Entries Tagged 'Quirky Independent' ↓

i’ve heard the mermaids singing

The heroine of this independent Canadian film is such a wallflower that a receptionist job at a small art gallery is the height of success for her. Her overactive dream life has her flying over the skyscrapers of Toronto, yet blissfully unaware of facts in her own life. The slow realization that her boss is a lesbian is enough to rock her world. Quirky and sweet. [canada, 1987]


Canadian bright light Sarah Polley is so convincing as an awkward and insecure 20-year-old who falls for an aging bohemian that she makes you forget how ridiculously beautiful she is. Directed by Audrey Wells (The Truth About Cats and Dogs), this slight film takes a closer look at May-December relationships revealing what each partner gains from the other. As the sarcastic, socialite mom, Jean Harper provides a brash counterpoint to her daughter’s meekness. Her showdown with the man “who’s fucking my daughter,” is worth the price of admission. [us, 1999]

the good girl

If you’re inclined to miss this film because it stars Jennifer Aniston, don’t! After the first 20 minutes you’ll completely forget her celebrity life and that guilty-pleasure sitcom. Aniston turns in a fabulous performance as a small-town working at a dead-end job at a Walmart rip-off and married to a stoner-house painter husband. Escape appears by the way of “Holden”, a broody coworker with whom Justine embarks on an affair, simply to ease her bordem. While at times veering towards maudlin, the film works because the cast is so strong and the camera’s eye is unflinching. Painfully funny and just plain painful—if you’ve ever wondered just how you ended up in the life you’re living, see it. [us 2002]


This scruffy glimpse of London working class life finds beauty in the ordinary. Wonderland centres on three working class sisters who stumble along seeking fulfillment. One hopes for love, the other wants stability, the third craves pleasure. Circling around their lives are children, ex-husbands, estranged siblings, one-night stands, future lovers, bickering parents, and barking dogs. It’s poignant and realistic without being grim. And the cinematography makes wet city traffic look better than all the sweeping velds in Africa. [uk, 2000]

ghost world

Thora Birch, the rebellious daughter from American Beauty gives smart, misfit teens another shot of cool. As Enid, she struts through a year of post-high school cynicism decked in yard-sale apparel aiming barbs at big business and the dim-witted. She also struggles through a relationship with her best friend, sparks an odd liaison with a bookish 40-ish record collector, grapples with remedial art school, and fails hilariously at working. Like its protagonist, the film is snarky on the surface, but down deep, it’s the real thing. [us, 2001]

parsley days

This quirky look at 20-something life begins where most movies end: with the perfect relationship. Here, secretly pregnant Kate, a bike mechanic, is living with Ollie, a man so endearing her lesbian friends claim he’s a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. The movie follows Kate as she struggles over whether to breakup with Ollie, while simultaneously attempting to induce abortion by eating massive amounts of parsley. Kate is surrounded by neat friends, a herbalist, a performance artist, a pair of 70-something lovebirds, and a lot of bicycle enthusiasts. And like any good Canadian movie, the canoe is a character unto itself. [canada, 2001]

state & main

Rebecca Pidgeon (AKA Mrs David Mamet) makes the already amusing send-up of a sleazy Hollywood crew filming in small town Vermont that much funnier. As the town’s eccentric used bookstore owner and local theatre whizkid, the brainy, practical, and unfettered Annie is always three steps ahead of the game. Confident and slightly kooky, she provides the film’s moral center and saves at least one soul from Hollywood purgatory when she steers a desperately confused screenwriter towards the second chance he so richly needs. [us, 2000]

next stop wonderland

Maybe it’s the samba soundtrack. Maybe it’s the melancholic sweetness of its lead character. Either way, it’s a nice “alone at home without a date movie” (silly Mafia subplot notwithstanding). A single twentysomething woman’s over-zealous mother places a personal ad in the paper for her daughter Erin. Erin, who is smart, well read and emotionally balanced, winds up dating a string of losers. She corrects their misquotes and blows holes in their vapid philosophies until she meets…ah go on, rent it and find out. [us, 1998]

dancer in the dark

It’s a love it or hate it film. Love it for the exceptional concept and stunning performance by Bjork. Hate it for the overly melodramatic plot and nausea-inducing hand-held camera. Love it or hate it for Bjork’s soundtrack. It’s powerful, sickening, depressing, and uplifting. Not an easy ride, but definitely worth seeing. [denmark, 2000]

crossing delancey

Amy Irving stars as Izzy, an intellectual-worshipping bookstore clerk who’s Bubby attempts to play matchmaker for her. Despite her protests that matchmaking is not part of her hip Manhattan lifestyle, Izzy agrees to meet the match, who turns out to be the charming and gentle pickle-salesman from across Delancy street. The crux of this sweet little movie is whether Izzy will finally come to her senses and recognize the difference between pompous posers and true love… [us, 1998]