14. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
“Edward Scissorhands”, a cult classic, was directed by notable director Tim Burton. It tells the life story of Edward, a strange young man who has hands made of scissors. In a secluded place, he was found by a helpful and hospitable woman and was invited to live with them, swearing to take good care of him.
The woman kept him in their good home to keep him from frightening the neighborhood, and made him look a little bit more like a normal person. Unfamiliar to the environment and living in a community, Edward is shy, careful, and kind towards the locality, but people might be taking advantage of his heart of gold and innocence.
Edward is a young man who wants to fit in and be accepted, regardless of his difference and disconnection to society. He wants to feel like he belongs, have a family, have friends, and a little bit of this and that in what he sees in the community, and he is willing to do anything to please them.
The enchanting and infamous story of “Edward Scissorhands” is one of the films that uses humanity as the real threat and problem of society, and it is also the people who create evil. It shows that one’s physical appearance does not equate to inner beauty, and that taking advantage of the good-hearted is a faulty piece of human nature.
15. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
This American comedy film directed by Jared Hess is about a socially awkward high schooler, Napoleon, and his life at school, where he is a complete loser, and at home, where it is clear how bizarre and frustrating his personal life is.
Acting listless in everything that is happening with his surroundings, Napoleon finds himself needed by the people in his life, and feels the urge to help them as he handles his personal conflicts at the same time.
Napoleon is a socially inept outcast who sees the world as a living hell. His middle-aged brother, who is still jobless and spends time online dating; his creepy uncle who flirts with every woman he sees; and his only friend who can talk to girls and be confident, while being a total misfit, are the things that make his fruitful years of growing up so topsy–turvy.
Watching him suffer and take on a chaotic journey leaves us questioning his chances of survival and victory. In reality, we expect misfits to fit in and belong to society, but Napoleon lives differently, as he is oblivious to how people see and think of him. Thus, it makes him accept himself and care less about others, making him free to his own self-expression.
16. Garden State (2004)
“Garden State” centers on Andrew Largeman, a quiet man who is beset by his problems, returning home after the death of his mother. Now a semi-successful working actor, he revisits his home and reunites with his father, with whom he had a strained relationship. His psychiatrist father led him to believe that he once caused his mother’s accident as he was growing up, and scarred his belief in himself for life, as he controls him and his actions.
The film follows Andrew as his cold-hearted persona transitions to a man who is aware and in charge of his emotions. The scars and bitter memories he had from the past hold him back as he communicates with people, and meeting a girl who is as scarred as he is turns his life upside down and leads him to see a different perspective of life, while finding and appreciating genuine happiness and freedom.
This romantic-comedy delivers a motivational and insightful story, not just about two people falling in love with each other, but two broken people helping each other to fix and appreciate themselves.
17. Cashback (2006)
This romantic-comedy film follows the adventures of Ben, an art student suffering from insomnia after a bitter break up with his girlfriend, Suzy. To keep himself busy and kill time, he works the late night shift at a local supermarket.
Due to the small number of customers during the night shift, Ben is able to practice his art; not just in school, but also at work. He kills his boredom by using his wild and artistic imagination in creating alternate situations with where and who he is working with.
Ben imagines stopping time to take a closer look at the people in the supermarket, which includes undressing women and enjoying their beauty, until it gets real. Writer and director Sean Ellis mastered the technique of leading and guided the audience to both Ben’s everyday life and also his deepest thoughts, desires, and emotions.
Ben is not a talkative and expressive person, but he lets the viewers penetrate his character with his meaningful and reflective narratives and compelling visuals, and leaves us to interpret and digest the beauty he has in his perspective and enjoy it.
18. Speak (2004)
This American independent drama, directed by Jessica Sharzer, is about a quiet 15-year-old girl named Melinda who struggles in her social life. She doesn’t have friends at school and feels uncomfortable and uneasy while talking to others; she also feels out of place at home, living with her busy and preoccupied parents.
Her schoolmates call her “squealer” and make fun of her for calling the cops at a party. No one knows why, and she does not plan to tell the reason why to anyone anytime soon.
“Speak” tackles many issues surrounding peer pressure and depression. The desire to fit in and get noticed by people is very common and usual for teenagers; it prevents us from being true to who we really are and triggers us to do something unpleasant that violates our own will.
Melinda is a victim of these matters, but she is misunderstood, and the others have their ears clogged against what she has to say. The fundamental moral lesson of the film is to, as the title says, SPEAK. Be brave, face your fears, and overcome the things that hold you back, in spite of all the pressure and doubts.
19. Harold and Maude (1971)
“Harold and Maude” is a romantic dark comedy directed by Hal Ashby, and tells the romantic and enlightening story of the main characters from whom the title was derived. It tells the story of a young man named Harold, who lives with his affluent family, who was never given the attention he wanted from his mother.
Intrigued and obsessed with death, Harold enjoys pulling off suicide pranks on a regular basis, and attends the funerals of people he does not know. This is where he meets Maude, a 79-year-old woman who lives in solitude and teaches Harold about living life to the fullest.
Harold and Maude are different people with the same feeling: loneliness. They spend their time together enjoying the feeling of sharing beautiful and fun moments with each other, which they are not used to experiencing at all.
Coming from different generations and backgrounds, they found company with each other, and both finally enjoy living. They freed each other from their unsatisfying lifestyle and existence and made each other’s’ life worth living, expressing that no one is too old or too young to enjoy happiness in its purest form.
20. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” is an American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström. It follows Gilbert Grape, played by Johnny Depp, and his simple but interesting life with his mentally unsound younger brother, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and their morbidly obese mother, played by Darlene Cates.
Gilbert works a weightless job as a store clerk, but his family is known by the whole town for being what’s considered scandalous and unconventional, causing them to live personally distant from others.
As the movie follows Gilbert as he deals with other people and takes care of his family, it feels pitiful and distressing, yet impressive. Regardless of the judgements of other people and the weight of his responsibility as a brother and a son, Gilbert remains quiet, patient, and passionate about them. He is family-oriented in that he cannot give attention to his personal life and just offers his time to them. Gilbert is an exceptional character that exemplifies the immeasurable love and commitment that should be lived as a family member.
Author Bio: Adrienna Borda is a Mass Communication student from the Philippines. Apart from her insurmountable amount of love for films, she is aspiring to direct one (or more) too. She enjoys watching weird films probably because she, too, is weird.