Rekindling my love for indie films, documentaries, and cult classics

Indie flicks

When I was in college, I lived a half a block away from an awesome video store (remember those?). They had a special that ran every Friday – 5 movies for 5 days for $5 . . . and they had a kick-ass selection of indie flicks. I worked in a deli a little further down the street. On my way home every Friday night, I stopped by the video store, flirted with the gorgeous clerk, and picked up my 5 movies.

I took recommendations from the college professor whose sandwiches I made, the film student I chatted with online, and pretty much anyone else who had a tendency to find more value in the hidden unknowns than the Hollywood blockbusters.

I watched (and loved) Welcome to the Dollhouse. I watched (and hated) Pink Flamingos.

My Own Private Idaho, Heathers, Rocky Horror, A Clockwork Orange, Clerks,  Run Lola Run, Drugstore Cowboy, sex, lies, and videotape . . . and on and on.

And then my video store closed down. The manager disappeared. Dropped off the face of the Earth. For a few weeks, there were speculations flying all over the place until it was finally discovered that he just had some kind of mental break and moved half-way across the country without telling a soul. With no one to manage the video store, the owner closed it . . . and not driving while living in a NJ suburb makes it difficult to find another video store, so my movie-watching died down tremendously.

Several years later, I discovered the Independent Film Channel. After my daughter went to sleep at night, I’d settle down and check out what was playing or what was On Demand. I watched Shattered Glass, My Date with Drew, Cheaters, Donnie Darko . . . and on and on.

And then I moved and I no longer had IFC. So, once again, my movie-watching died down.

With Netflix, I’ve started watching more documentaries – The Business of Being Born, For the Bible Tells Me So, Loving Lampposts, Religulous, and that’s about it because by the time the kiddo goes to bed and it’s okay for me to watching grown-up television, I usually prefer the quiet.

It’s not that I never watch (or love) big-name movies. I’m just usually not nearly as excited about them. I find most painfully boring and I don’t often have a desire to watch them. It’s also not that all indie films are fabulous. Some are absolutely awful, but I generally prefer the artistry without the big Hollywood influence.

So, in addition to writing more and reading more, I want to rekindle my love for indie films, documentaries, and cult classics. I’m thinking of doing a Movie Monday blog because well, two birds/one stone. I don’t plan to so much review movies, but to reflect on them . . . like books, movies have certainly had their place in influencing my thought processes.

I wish I’d have thought of writing out my thoughts 14 years ago when I was at the height of my indie-film-watching, but I’ll have to settle for getting started now . . . and maybe even use it as an excuse to re-watch some old favorites!

What are some of your favorite movies?

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by malia on January 10, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Wristcutters: a love story. It’s one of my favorites, and I believe it is on netflix.

    Reply

  2. Totally do a Movie Monday!!! I love any movies…but especially Indies! I really liked many of the ones you mentioned but I also loved Winter’s Bone, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno and Being John Malkovich. I prefer Indie movies because I think they are usually more interesting..I also like the weirdness 🙂

    Reply

    • Thanks, Lisa! I’m adding those to my list. . . . I caught bits and pieces of Being John Malkovich years ago – definitely weird 😛 . . . But like you, I like weirdness . . . hell, Donnie Darko is one of my all time favorites and I don’t think it gets much weirder than that! 🙂

      Reply

  3. I love “Welcome to the Dollhouse”! Been many years since I’ve seen it, though! 🙂
    I just like movies in general, of all types, pretty much…..I have TOO many favorites to list them all! LOL
    A “Movie Monday” blog would be super cool! You know I will be checking it out! I still have “For the Bible tells me so” saved on my Instant Queue to watch!

    Reply

    • It’s pretty rare to find someone else who’s see Welcome to the Dollhouse! The film student I mentioned recommended anything by Todd Solondz, but I haven’t seen anything else from him . . . might have to add some to my list!

      Let me know when you get around to watching For the Bible Tells Me So . . . I’d love your opinion 🙂

      And if you’re ever up to picking out a couple of favorites to recommend, I’ll take them!

      Reply

  4. Great post, Dayle. I’m not much of a movie person, but your perspective resonates w/ me –> the idea that in principle indie movies are more desirable than mainstream ones. Of course, like you pointed out, there are good mainstream movies and bad indie movies, but I’d prefer to take my chances on missing out on the mainstream stuff. Just like books and music. Yeah, I know there are good super popular authors and musicians, but I don’t want to get sucked into that world – that perspective – that those are my only choices. I’d rather read a no-name author average book than read ten good mainstream books. Anyway, I appreciated the perspective, and maybe I’ll have to check out some of those films. . .

    Reply

    • Thanks, Jared 🙂

      Of those I listed, Shattered Glass is probably my favorite – I think it was Stephen Glass’ brilliance as a writer . . . unethical, yes, but still brilliant 🙂 I can’t even remember what My Own Private Idaho was about, but I remember loving it. For the documentaries, if you have any interest in anything autism related, Loving Lampposts was fabulous.

      If you do watch any of these (or others), I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

      Reply

  5. Great post! I got into indie and cult films thorough my university archives. It’s such a great feeling when you first realise there is a whole world of cinema outside the multiplex. Welcome to the Dollhouse was one of my faves too, a massive influence on Napoleon Dynamite i think!

    Reply

    • Thanks! . . . I never thought of Welcome to the Dollhouse influencing Napoleon Dynamite, but now that you bring it up, I can definitely see it! . . . I’ll have to rewatch them both now!

      Reply

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