These are not necessarily from an independent studio, and I can’t tell you that you’ll love them all. I obviously have offbeat and sometimes dark taste in movies, but some other people out there have similar taste to mine. This is for those who don’t mind venturing out of the blockbuster arena with an open mind. You might be pleasantly surprised. The same old plot lines, actors and settings can get a little tired, after all.

Slightly Off The Beaten Path

Dad is in Heaven With Nixon – A documentary about the fascinating family surrounding an autistic boy who grew up to be a successful but down-to-earth artist.

[I wanted to leave off the documentaries for a whole separate list, but since I led off with some non-fiction, I’d just also like to mention War Dance. While emotional at times, it’s touching enough to induce serious appreciation and change your outlook for the better, and that’s worth a couple hours.)

Jeff, Who Lives at Home – I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and enjoyed the bonus of a cool ending.

Girl Most Likely – I enjoy Kristen Wiig in everything but especially this. Similar to her character in Bridesmaids in some ways.

Our Idiot Brother – I like Paul Rudd so I may be biased. That being said, it is delightful.

Also starring Paul Rudd- I Love You Man is quite an entertaining bromance.

The Village Barbershop – An unlikely partnership grows in a small-town business.

Second Hand Lions – A fun, scenic romp for young and old alike.

Tiny Furniture – It’s über weird but one to check out if you like Lena Dunham.

Central Station – One of my favorite foreign films.

Sex and Lucia – Feels like being a fly on the wall on a strange, secret vacation.

The Tiger and the Snow – Lovely (but less striking) second effort from Life is Beautiful director, Roberto Benigni… different story, seemingly same characters and schtick, but lovable nonetheless.

Life is Beautiful – Just a wonderful film about the depths of true love of life and family.

Amelie – Beautiful little stories interwoven, unexpected hilarity, and sweet love interests. Plus a soundtrack and setting you’ll adore.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Gorgeous, over-the-top period sets, costumes, and characters.

Wristcutters – A dark, but interesting tale that starts out weird and doesn’t turn back.

Lars and the Real Girl – So inexplicably intriguing- this was thought-provoking to me for weeks on end afterward.

Me And You and Everyone We Know – Odd but rewarding.

Eagle vs. Shark – Possibly the weirdest of the list, it’s like… Flight of the Conchords meets Napoleon Dynamite.

Tsotsi – A conscience once abandoned unexpectedly comes shining through.

Henry Poole is Here Interesting exploration of faith and belief in the face of hardship.

Goats – Arguably David Duchovny’s most bizarre choice of films.

Jesus Henry Christ – I’m a fan of Toni Colette so that was my entry point but the rest was no disappointment.

Conversations with Other Women – Helena Bonham Carter plays a normal, clean, modern-day woman? That I had to see.

Dandelion – The flow of this movie is all at once stinging and beautiful and tragic, just like addiction and young love.

TiMER – Rom-Com meets Sci-Fi. It’s a Rom-Fi.

Well-Known But Worth Mentioning

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – My favorite film of 2013.

American Beauty – When you need a total emotional shake-up…

Precious – Heavy but hopeful.

Juno – I recommend this as the go-to quirky classic in place of Garden State, of which I wasn’t a big fan. And while we’re on the subject, regarding The Last Kiss… Zach Braff, if you could refund me those couple hours, that would be great.

Lost in Translation – Be warned, I don’t know anyone who likes this but me. And I like to watch it every few months. Some movies grow on me until I can’t live without them. I found it sweetly subtle, and ultimately endearing.

The Royal Tenenbaums – As usual with Wes Anderson, it’s pretty weird but artfully so.

A more recent Wes Anderson fave: The Darjeeling Limited

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Totally fresh, filled with deep concepts and mesmerizing scenes.

The Onion Movie – Crass humor and zany satire best enjoyed in raunchy company (and in an altered mental state I would imagine.)

Little Miss Sunshine – Feel-good movie that still isn’t too kiddy.

In Her Shoes – A rocky road to discovering real maturity and true sisterhood.

Dan in Real Life – Lots of familiar faces make this movie better than it probably should have been.

Four Rooms – eccentric doesn’t cover it… in a class of its own.

Chocolat – a deliciously unique romance.

The Story of Us – the roller coaster ride that is a relationship.

The Red Violin – intricate story with an unforgettable secret.

The Women – a long list of middle-aged leading ladies light up the screen together.

The B-List

Leap Day -like a free trip to Ireland, but don’t expect too much more)

Caro Diario – An Italian film I like enough to rate well on Netflix, but apparently not memorably enough to write you a good review. Honest, eh!

The Morning After – An interesting situation ensues as a result of a one-night-stand. I watched this to the end, but by then I wasn’t sure if I was all that happy about it.

It’s a Disaster! – The star of The Morning After plays a smaller role here in a one-long-scene, end-of-the-world scenario dotted with humor as well as plot twists and turns that move toward a climax that will floor you… but I can’t guarantee it will please you!

In a World… – I was really looking forward to this but missed in the indie theater here and was so stoked to see it pop up on Netflix.  Going in with such high expectations was my own fault. It was fun, but didn’t blow me away by any means.

Add Your Picks

If you have seen a movie or a show lately you’d like to share, please do leave a comment! What must-haves did I miss?