Here’s a list of movies, I think, are worth watching. These aren’t necessarily my favorite movies, but I tried to stay away from anything too mainstream.
I’ve talked-up Ink a lot in the past. It’s a low budget ($250K) science fiction/fantasy movie. Of all the movies on the list, this probably has the most amateur acting, but they still do a great job. The appeal with the movie is both the simple yet effective special effects, and the solid story. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ink_(film)
From 1973, Soylent Green is, by far, the oldest movie in this list. It features Charlton Heston’s overacting (that’s just how they did it back then). There are two things that are great about the movie. First, the ending…if you aren’t familiar with the movie, don’t look it up, as it’ll probably ruin the ending for you. Secondly is how relevant this movie is today…it has to be one of the most accurate (it’s still pretty extreme mind you) predictive science fiction movie of all time. No link given since I don’t want to spoil it.
It’s hard to call District 9 not mainstream because of how popular it was, but it’s still an independent film. And, when you consider the amazing quality of it’s special effects, the $30M budget seems low. Besides the great fx, Wikus, the protagonist, is one of the most solid characters I’ve seen in a long time. They also do a great job of taking a radically different spin on the “alien’s visit earth” theme. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_9
Like District 9, calling Kick Ass not mainstream is something of a stretch. However, compared to all the big budget superhero movies, Kick Ass is definitely an underdog which happens to be a much better movie. It’s easily the best film Nicolas Cage has ever been in…his first scene is awesome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kick-Ass_(film)
Kick Ass and Defendor pretty much tell the same story, but what Kick Ass does great, Defendor does perfectly. Defendor is a lot more realistic and serious. It’s fiction where Kick Ass is science fiction. It’s also better acted. If you like one, you’ll like the other. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defendor
With respect to this list, Barney’s Version would be that one thing which isn’t like the others. It’s more of a romantic comedy/drama. Paul Giamatti does a great job (Minnie Driver does a horrible job). What wins this movie for me is the ending…it’s one of the most emotional things I’ve ever seen..the last scene is..memorable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney's_Version_(film)
I’ve hyped this movie in the past too. After Ink, this is probably my second favorite movie on the list. People sadly write this movie off because of who stars in it, but I promise you that’s a mistake. This is Jean-Claude Van Damme’s only movie to hold a “fresh” rotten tomatoes score (84%), and it’s nothing like any other Jean-Claude Van Damme movie you’ve ever seen. I think more movie should do this blend of real world and fiction the way JCVD does. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JCVD
I think I liked this movie more than most. I’m a pretty big Harrelson fan, and to me, Bill Murray’s cameo in this makes the whole movie worth watching. Zombieland is to zombie movies what Kick Ass and Defendor are to superhero movies: much, much better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombieland
Primer and Moon are probably two movies people would expect to see in a list like this. There’s no doubt that they are good, non mainstream movies made on a budget, but neither movie really did it for me.