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5 great independent movies anyone will love
Agata Trzebuchowska in Ida (2013) - photo by Travis Poppleton
I was chatting with Celeste Rosenlof a few weeks ago when she asked if Id ever considered writing articles about great independent movies.

In truth, I had. And in fact, a few times Id even sat down to draft such an article, but as soon as Id start tapitty tapping at the keyboard, one nagging doubt always got the best of me No one will read an article about indie films.

For writers, obviously audience numbers equal revenue, so said nagging doubt was sort of a checkmate for me until Rosenlof offered up a suggestion. While I dont remember the exact phrase, in a nutshell she said something to the effect of, Well, write it anyway.

Pretty genius, yes?

So here we are, hopefully staring at the first of many articles concerning smaller, beautiful films that deserve more attention than theyre currently awarded. And as our first look, lets cast a wider net than just whats in theaters now and include renting and streaming options you may have missed in the past.

And also, before we get started, let me throw out two quick disclaimers:

1 The content for these selections are all over the place, so while Ill try to give the best warnings I can, know that many of these films would easily earn an R rating.

2 When I say movies anyone will love, I dont mean each movie on the list will be universally appreciated. Instead, I mean, collectively the movies offer a wide enough selection to have something for everyone.

An Honest Liar

This is the movie responsible for the article. Rosenlof recommended this movie to me in our previously mentioned conversation, and while I wont be seeing it until this weekend, the trailers for An Honest Liar look incredible. That said, if you go see it and hate it, address all hate mail care of Celeste Rosenlof.

An Honest Liar is a documentary spotlighting the wildly interesting James Randi, a man responsible for debunking some of the worlds most famous psychics and faith healers. Roping in opinions from other renowned skeptics like Penn Jillette and Adam Savage, the doc promises a few tricks of its own, which audiences and critics alike have raved about.


Ida received a lot of attention recently when it took home the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

As a big fan of movies like Audrey Hepburns The Nuns Story and the Coens' A Serious Man, Ida really resonated with me, but I do feel I should offer this warning. You know in movies and even occasionally in cartoons where someones watching a French movie and that French movie is black and white, no camera movement, and its almost completely silent before an actor says something like, ben oui. This is absolutely that movie, even though its actually Polish and not French.

But lets be honest, everyone needs to watch at least one of those movies in their lifetime, and Ida is so simple, so beautiful, and leaves you with so much to think about after the closing credits, I dont hesitate in telling you this is the one you should check out. Also, its streaming on both Netflix and Amazon right now, so if youre a subscriber theres no need to risk the cost of a rental fee.

While Ida is PG-13, it easily couldve received an R rating. Theres drugs and alcohol, nudity, sexual situations and probably a few other things Im not remembering.


Movie critic and fellow Flix Junky John Clyde loves talking about Bernie, and who can blame him?

Following the true, and somewhat bizarre story of a murdering mortician and the town that loved him, Bernie is a great little performance piece that showcases the talents of Jack Black, Mathew McConaughey and Shirley McClaine.

As far as content goes, unlike Ida, Bernie received an R rating where a PG-13 seemed more appropriate. Bernie is available currently streaming on NetFlix.


One of my personal favorites of 2014, Boyhood followed the same actors from 2002 to 2013, occasionally shooting moments important to the protagonists childhood.

This movie is engaging on so many levels, but is most often referred to because of its real-time approach to filmmaking. There is one scene towards the end where Ethan Hawk and Patricia Arquettes characters discuss how quickly Ellar Coltrane had gone from being a little boy to high school graduate, forcing a surreal experience on audience members who consider no acting was required in that exchange.

Boyhood is rated R and would require either a RedBox rental or a digital download from places like iTunes or VUDU.

Ernest and Celestine

One of the original Sundance Kids submissions, Ernest and Celestine is a great little reminder that not all independent movies are bizarre, intellectual dramas aimed at adults.

The film brought home an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and has received major accolades from critics and fans alike. Following the Gabrielle Vincent books with the same name, the movie follows the unlikely friendship of a bear named Earnest and the young mouse Celestine.

The film is rated PG and is currently streaming on both Netflix and Amazon Prime.