Top 10 Must Watch Indie Films

I love independent films. To me, they always seem to have much more heart and in depth story lines than most of the blockbusters that come out in theaters. Since independent film makers don’t have a major studio or a general audience to please, they have much more creative freedom, therefore are allowed to bring their passion projects to life. With this in mind, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top 10 favorite indie films.

#10 Dirty Deeds (2005)

Synopsis:

High school senior Zach, a young man who lives for challenging authority and being the self proclaimed “rebel”, decides to take on the infamous “Dirty Deeds” list when his crush’s brother is caught up in the dare by a group of bullies. The only thing is, he must complete the entire list of depraved tasks within 24 hours.

My Thoughts:

Although this is a B movie at best and the plot is nothing special, I really like the tone this movie sets. We’re meant to sympathize with the main character Zach because he’s a rebel who, although he refuses to admit it to others, is unsure of his future and is scared that he’ll end up being someone he doesn’t want to be. Honestly, I think we can all really empathize with that when we think back to what we were like in high school. We spent 4 years in a place that was a prerequisite to the “real world” and we were all scared, at least a little, about what our future held. Plus, we were pressured about what college we were going to go to and what we should study. These are some of Zach’s concerns, which is why he never really takes anything seriously and decides to step in for his crush’s brother. The more pressure is put on us about our future, the more we want to do dangerous things to help us take our minds off of it. In this respect, I applaud this film for capturing teen angst and uncertainty in a unique way.

#9 Take Me Home (2011)

Synopsis:

Thom, a down on his photographer and Claire, a career girl whose life has been turned upside down when she finds out her estranged father has suffered a heart attack, take a cross country road trip to California in Thom’s illegal taxicab. On the way, they learn a lot about life and each other.

My Thoughts:

This movie does start off a bit slow but it’s one of the most unique love stories I’ve seen in a while. It starts with the typical, “oh I hate you” narrative but, as their journey goes on, Thom and Claire begin to understand each other and fall in love in the process. Their repertoire during their journey from New York to California pretty much outlines the stages of most modern relationships. They usually start with some form of animosity or naivety, snowball into understanding and then they give into their emotions. I won’t dare give away the ending of this film but, much like “The Breakup”, it is bittersweet and very realistic. This film is a true testament of what happens in a relationship that occurs in a forced and unexpected manner.

#8 In Your Eyes (2014)

Synopsis:

Dylan, a paroled ex-convict, and Rebecca, a neglected and sheltered housewife, find out that they have a psychic connection that allows them to talk to each other, see what the other sees, and feel what the other feels. Miles away from each other, they realize their connect runs very deep and end up falling in love.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely love this film! It’s easily one of my favorite indies of the year due to its unique style and story. Not to mention, it was written by Joss Whedon. What I really like about this movie is that, although it does have a sci-fi background, it doesn’t let that overrun the main plot of the story. These two people, who’ve never met each other, form a bond that literally reaches beyond the bounds of possibility, which makes you feel much more emotionally invested in their relationship. This film is beautifully shot and tells one of the most unique sci-fi love stories I’ve ever seen.

#7 The Brass Teapot (2012)

Synopsis:

A hapless couple, nearly on the brink of bankruptcy, comes across an ancient magical antique that immediately fills with money whenever they experience pain.

My Thoughts:

This film is a sort of “what if” fairy tale that explores the idea of being careful what you wish for. Money, as we all know, is the root of all evil and this film brilliantly displays this by showing the bumpy road this couple goes down when what the money gets them becomes their main goal. The way this movie plays out is absolutely superb and the performances Juno Temple and Michael Angarano give are priceless. If there ever were a movie that shows why money shouldn’t be your ultimate goal, The Brass Teapot is it.

#6 As Cool as I Am (2013)

Synopsis:

This coming of age film tells the story of a precocious teen that experiences a sexual awakening and realizes that her parent’s relationship as not as strong, or as stable, as she thought.

My Thoughts:

This movie was a little strange to me the first time I saw it. But, when I watched it a second time I was able to glean a pretty good understanding of it. This film is really about how the worldview of teens change as they get older. It’s always weird when you come of age and your little world you thought you knew so well gets rocked and completely turned on his head. As teenage girls, we’ve all been through almost the same things the main characters has and that makes this film much more realistic but still gives a “dream come true” like ending.

#5 Cherry (2010)

Synopsis:

A young, Ivy league college freshman learns a lot about life and love when he ends up falling for an older woman in his art class and her 14 year old daughter.

My Thoughts:

I know the plot of this film sounds weird, but it is actually a very good coming of age film. The main character, Aaron, comes from a very controlling home life and is completely shocked when he delves into the college dorm environment. It’s interesting to see how he adapts to college life as well as handle the confusing feelings he develops for an older woman who is dating a cop and her precocious 14 year old who dreads her home life. Personally, I think this is a very fun movie to watch and accurately displays what it’s like to have confusing and conflicting sexual feelings.

#4 Brick (2006)

Synopsis:

After receiving a confusing and panicked phone call from his ex girlfriend, loner teen Brendan must solve the mystery of her disappearance, and eventual death, by infiltrating the high school cliques he always made a point to avoid.

My Thoughts:

I would rank this movie in the strangely entertaining category. I say “strangely” because this film is so strange and weird that it’ll probably take you a few screenings to understand it. But, I’ll be damned if it’s not the most intriguing modern film noir I’ve seen in a long time. Although very confusing and full of plot twists, Brick is a film that perfectly emulates the film noir movies of the mid to late 40’s. This film really taps into the “who done it” narrative by modernizing it by way of setting it in a high school environment. I love the lingering shots and close ups this movie has as well as the way it makes you question yourself about who the killer is throughout. Also, the dialogue in this film is very 40’s and, at times, can be a little difficult to keep up with. Honestly, if it were to only listen to the audio of this film, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between it and the Maltese Falcon. Bold statement I know, but just watch it and tell me that I’m wrong.

#3 Dirty Girl (2010)

Synopsis:

Set in the late 80’s, a young girl named Danielle and her new acquaintance from school, Clark, take a journey out west to find Danielle’s biological father after her mother leaves her alone for the weekend to go camping with her husband to be and his two kids.

My Thoughts:

This film has to be one of the most entertaining road trip movies I’ve seen in a while. I love how the story and characters are framed as well as how the resolution of the film is handled. The friendship between Danielle and Clark is established pretty quickly but this works very well considering their background and how they both have, in one way or another, a wanderlust and yearn for a life outside of their pokey little town in Oklahoma. Although Danielle has more of a goal than Clark, their trip really helps them figure out who they are. I enjoyed the hell out of this film and really think it speaks volumes to all types of people.

#2 For a Good Time Call…

Synopsis:

Reserved, career driven New Yorker Lauren is dumped by her boyfriend for being “boring” and is forced to move in with carefree party girl Katie. These two have a bad history but ending up becoming friends and having a very interesting summer together when Lauren decides to join Katie in her phone sex operator business.

My Thoughts:

This is the perfect “girl power” flick. These two completely different women end up bonding over something extremely taboo and developing a strong friendship because of it in a way that I’ve never really seen before. For a Good Time Call is funny, bubbly, sexy but also heartfelt. It really focuses on how women interact with one another and how certain “taboo” things are not as taboo as we think.

#1 My Mistress (2014)

Synopsis:

After finding his father dead after he hung himself in the garage, misguided teen Charlie begins an unhealthy obsession with a French dominatrix that has moved into town.

My Thoughts:

OK, hands down this is one of the weirdest yet impressive films I’ve seen in quite a while! I love how the director and writer go in a completely different direction with Charlie’s obsession by not making it dangerous but sincere. Charlie is a young boy who thought his family life was great but, when he finds his father dead, he becomes sort of an empty shell but still holds a strong sense of anger and resentment toward his mother, who he blames for his father’s suicide. When he meets Maggie, the French dominatrix, she gives him advice on how to get a decent night’s sleep, as Charlie has been having trouble with this since his father’s death. After this, he becomes enamored with her. As I’ve said before, his obsession is in no way violent but it is strangely charming. Charlie seems to sense that Maggie is damaged like he is and seeks solace in the way she makes men forget about their problems by dominating them. He wants to escape his pain and suffering and, seeing that they are both in need of a little escape from their hurt, Maggie decides to form a strange dominant/submissive friendship with him. This Australian film has every feature of a “foreign film” attached to it but is extremely relatable. I mean, we’ve all had serious family problems and bad things that have happened in our lives and, in one way or another, we’ve turned to something to help us move on from it. My Mistress embodies this all the while exploring a unique sexual theme.

If you’re interested in watching any of these movies, about 5 or 6 of them are available to stream on Netflix right now!

Enjoy!

Writer. Film Fanatic. Student of Life.

Writer. Film Fanatic. Student of Life.