14. Don’s Plum (2001)
Using quite possibly the most organic and perceptive approach, Don’s Plum, directed by R.D. Robb, delves into the brazen and shameless minds of several barbaric young adults and extraordinarily flourishes despite falling desperately under the radar.
Filmed in the mid-nineties, Don’s Plum wasn’t officially released until 2001 following a dispute with the director and the film’s stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire, who evidently sought out to have the film banned from both America and Canada.
Don’s Plum revolves around a group of abrasively outspoken friends examining their drab lives at a local eatery amongst their stale dinners and cups of coffee. Set merely in a diner, the film relies heavily on its harsh dialogue and authentic character interactions. Despite most of its characters being unsympathetic and unidentifiable at times, the film’s hazy milieu and naturalist motivation make the 90 minutes a strangely alluring and entertaining viewing experience that is worth the watch.
15. Three Bewildered People in the Night (1987)
As Gregg Araki’s directorial debut, it is no surprise this secret gem from 1987 has its fair share of angst, sappy lingo and moody characters. With its scratchy audio and gritty black and white picture, Three Bewildered People in the Night is reminiscent of a middling, experiential piece from film class. However, with a titillating plot and extremely damaged yet relatable characters, it doesn’t take long to truly grasp its capacity and uniqueness.
Indie film lord Gregg Araki manages to create characters so insanely sullen and forlorn it’s nearly humorous, yet simultaneously crafting an ambiance so faultless, ethereal and visually spellbinding, all of which are elements hard to look away from.
16. The Doe Boy (2001)
Both written and directed by Randy Redroad, in addition to being loosely based on his own personal accounts, The Doe Boy revolves around Hunter, competently portrayed by James Duval, a sensitive, mix-blooded adolescent struggling for his standoffish father’s approval, in addition to combatting his own afflicting case of hemophilia. While possessing both Caucasian and Cherokee roots, Hunter struggles with further obstacles including love, family, guidance, acceptance and personal identification.
The Doe Boy possesses a truly exceptional and invigorating gaze into a culture not typically executed in independent filmmaking but undeniably reigns with its genuine acting, enthralling cinematography and powerful harmonious score.
17. White On Rice (2009)
Directed by Dave Boyle, White On Rice follows an aging former actor named Jimmy and his ludicrous mishaps while attempting to court a beautiful college student. The story bizarrely translates as a coming-of-age tale for a middle-aged man as he imprudently mooches off his sister and her family while struggling to create a structured life for himself.
The film features several comical and distinguishing characters that are neither stagnant nor one-dimensional. Its campy and unconventional humor combined with a realistic approach to oppressing family dynamics creates a responsive yet cordial tale. Despite the childish and imprudent presence the protagonist exhibits throughout the film, audiences are surprisingly charmed by his sensitivity and naiveté by the conclusion.
Ultimately, White On Rice expertly examines an Asian American family and their adversities, in addiction to everyday hardships in a very lighthearted and whimsical manner that is inevitably charming.
18. Sunset Stories (2012)
Despite its apparent focal claim, Sunset Stories is far more than solely a tale about losing baggage. Directed by Ernesto Foronda and Silas Howard, this unforeseen indie snatches the audience for an eventful and adventurous escapade throughout Los Angeles as a frazzled nurse struggles to find her stolen cooler containing bone marrow for a significant transplant. As her strenuous quest for the lost cooler progresses, various eccentric characters possessing subtle yet outrageous back-stories begin to surface, interlacing to construct a delightful and dynamic ride.
The iridescent and seemingly galactic Los Angeles dusk compliments the film’s high-spiritedness and fast pacing, and fortuitous cameos from renowned stars Jim Parsons and Kevin Bacon charismatically add to its charm. Definitively, Sunset Stories succeeds markedly at creating a liberating and frolicsome exploration for audiences to share with the film’s unforeseeably idiosyncratic characters.
19. A Coffee in Berlin (2012)
Jan Ole Gerster’s directorial debut plunges into the sweeping streets of Berlin in this madcap story of a lax young man’s mishaps around the cosmic city. Audiences are introduced to the mirthless protagonist, portrayed by Tom Schilling, and are indubitably engulfed into his peculiar circumstances and perpetual self-loathing and bad luck.
With an unfittingly optimistic score and pictorial black and white depiction, A Coffee in Berlin manages to romance the viewer with its inexplicable simplicity yet alluring sophistication while entwining both moments of sullen bleakness and intermittent sparks of dark comedy.
Though the film’s significance could conceivably be interpreted as a cup of joe fixes everything, the genuine moral is subjective and perchance merely a tale of a young man eluding himself, becoming another alienated and unavailing face in the city.
20. Giuseppe Makes A Movie (2014)
Filmmaker Adam Rifkin unmasks the pure underground art of filmmaking with Giuseppe Makes A Movie, an innovative documentary about actor, musician and filmmaker Giuseppe Andrews, capturing the stupefying process of creating one of Giuseppe’s numerous unrenowned masterpieces, Garbanzo Gas.
While appearing in various cult classics such as Detroit Rock City, American History X and Cabin Fever, Giuseppe Andrews tunnels into the visionary universe of filmmaking. Predominantly set in his own shoddy trailer park in Ventura, California with several outlandish elderly locals, Giuseppe tackles the ambitious yet galling challenge of shooting Garbanzo Gas in merely two days with only a handheld camera and diminutive thousand-dollar budget.
Acquiring moments of both absurd hilarity and heartfelt intimacy between comrades while exploiting the unequivocally candid and gritty lives of several trailer park residents, Giuseppe Make A Movie prevails at portraying the bona fide essence of independent filmmaking while delving into the mind of true sequestered genius.
Author Bio: Ashley Patricia is a film, music and literature enthusiast from Texas. She is currently a freelance writer and aspiring filmmaker.