Weird is wonderful. Mainstream movies have a tendency to play it safe which makes them entirely predictable and boring. Not all of them, of course, but most of the huge budget studio movies made today are built around spectacle, not substance. People love to see shit blow up. How else do you explain the success of the Fast and Furious franchise?
While others head to the theater to see the same thing over and over again, you can settle in at home and watch some truly original stuff on Netflix. I love discovering misfit movies that fly under the radar and I've got some picked out that fit that description and some other films you've probably heard of, but may not have seen yet. So feast your eyes on the weirdness, and check out these films this weekend.
1. Okja (2017)
Starring: Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Jake Gyllenhaal
From Snowpiercer writer/director Bong Joon-ho, Okja is a pretty straightforward quest film with lots of weird characters and one amazing weird animal: Okja the superpig. Set in an alternate present, Okja begins with a prologue explaining the mission of the Mirando Corporation: To feed the world with the help of genetically modified "superpigs," which are essentially pig/hippo hybrids that act like dogs. A small number of superpigs are sent to farmers all over the globe to discover the best way to raise them and Okja, raised by a South Korean farmer and his granddaughter, Mija, turns out to be the prime piggy. Mija and Okja are the best of friends, but Mija doesn't know the Mirando Corp. will come retrieve its property after 10 years. The film picks up there as Okja is taken to America and Mija follows her on a wild and amazing journey to bring her back home.
2. Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei, David Krumholtz, Kevin Corrigan, Jessica Walter, Carl Reiner
One of the great unheralded comedies of the '90s, Slums of Beverly Hills stars Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) as 14-year-old Vivian Abromowitz, friendly, optimistic and entirely obsessed with sex. She and her father and brothers float from apartment to apartment in Beverly Hills so the kids can attend good schools, but problems keep arising. Vivian also has to babysit her older cousin (Tomei), who helps her come to grips with her burgeoning sexuality but plenty of questions remain. It's hard not to fall for the strange tone and sense of humor of this precursor to more successful dramatic comedies like Little Miss Sunshine.
3. Too Late (2016)
Starring: John Hawkes, Crystal Reed, Jeff Fahey, Robert Forster, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Rider Strong, Natalie Zea
American director Dennis Hauck's debut feature is probably best reserved for real film buffs. This is largely due to the movie's slow-pace as it's methodically constructed of five unbroken 22-minute takes. If you can calm the ADD for 107 minutes, you'll find a distinctive film awash in the grime of neo-noir. Fans of the great John Hawkes will not be disappointed as the veteran actor commands every scene he's in as a private investigator on the trail of a missing prostitute who needed his help. You can tell by the below poster campaign that this isn't your run-of-the-mill movie.
4. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzmán, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Robert Smigel
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's version of a romantic-comedy is different than most. His hero is a shy hermit named Barry Egan (Sandler) with rage issues who randomly finds love and a piano on the same day. He also has five insane sisters who relentlessly tease and mock him. At dinner, he smashes a glass slider when he can't take their insults anymore. Life is hard and getting harder as Barry tries out a phone sex service only to become the victim of a hilarious extortion plot. But finding the piano, and then meeting Lena Leonard (Watson), may change his life forever.
5. Frank (2014)
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, François Civil
Set in small-town Ireland, Frank stars Gleeson as Jon, a musician who's invited to join a peculiar band whose lead singer always wears a giant paper-mâché head. Always. This is Frank. Frank might be a musical genius, but his bizarre behavior places he and his band firmly on the margins. Jon, unbeknownst to the rest of the band, posts their secret sessions online and they develop a following. What ensues is madness as Frank meets the public and the band conspires to hate Jon with fervor. They all end up at South by Southwest where fame awaits... or evaporates.