2014's best independent movies.

End of last year Buzzfeed posted a list of independent movies that made under $10 million. Just about every movie on this list looks amazing so I'm going to use this post as a log of what I've seen. 

To watch

  1. Actress
  2. Blue Rain
  3. Calvary
  4. Citizenfour
  5. Dear White People
  6. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
  7. Enemy
  8. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  9. The Guest
  10. The Immigrant
  11. Jodorowsky's Dune
  12. Locke
  13. Love is Strange
  14. Pride
  15. Snowpiercer
  16. Starred Up
  17. Whiplash

Watched - and recommended


Force Majeure

drama :: A Swedish family goes on holiday. They narrowly miss being swept away by an avalanche. Instead of hijinks, very-well acted drama ensues. The film takes place over the family's five day vacation. The collateral damage from the avalanche is felt the entire time and ricochets beyond the family of four and impacts others. The film is painful to watch and feels much longer than 2 hours, but I would recommend it. It's a great reminder of how the actions of one person can affect many.   


Obvious Child

dramedy :: A love story between two regular people who find each other under fairly normal circumstances and have a night of debaucherous fun. The debauchery has consequences they have to deal with. It's an excellent movie, but for the quality of the movie, the IMDB Reviews seem really low. I'm speculating it's because of the nature of the movie - the heroine has an abortion. I'm most familiar with Jenny Slate from Parks and Rec and Drunk History so I was pleased to see she's talented in a dramatic role. Bonus: the stand-up in the movie is hilarious.  


The One I Love

The entire film is a twist so it's almost impossible to write about it without revealing the concept which, I think, only works if you see the film. You should see it, but see it with someone who likes to talk about movies so you can break it down together.

I hope you don't read too much about it before watching the film. My takeaway, there are multiple versions of every person on earth and sometimes we find ourselves in love with a version that may not be how that person sees themself.


Only Lovers Left Alive

drama :: Vampire culture is popular because people are enamored with the idea of living through the centuries experiencing the world transform. Living for centuries also allows us to distance ourselves from our problems without feeling like we're shirking responsibilities. Will this even matter in 100 years?

Only Lovers Left Alive is an enchantingly hip vampire tale of two lovers who've married each other at least three times over the course of their 500-year-old relationship. The younger vampire gets caught up in the drama we zombies (i.e., humans) inflict on the earth, while the older (2,000+ year-old) has seen enough evolution in the world to distance herself from the problems we create. The lovers are impossibly cool—perhaps the template of every hipster today—and enamored with literature, music and go to great lengths to obtain pure food.  

The pace of the film is unbelievable. Though the film is only a few days long, the pace makes you feel like you could travel the world with this couple for centuries, completely relaxed and feeling inspiration in everything. 

The trailer does not do the film justice. 


The soundtrack on YouTube.


The Skeleton Twins

dramedy :: This movie stars another comedienne as a lead in a drama. Like the Obvious Child, it balances truly hilarious moments with a heartbreaking story. In this case the two main characters are estranged twins who come together to deal with the repercussions of suicide, infidelity and child molestation. The topics aren't easy but the love Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader seem to have for each other is a great example of the supportive and messy love you have for your sibling. Because your sibling know you so well, he/she can be your biggest supporter or your biggest critic. 


We Are the Best!

drama :: A Swedish drama about middle school girls. Though the film takes place in the 1980's it is a fresh, unsentimental tale. These girls are punk aficionados starting a band and trying to figure out how to be a band of girls and not be a girl band. The film follows the girls as they assert their independence, discover boys and learn from the mistakes of their parents. With punk as their sound track, the girls write songs while writing the life story of their lives. I wish I'd had half the spunk these girls have when I was 13. 


And someone put together a playlist of all the Swedish Punk from the movie! Enjoy!


Watched - not recommended


What If/The F Word

RomCom :: Wallace and Chantry clearly have feelings for each other, and great chemistry, but since Chantry is in a relationship the two try to see if they can make friendship work. 

I don't know. I think the film is trying a bit too hard. I couldn't connect with the performances or the script. They tried a few things with the movie which were kinda interesting—she is an animator so you experience her art—but overall the film fell flat for me. It's hard to put my finger on what didn't work, but I'd say they made a good effort. Perhaps the actors, the script and the production are just too smart for the genre.

If you wanna watch a RomCom watch a big budget Hollywood movie. They've perfected the delivery and your expectations are low. 


Have you seen any of the movies on the list that I haven't watched? What do you recommend?