References, quotes, and entire cultural trends have been attributed to many classic films. But which classic films should you have at the top of the list if you haven’t seen them yet? Well, here is a list of ten indie movies that you should have already seen.
The film, Heathers, is often considered one of the classic 1980s movies. Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen Doherty play high school characters that would definitely put the popular group from the Mean Girls (another movie that was turned into a musical) to shame. The storyline gets pretty wild as the clique of cool girls, who are all named Heather, acquire targets on their backs from Christian Slater and Winona Ryder’s characters who plot to kill. It’s an insanely good film that you should definitely watch. The movie is even available on Netflix for streaming if you haven’t seen it yet.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
You can’t think of the 80’s without thinking about The Breakfast Club. It’s another classic film features Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, and Judd Nelson as five high school students who have to spend a Saturday detention session together. If you want to understand a quarter of the references that came out of the 80s, then you need to watch this film.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is based on a novel of the same name, with a story that is actually placed in the 90s. It follows an emotionally unstable Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, through his first high school year. He ends up befriending Sam (Emma Watson) and her half-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller) who teach Charlie how to forget his troubles for a while. I absolutely adore the movie and the book, and love the amazing music and the deep messages about friendship and love that arise as we follow the development of each of the characters.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This is another classic film that you definitely should have watched or at least have added to your list. Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans, Jennifer Connelly, and Ellen Burstyn, all star in, Requiem for a Dream, a film that dives deep into the inner landscape of human beings longing to connect and to love and be loved. The movie follows the characters’ parallel stories linked by Sara Goldfarb and her son, and leaves anyone who has ever thought about trying drugs swearing off ever doing so. It’s a dark movie, but it’s one that should be watched.
Oddly enough, the movie, Thirteen, was released right before I turned 13 years old. Every adult I knew who had watched the movie at the time secretly feared for their lives after seeing honor student Tracy Freeland (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) devolve into a giant mess that included drugs, sex, and crime. It’s another wild story that will leave you secretly scared for your child to turn thirteen.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko is another dark classic that will whisk you through plot twists and mystery as you try to unravel and make sense of a list of ambiguous events. The movie takes place during the presidential election of 1988 as we follow Donnie Darko, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, receive a doomsday message from a demonic-looking rabbit named Frank. The slightly disturbing yet amazing sci-fi film is a star-studded film that includes Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Maggie Gyllanhaal, Patrick Swayze, and Mary McDonnell.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The Virgin Suicides is based on the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. Sophia Coppola directed the film about The Lisbon daughters who were raised Catholic and forbidden to partake in many of the “sinful” things that other teens do. The story escalates after 14-year-old Lux stays away a whole night and, as punishment, the sisters are forbidden to leave the house. Depression soon sets in amongst the girls until someone decides to make a tragic decision.
500 Days of Summer (2009)
I realize that I personally loved 500 Days of Summer when it came out for it’s subtle nod towards the architecture in Los Angeles. I fell in love with the scene where Tom, played by Joseph-Gorden Levitt, romantically draws LA’s skyline on the arm of Summer, played by Zoey Dechanel. I even sat on the bench that at the The Angels Knoll Park above the Angels Flight funicular which is now closed. However, the movie primarily follows Summer and Tom, as they fall in love and spend a few romantic months together before things start to fall apart. You end up learning about relationships and how people grow and evolve while in them.
Memento is slightly disturbing, fascinating, and leaves you gasping throughout the entire film as the story moves forward—or backward. Half of the psychological thriller is black-and-white and shown chronologically, while the other half is colored and shown in reverse order, but you finally put everything together in the end when both plot lines are combined. I think it’s a smart movie and I suggest that you watch it now if you haven’t already watched this.
I’m a sucker for quick and witty humor (à la Gilmore Girls), and this movie, staring Ellen Page and Michael Cera, definitely has it. Juno transforms the hard topic of teenage pregnancy into a funny and sweet experience. You’re left laughing, crying, and with a warm feeling. You definitely should have already watched this film, but if you haven’t, then you need to get to it.