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The 20 Weirdest Movies Of The 21st Century

04 August 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by Sam Silbert

weirdest movies

Since the turn of the century, Hollywood has given us fine pieces of movie-making art. We have the Leonardo Da Vincis, the Vincent Van Goghs, so on and so forth. Then, we have the other guys. The Salvador Dalis, the Pablo Picassos, the weirdists. From an angle, their work may seem abstract, obtuse, maybe even grotesque. But sometimes, you have to look harder to see what exactly Picasso is saying.

This list is dedicated to the Pablo Picassos of Hollywood, who aren’t afraid to make something many people, if not nobody, will truly understand. And for that, we thank you, David Lynchs, Lars von Triers, even the Michel Gondrys, for not being afraid to be just plain weird. Here are the weirdest movies of the millenium so far. Enjoy!

 

20. Catfish

catfish

The movie: A documentary about a photographer (Nev Schulman) setting out to find the girl he met on Facebook (Meg Faccio) with upsetting results (Meg Faccio is actually Angela Basset).

What’s weird: Not necessarily “Weird”, but a very unsettling look at the world of internet lies.

Weirdest moment: The resolution. Angela reveals all of the lies she told Nev via a package she sends him at the end of the film.

 

19. Melancholia

melancholia-movie

The movie: Melancholia is a planet that is heading directly towards earth. Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) were recently married when news broke out about the planet. They have to fight for their marriage and their sanity in the knowing face of death.

What’s weird: Kirsten Dunst steals the show with her unshakable performance. Lars von Trier writes and directs one of the most depressing movies of the 21st century.

Weirdest moment: SPOILER ALERT. The ending, where Melancholia is about to crash into earth. 

 

18. A Scanner Darkly

a-scanner-darkly-2006

The movie: Philip K. Dick’s novel about an undercover narc (Keanu Reeves) who takes effect from a new drug.

What’s weird: The entire movie is in a rotoscope animation fashion, making it a strange, yet compelling arthouse flick.

Weirdest moment: Reeves wears a “Scramble Suit” which continually morphs and blurs his body to protect his identity.

 

17. The Machinist

the-machinist-2004-1

The movie: Christian Bale plays an insomniac factory worker in one of his most intense and dedicated roles to date.

What’s weird: Christian Bale lost 60 pounds to play the role, then gained another 70 to play Batman in Batman Begins.

Weirdest moment: No exact moment in particular, just seeing Bale without his shirt on is messed up enough as it is.

 

16. Cashback

Cashback_Stills

The movie: Ben, a young insomnia-stricken man takes a job in a local supermarket. With only his imagination to keep him entertained, he discovers that he has the ability to literally stop time.

What’s weird: The surreality of the whole aspect of stopping time isn’t weird, but very oddly compelling in a way.

Weirdest moment: Once again, no moment in particular. Director Sean Ellis’s film is full of beautifully weird moments.

 

15. Oldboy

oldboy pic

The movie: A man is locked in a prison cell for reasons unknown for 15 years. In jail he learns that his wife has been killed. When he is released, he is given a phone and a sum of cash, and proceeds to find out what exactly is happening.

What’s weird: Honestly, if it wasn’t for the brutal violence, Oldboy would be a great action film with its brilliant storyline.

Weirdest moment: The main character hammers his way through a hallway of villains in a jaw-dropping single take.

 

14. The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence

human-centipede-2

The movie: Staging the events that happened in the first movie were literally nothing more than a movie, a troubled loner sets out to create his own human centipede with 12 people using homemade surgical equipment, most notably a rusty stapler.

What’s weird: Almost no dialogue is spoken through the entire movie. The black and white adds to a very gritty realism.

Weirdest moment: Barbed wire rape, baby head-crushing, you name it.

 

13. Donnie Darko

donnie-darko-2001

The movie: Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a troubled student who is visited by a 6-foot tall man wearing a rabbit costume named Frank. One night, Frank shows Donnie that in less than a month, the world will end.

What’s weird: Richard Kelly’s debut film is beautiful and bizarre. The audience hopes to solve questions asked by the film, but by the time the curtains close, we have more questions than answers.

Weirdest moment: A jet engine crashes into Donnie’s bedroom.

 

12. Teeth

2007_teeth

The movie: Good girl student Dawn gets closer to her guy friend, but the only thing that tries to hold her back from any sexual relationship is a little body problem.

What’s weird: She has teeth in her vagina.

Weirdest moment: Basically any sex scene, as you can kind of tell…

 

11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The movie: Michel Gondry’s critically acclaimed collaboration with Charlie Kaufman about a man named Joel (Jim Carrey) who is heartbroken to find out that his girlfriend (Kate Winslet) has gone through a procedure that deleted every memory of him from her mind, so he decides to do the same. In the process, he realizes that he still loves her, and will do anything to keep his memories of her.

What’s weird: The trippy visuals and directing style make for a movie that’s more confusing and complex than Inception.

Weirdest moment: Joel is shrunken down to half his size in a memory about his childhood.

 

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  • McGygas

    Where the hell its Cloud Atlas?

    • Nancy Smith Weintraub

      even I know where cloud Astlas is but I’m not tellinB-)P

  • Randal Thomas Richardson

    I love how the movie descriptions are grossly inaccurate. Did you watch Melacholia? Did you even watch Mulholland Dr? A woman killed in a car accident? You havent seen the movie.

    • Sam Silbert

      Nope, that pretty much exactly how Melancholia goes, and my dad told me about Mulholland Drive and told me to put it on. Sorry. Thought I did a pretty good job with everything else.

  • Terry Shannon

    “John Dies in the End”. Doesn’t get much weirder.

  • Kim Kelly

    Don’t worry about Mulholland Drive. Your synopsis was hardly a spoiler. There’s a few theories about what is real or fantasy in the film I could share, but it’s better for your readers to just watch it and enjoy the ride!

  • Alex Nasaudean

    Bubba Ho-Tep?

  • OM

    964 Pinocchio

  • Red Lagoon

    Inception was complex? lol

    • DL

      If you fell asleep in the middle, sure… ;)

  • Ted Wolf

    I agree, John Dies At The End was one of the strangest of all time. Also, Berberian Sound Studios was one strange trip. And how about The ABC’s of Death?

  • Guestar

    Upstream Color is way weirder than Primer…Just saying.

    • Jack Lewis

      Debatable, Primer is more complex and convoluted. It is easy to lose track of the plot. Upstream color was simpler to follow but was open to more interpretations. I would say that Upstream Color is the better film.

      • JohnB

        Weird and Complex are the same thing?? Upstream was a lot weirder (shared memories, organics responding to sound, etc) and that’s what the title of the article suggests. Weird is strange things you don’t see everyday…Complex is things that make you think.

        • Jack Lewis

          If you give it a bit more thought you may actually find a relationship between weirdness and complexity. Weird is often used to demarcate a lack of understanding of how something works. The increased complexity of a thing makes it more likely to be perceived as weird by those who have trouble understanding it.
          You will call something complex when you see the mechanisms at play but if there are enough of them that you can’t really see how the whole thing operates. the thing will just seem weird coz you can’t see the parts anymore. This depends on the observer. That’s also related to how some people look at life and think it’s weird and then call religion as some blanket answer while others see the biological process and the complexity at work.

          To me Upstream Color was fairly straight forward, I never felt lost in it compared to Primer. I’ve seen sites dissecting the timelines of Primer and it’s not even clear that it actually resolves correctly.
          Being a long time Lynch fan my tolerance for weird is a bit high..

          • JohnB

            i understand your reasoning to a certain extent but you have to admit theres a distance between Being John Malkovich weird and Inception complex.

          • Jack Lewis

            For sure, they are not the same thing. I won’t go that far.
            Inception was a good movie, but the basic premise was pretty easy to follow (it’s complexity was a bit over-hyped). The one thing that bugged me is that it seemed completely unrelated to the actual experience of dreaming where things like settings, characters and the situation are in constant state of flux. Not to keep talking about Lynch, but some of his movies truly capture dream like qualities on film like no one else. Dreams are clearly close to weird than complex and inception is clearly the other way around.

          • JohnB

            i was just using Inception as an example and youre right they did miss an opportunity with the flux dreamscapes but I can also see why he didn’t do that as well. Also you could say that the architect was keeping things together so things wernt constantly changing in the dream. Things like the train coming out of nowhere, the hallway fight and the staircase were very dreamlike though and we hadn’t seen stuff like that before. I’d really like to see that flux dream effect though now that you brought it up. Edgar Wright kind of did it in Scott Pilgrim and Gondry did it excellently in Eternal Sunshine.

          • Jack Lewis

            I’m with you on all counts. Also Nolan himself while a great director would not be the guy to convey dreams on the big screen except for a few scenes. He is very left brain/rational/cold in his film making, Gondry ,for sure, did an amazing job at this with Eternal Sunshine (and a few Bjork videos before that, have you seen “Bachelorette”)?

          • JohnB

            and yes. being a Lynch fan will boost your tolerance for weird hahaha.

          • LH

            Have you seen any Jodorowsky film? Watch them.

          • Jack Lewis

            It’s on ,my to do list for sure.

  • Charles

    “When the jet engine crashes into Donnie’s room.” Which time?

  • Tabby Bane

    They never fought for their marriage in Melancholia they ended their marriage the same day they got married. Still depressing as hell.

  • Jérôme Blanchet

    I would replace Donnie Darko by Jodorowsky’s El topo and The holy mountain. Donnie Darko may be some kind of modern cult film, but i does not believe we will still talk about it in fifty years. this is my constructive critics :-)

    • Hugo Herrera

      21 century. Jodorowsky’s films are from the 20th century

      • LH

        Except The Dance of Reality, his new film.

  • عبده

    They never see Erase head

    • Tito Piccolo

      Haven’t seen that one, maybe you mean Eraserhead.

    • Pavel Dumitrescu

      It’s not from the 21st century

  • Walter

    OXV: The Manual a.k.a Frequencies. Anyone?

  • Arsenio Ricaurte Samaniego

    I would have listed A Serbian Film as number 1.

    • Camilla Deadwood

      I love that film. But I do not find myself banging my head trying to figure out what exactly happened. Wasn’t really ‘weird’. Just saying.

      • Arsenio Ricaurte Samaniego

        Not weird but disturbing…lol…

  • JohnB

    I hate that Christian Bales performance/weight loss is plastered on every list that has to do with “preparing for a role, ways they went out of their way for a role, actors that almost killed themselves” but putting it on this list is just dumb. The movie wasn’t weird at all. it was dramatic and heartbreaking yes. and it does take a lot to lose that weight (kudos to Bale) but give it a rest already. His weight is talked about more than his performance and said weight was only put on display in one scene which he hardly acted in.

    Bale in Machinist and Ledger in Dark Knight find their way on to just about every list made it seems.

  • LanaDelGrace

    No Trainspotting. Oh well.

    • Colicub

      Fuck’s sake – not weird, not 21st century.

  • Shubhendu Singh

    I still dont know what the hell was Mulholland Drive.

  • K.

    very desappointed to know all the films and some are not even weird. requiem is not weird, the machinist is not weird and so so on. maybe beyond the black rainbow? great influences not-so-great film but might appreciate it.
    Also the only thing weird in irreversible is the fact that the story was told in reverse, it’s a basic rape-revenge story, not weird.

  • Tito Piccolo

    No, just no.

  • Barbora Hubena

    Any movie by Alejandro Jodorowsky – pretty weird!

  • Pavel Dumitrescu

    Dogtooth?

    • Joel Zachariah

      yes … i havent seen a weirder movie !!

    • debankan sen

      quite the choice mate..the filmmaker created a totally different world within the movie…so weird

  • Yun

    Dogtooth ? Uncle Boonmee ? Paprika ? Goodbye, Dragon Inn ? My Winnipeg ? It’s Such a Beautiful Day ? Only God Forgives ? The Limits of Control ? Tejút ?… and Waking Life is way weirder than A Scanner Darkly.

    • Joel Zachariah

      i dont see much people who appreciate Uncle Boomee … strange and worthy mention it is

  • Joey Muñoz

    Is incest a part of the Korean version of Old Boy? Because the remake had it and let me tell you, it was weird, as hell.

    • kissy

      Yes

      • Joey Muñoz

        That has me messed up for a few days.

  • Vanessa Hernandez

    How did Anna Karenina not make this list? It is by far one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen! Artistic, yet utterly confusing. Also, The ABC’s of Death.

  • Jorge Valderrama

    Falta “jacob´s leather”

  • Colicub

    Detention, Where The Dead Go To Die, We Are The Strange, The Taint, Kotoko?

    • Joel Zachariah

      no offense … the taint was crap

  • Olly Blew

    Who’s That Girl? is awfully weird…

  • http://chandrayeethemovieenthusiast.blogspot.in/ Chandrayee Chatterjee

    Hi! I am hoping someone would make me understand what mulholland drive is about. I have watched in 6 times in a period of five years i think and i am still baffled by it, so please any help will be appreciated!!

    • Joel Zachariah

      ambiguous plot it is … interpret however you want it … that is what ultimately Lynch wanted the viewers to do …. I am satisfied in believing the climax would be situated in an alternate parallel universe

  • Alex DeTillio

    Solid list. Enter The Void ruined my summer 5 or 6 years ago. I watched it in my bed with a female room mate in an old, mold filled house in the dead heat, non-air conditioned summer. It was terrible. We didn’t speak for a couple days after and I haven’t watched it since.

  • Hatesville

    Mullholland Drive is 21st century since when?

  • Unkle Amon

    Nice list. I would add Gozu, Dogtooth, and Kill list

  • Sheryl JoHanna Skalandis

    I would add Songs From the Second Floor and City of Lost Children

  • tommy amoeba

    beyond the black rainbow needs to be on this list, as do the fountain, american splendor, adaptation and the life aquatic. one could also make a case for mel gibson’s post-meltdown curiosity the beaver.

  • DL

    Never understood why people think it’s a spoiler to know that the world gets destroyed in Melancholia. It literally starts with an overture that shows key moments from the film, including how it ends. You’re *meant* to know – that way the Viewer can share the sense of hopeless dread knowing exactly how this is all going to end, just like the characters (Dunst, then later Gainsbourg when she starts to accept it’s inevitable. That sense of crushing finality stayed with me for weeks after I first saw the movie – tellingly, those that I’ve spoken to that didn’t realise what the opening was didn’t have nearly the same emotional reaction.

  • Ricardo Filipe Matos

    It’s a nice list. Upstream Color and Uncle Boonmee, I agree with some of the comments, could be in here. I think Under the Skin and a Field in England should be more appreciated, not only for their wierdness, but also because they are two of the most rewarding cinematic experience these last couple years. Hey, and don’t forget the mindblowing cinema of Takashi Miike!

  • Mina Derpina

    The weirdest moment (as you call it) from Enter the Void (2009) has already been used (pun intended) by Koen Mortier in his 2007 movie, Ex Drummer (another weird movie).

  • giallopudding

    I don’t know….after viewing thousands of films, Eraserhead still holds a top spot in the weird shit part of my brain.

  • Agustín Lorenzo

    What about Southland Tales?