2017 came at us all very fast and it’s only halfway over. The side of you that wants to see more interesting, sophisticated films gets bogged down with, “but there’s another superhero film! If I don’t watch it, what will I tweet about!?!?” Which is understandable, that new Fast & Furious movie? You had to watch it in the theater!
Sure, you watched Get Out (the surprise mega hit that was easily one of the best films of the year – hands down) and justifiably so a METRIC TON of people saw it in the theater (if you haven’t just stop reading right now and go get the Blu-Ray). But for those of you with adult responsibilities and a shortage of time, here’s a quick list of lesser-known films that you should watch to up your indie film cred.
And if you don’t have time to watch them, we’ve supplied a Poser Pull-Quote you can throw out to your friends and co-workers to make you seem cool, even if you’re not.
It’s French, it’s obscure and the grotesque imagery sent people running from the theaters while on the festival circuit. Written and directed by auteur Julia Ducournau, RAW is about a vegetarian Freshman at animal veterinary school who undergoes a hazing ritual that ends with her developing a taste for human flesh. This film was one of the most distinctive cinematic voices to hit 2017.
Poser Pull-Quote: “The way the director blended horror, comedy and drama into one gorgeously twisted coming-of-age story really resonated with me.”
Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, who is some kind of mad genius at making films that almost dare you not to like them. America’s sweetheart, Anne Hathaway and “relatably handsome everyman,” Jason Sudeikis both play against type in what we all thought would be a quirky rom-com set against the backdrop of a kaiju monster movie (which would have been weird enough) but what turns out to be a dark-af story about alcoholism, emotional abuse, toxic masculinity and yes, a big monster and robot fighting in Korea. It was every bit as bizarre and glorious as it sounds.
Poser Pull-Quote: “Vigalondo’s had some hits and misses over the years, but Colossal’s dark underbelly pulls the rug out from a well-worn genre, just like he did with his first feature, Timecrimes.”
Makoto Shinkai is the writer/director. Say it out loud a few times. Ma-ka-to Shin-kai. You want it flow effortlessly when you drop it at the wine bar. It’s an anime (that means it’s a cartoon and it’s Japanese) about two high schoolers who don’t know each other, but end up randomly switching bodies. The story goes WAY deeper than the Freaky Friday premise as it touches on a lot of complex Japanese cultural elements that you’re probably too dense to understand. Regardless, you’ll still enjoy it because it’s a universally heart-warming story that makes Disney films seem eye-rollingly bad by comparison.
Poser Pull-Quote: “No doubt – Miyazaki’s latest film is a masterpiece, but I was more interested in Your Name. Shinkai’s ability to tell a relatable story that encompasses the entirety of the human emotional spectrum without losing the cultural grounding of both a small Japanese village and city-life threw down the proverbial gauntlet in terms of anime.”
The prospect of watching Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson and Sharlto Copley all act in the same scene should be enough for any self-respecting hipster to have watched this one in the theater, but since you clearly had better things to do you missed out. An illegal arms deal goes terribly, horribly, hilariously awry and everyone starts shooting at everyone else (often forgetting whose side they’re on). The entertainment value is inversely proportional to the depth of plot. For anyone who wants a more grounded, realistic Fast & Furious but with way better actors – this is it.
Poser Pull-Quote: “Even without fast cars or superpowers, Free Fire had more inventive action than most movies with 10X the budget. Not to mention this was the first-time meeting for three powerhouse actors! Oh, and this was Armie Hammer’s breakout role.”
For anyone who has ever had the recurring thought of “why are people so shitty?” pulsating in their mind like a ball-peen hammer on a rusty 25 gallon steel drum – this is the film for you. When a depressed nursing assistant played by the criminally under-valued Melanie Lynsky gets burgled she turns to vigilante justice with the help of Elijah Wood playing a weird, weird dude. This one is a Netflix Original and absolutely captures the modern plight of those suffering from a first-world existential crisis. It is also straight-up bizarre and lovely. Macon Blair’s (director) first feature finds that sweet spot between off-putting and endearing – a rare feat. If you’re into this one, also check out TBS’s Search Party – it has a similar vibe.
Poser Pull-Quote: “I know it’s passé to fawn over Sundance darlings, but when Netflix put out ‘I don’t feel at home in this world anymore’ I had to agree – it actually deserved that Grand Jury Prize. Melanie Lysnky should be getting MUCH bigger roles, you know!?”
First off – it’s British, so automatically classier than pretty much anything America could produce. Second – Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close are terrific in this one. The acting all over is superb, but they really bring it. ALMOST as much as Sennia Nanua who completely stole the show acting-wise from pretty much any film in 2017. She has that indescribable x-factor quality that everyone was attributing to Jacob Tremblay (another great actor), but she takes it a step further. Between that and the “Twilight Zone-esque” storyline, The Girl With All the Gifts should have been on everyone’s radar while it was at the theater (not just collecting digital dust on their Netflix queue).
Poser Pull-Quote: Between this and last year’s Train to Busan, it’ll be hard for 2017 to deliver a better movie in the post-apoc genre. I just wish Hollywood could deliver horror films with a fraction of the creative vision that Gifts had!
So, there you go! You’re all set – go forth and pretend to be more aware of some random indie flicks than you actually are!
You can tweet us your hipster favs from the first half of 2017 @Official_FAN