One thing you will notice about all of these films is that they are great character studies. None of these are crazy action or silly comedy films. While some of them have elements of comedy or action they are primarily dramas of one sort or another. Never the less, these are some of my favorites.
5: The Salton Sea - Let's face it, Val Kilmer has had a rocky film career. Willow, Batman Forever, The Saint, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang... One thing remains: We can't decide if we love or hate him. Well this is arguably the best film on his resume. The Salton Sea is a very dark story about a man who lost everything that was precious to him and has turned to a life of alcohol and narcotics to try to fill the void. The story is very dim at times, but it periodically has outbursts of dark humor that are quite hysterical. One of the most memorable characters is Pooh-Bear (played by Vincent D'Onofrio), a crime lord who lost his nose (before Red Skull made it cool). He has a ridiculous accent and a pet badger... need I say more? Cast also includes: Adam Goldberg, Doug Hutchison, Luis Guzman, and Peter Sarsgaard.
4: Appaloosa - Now if you are looking for a shoot-em-up western like Tombstone, or 3:10 to Yuma then this might not be the one for you. Appaloosa is an fairly authentic look at the western genre where gun fights last less than 1 minute and everyone gets shot. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen play two marshals (Virgil and Everett) who became friends after the end of the Civil War. They happen upon a town called Appaloosa where the Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) is up to no good, and they decide to stay on and help the town out. The charm of this film is found in the dialogue between Virgil and Everett. Virgil generally does all of the talking, but he ends up looking for words, and that's when Everett finishes his sentences for him. I know it might sound a bit dry, but trust me it is worth it. There is a third character that always hangs out with the two marshals, and that is Everett's 8 gauge shotgun. It's worth watching the movie just to see him use that a couple of times.
3: Troll Hunter - (Beware... there are subtitles in these woods.) Troll Hunter is fun a Norwegian monster film. I have no idea who the cast is and my keyboard doesn't have a letter in the director's last name, but it is still worth watching. The movie is an exciting indie thriller type with some incredible effects. The story is that there is a sect of the Norwegian government that keeps the secret of the trolls under wraps. They do this by keeping the trolls quarantined and neutralizing them should they escape. When along comes a few film students, they tag along with the troll hunter and the plot thickens. Trust me, this one is worth the time.
2: Safety Not Guaranteed - Colin Trevorrow (who is directing Jurassic World) did a fantastic job telling the story of a man (Mark Duplass) who allowed loss to feed a delusion. He set out to build a time machine to reclaim what was once his. But he needed another person to help him, so he put an ad in the newspaper. When a young magazine employee (Aubrey Plaza) responds to the add she finds herself trying to sift through his delusion and decide if he is psychotic or just crazy. This honest story is full of heart. It explores the areas of our hearts that seldom get looked into... rejection, loneliness, despair. In the middle of the movie by a campfire Mark Duplass plays a dulcimer and sings a tremendously beautiful song. In a story of chaos and calamity there is much hope to discover.
1: The Fountain - Brace yourself. You can watch this film any number of times and still not be sure what you've just seen. Sometime between one of his outings as Wolverine Hugh Jackman made this incredible film with Rachel Weisz. Under the direction of Darren Aronofsky this film tells three parallel-ish stories about love and loss, life and death. One of the timelines is where a Conquistador is searching for the fountain of youth for the queen of Spain. The second is where a modern scientist is experimenting on monkeys to find a cure for his wife's terminal illness. And the third story finds a man alone on a space craft heading towards the birthplace of the universe. The man in all three timelines is played by Hugh Jackman, and Rachel Weisz is also in all three timelines. How are they linked? Does each story continue where the last one left off? Is it all one big story? You decide.