationships, I still have many reservations about this movie as its characters behave so foolishly and cause problems that could easily be solved. Maybe I’m a cynic and the foolishness is caused by the power of love. But to be honest, you should watch the film for the cinematography and budding performers. As we see Jennifer Lawrence in her earlier days of acting, Felicity Jones has also proven to be an actress to look out for in future movies.
This movie just recently came out on DVD, so there shouldn’t be any excuses about how you can get a copy. Directed by Wes Anderson, the film stars newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as a pair of young lovers who flee their New England town. Ultimately, their escape causes a local search party to fan out and find them.
This whimsical feature was probably one of the most original films I have seen this year. Moonrise Kingdom reads like a storybook adventure and the eccentric characters played by Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and Bill Murray are extremely well-crafted. And can we talk about the nice touches of cinematography, costumes and props (Suzy’s portable record player is to die for)? This movie is so charming it almost makes me want to live in the 60s.