2016 has been full of big blockbusters, though sadly they haven't given us much for memorable films in this wide world of franchises. While titles like Ghostbusters, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Batman v Superman have lessened the impact of franchise films over the year, there have been lesser known indie titles that have dazzled audiences with their original stories and captivating cinematography.
8. Swiss Army Man
If you like movies like Cast Away and Weekend at Bernie's, then you are in luck. Swiss Army Man is a strange combination of the two that is certainly one of the most unique films in years. Paul Dano plays a stranded man on the verge of ending his life when the washed up corpse of Daniel Radcliffe washes up on shore.
With no other options to hold onto his dwindling sanity, Dano befriends the corpse and the two set out on many crazy adventures. The movie can be initially off-putting due to some immature humor, but if you see it through to the end you'll be treated to an intriguing ending that is sure to be talked about for years to come.
7. The Fundamentals Of Caring
For those that only thought that Paul Rudd could do comedy movies, look no further. Sure, there are plenty of laughs, but Paul Rudd's performance is very deep and dramatic as he finds a job caring for a handicapped teenage boy named Trevor. At first, The Fundamentals of Caring seems like the typical road-trip movie, but the story is much more emotional and in depth.
The connection that you see between Trevor and Paul Rudd's Ben comes off as real. Every moment of happiness and despair is relatable and hits hard. Watching this movie will doubtlessly show you how much range that Paul Rudd has, and it even displays a surprising performance by Selena Gomez!
6. Into The Forest
When a massive power outage forces two sisters and their loving father to hole up in their forest home, things get real bad, real fast. The father has an unfortunate accident, and the two girls have no choice but to live out the disaster alone. Disaster upon disaster piles on, and each moment seems more bleak than the last.
Okay, maybe the movie doesn't come off very appealing in writing, but it is incredibly well made. The acting is fantastic and the directing style is very genuine. Every single moment is very emotional, and you can't help but feel the pain of the protagonists. This kind of connection with the characters make the hard parts hit harder, but it also makes those happy glimpses pay off even more.
5. Green Room
If you mix the struggling artist tone of Inside Llewyn Davis with the claustrophobic feel of 10 Cloverfield Lane, you'll get the punk rock thriller that is Green Room. When a punk band lands a gig for a bunch of Neo-Nazis, they stumble upon a murder scene that Patrick Stewart's Darcy wants to cover up. Covering up means no witnesses, which means that the entire band now has to fight for their lives to survive the trouble that they're in.
Green Room will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie as you see the band struggle to survive. The film is a top-notch "who will survive" story that packs great acting with an awesome soundtrack. Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart both provide amazing performances that really make the movie stand out.
4. Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater is one of the most talented directors in modern films with amazing movies like Boyhood, Before Sunrise, School of Rock, and of course Dazed and Confused. Everybody Wants Some!! is another successful addition to the list, with Dazed and Confused-esque characters and events set around an '80s college baseball team.
All of the characters in the film have their own addictive personality that you love and hate at the same time. Each dynamic member of the team has pros and cons (some more cons than pros) that affects the story in various ways. Everybody Wants Some!! feels like a movie that was made to be a classic, as it can surely stand the test of time.
3. The Lobster
Every year is full of love stories, but none have ever been told quite like The Lobster. In a semi-futuristic setting, single people are sent to a hotel where they must find a compatible mate within 45 days, or else they are transformed into an animal of their choosing. David is a recently divorced man who goes to the hotel, but when things don't go his way, he contemplates life outside the hotel.
The Lobster has a brilliantly unique directing style that manages to keep the movie interesting with the bleak situation surrounding the characters. There is never a dull moment in the film, and the ending with keep you thinking long after the credits roll.
2. The Little Prince
Animation has been a strong point of the year with titles like Zootopia and Finding Dory bringing in loads at the box-office. Even though The Little Prince didn't have the satisfaction of debuting on the silver screen, it still opened big on Netflix. The Little Prince, based off of a children's book, follows the story of a young girl who befriends her elderly neighbor. The neighbor tells her tales of the Little Prince, a young boy who came from a far-away planet.
The Little Prince is a touching movie that beautifully demonstrates the use of both computer animation and stop-motion animation. The voice cast is incredible, with talented actors like Jeff Bridges and Paul Rudd among the cast. The quality of the film can be ranked among the best in Pixar in Dreamworks, and although it's not indie, it's definitely one of the lesser-known stand-outs of the year.
1. Sing Street
Sing Street is the story of a boy named Conor who has to adjust to life at a new school. He instantly finds plenty of trouble with bullies and school regulations, but there is a bright side to his day. He meets a beautiful girl named Raphina, who introduces herself as a model. Aiming to win her affections, Conor claims to be in a band, and asks her to be in a music video. Raphina agrees, and Conor has to run off and find a band to join.
The movie brings everything I love about movies that I saw growing up. It has the troubled teen antics from classic John Hughes movies, as well as a musical focus that parallels movies like August Rush. Unlike most of the other movies on this list, Sing Street is a family movie that you can watch over and over again without ever getting tired of the catchy '80s-inspired tunes.
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- Why Netflix's 'The Little Prince' Is The Best Animated Movie Of 2016
Blockbusters are great, don't get me wrong. I can't wait to get to Doctor Strange and Rogue One, but with the abundance of franchise films that fill our theaters, it's time for more people to give attention to smaller titles. Who knows? Maybe your favorite movie is one that doesn't have a $100 million budget.