16. The Brother from Another Planet (1984) (Watch on Netflix)
Joe Morton stars in John Sayles legendary racial and social satire of an alien hiding out in Harlem, being mistaken for a homeless man. Being mute, he is unable to speak and has a series of encounters with earthlings who see him nothing other than a black man. With only three large toes on his feet to distinguish himself, his encounters are funny and satirically pointed towards the idea of immigrant assimilation. With two “men in black” on his trail, this film becomes an entertaining and thought provoking comedy.
17. Happy Accidents (2000) (Watch on Netflix)
Marisa Tomei and the always-watchable Vincent D’Onofrio star in this great off beat romantic dramedy. Marisa has had a string of failed romances, when she falls for the sweet and somewhat strange D’Onofrio it’s too good to be true. Then he tells her he’s actually a time traveller from the year 2470. It keeps going from there but maintains a very strong confidence in its strange idea. It’s the talent of D’Onofrio and Tomei that elevate this, as well as the talented direction of Brad Anderson (The Machinist).
18. Bellflower (2011) (Watch on Netflix)
This one is a little tough but still and extremely impressive first time out for writer/ director Evan Glodell. It’s not the most fluid of storytelling but its made with such visual and emotional fervor; you will enjoy watching a filmmaker really make his mark. It’s a sensory overload of a love story thanks mostly to the imaginative cinematography and the frankensteine’d one of a kind cameras created by the director. Anyone looking for a great example of instinctual filmmaking passion on screen…look no further.
19. Smoke Signals (1998) (Watch on Netflix)
The noted writer Sherman Alexie wrote this story of two Native American friends navigating their conflicted relationships with family. It shows a great deal about coming to terms with ones origins and letting go of old hardened feelings. They way it shows reservation life for the Native Americans without making it the main focus of the story was very impactful and removed itself from the possibility of being preachy.
It’s an honest story about the conflicts between family generations and friends. Often criticized for hot standing up to the book (what book adaptation does) it still stands as a landmark in indie films.
20. Big Night (1996) (Watch on Netflix)
It’s Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci as brother restaurant owners…with Isabella Rossellini and Ian Holm. They race to prepare a meal for at a great Italian Primer singer who is supposedly coming to eat there. Hijinks ensue. Have you started watching yet? No… And what are you waiting for what exactly? Go now. Thank me later.