Here at The Trinitonian, we employ various writers that are experts in various fields: I specialize in low-brow, asinine pieces written to elicit nothing but disgust. This week, I’m leaving the downhill spiral of the toilet and walking into the theater of artsy, existential waxing of the indie movie scene. These films are more mundane and, sometimes, just weirder; though they can be more personal and relatable – it’ll elicit raw, visceral of emotions, both the good and the bad. Aside from the trippy arthouse films, the rest of the indie movie scene provides a more thought-provoking and nourishing experience than a day at your local AMC.
For those not familiar with the indie movie scene, these (usually) low budget films are made by the cast and crew involved then premiered at various film festivals (Sundance, South by Southwest, Cannes) then are picked up by publishers for limited release. Indie flicks get wider releases as interest picks up, or they flop horribly and the widest release they ever see is 10 theaters.
The best movies of 2012 have already been released and you don’t even know about them.
Not every movie in this list is a documentary but each and every one of them documents the challenges and joys and the utter strangeness that is life.
“Safety Not Guaranteed” (Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass)
It all starts with a classified ad in search of someone willing to partner up to time travel. The ad says he’s only done this once before and he doesn’t guarantee the safety of whoever accepts the offer. This off-kilter comedy is funny but also has a lot of heart.
“Indie Game: The Movie” (Phil Fish, Jonathan Blow)
Creating a documentary about video games may seem like an easy way to make something exciting into something not exciting. The personalities behind small indie games are eccentric yet so engaging. The passion and intellect in each game and person will move you, regardless if you play or not.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Quvenzhane Wallis)
When the credits rolled at the Sundance premiere, cellphone screens didn’t turn on and no one stood up except for a rare show of respect – a standing ovation. The movie is about a six-year-old girl and her dad living in a southern location in Louisiana called The Bathtub in a post-apocalyptic future. Hushpuppy, the little girl, learns about lofty ideas like mortality and inner strength.
“The Imposter” (Frederic Bourdin, Carey Gibson)
The Imposter is a documentary that shows that life can be stranger than fiction. It’s set in a little town named San Antonio where a couple’s 13-year-old son disappears. After four years, he magically reappears but soon they realize their joy blinded them to the fact that it wasn’t their son but an imposter. It sounds like an odd premise but this documentary feels like a thriller with an intricate plot unraveling before you that’ll leave you dazed and confused.
“At Any Price” (Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid)
As someone who has seen “The Parent Trap” and “17 Again” more times than I care to admit, I am excited for this movie starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron as a father and son who own a farm in Iowa. This movie deals with the incongruity of families and the issues facing farmers. It might actually see a wider release because of the two stars, but regardless if this movie gains traction outside of cinephiles, you should go find it and watch it (and the rest of the movies here).
John Mendiola is the Web Master and an Arts & Entertainment Reporter for the Trinitonian. He is a senior computer science and communication major from Houston, Texas (though originally Manila, Philippines). This is his 4th year working for the newspaper.