5 Quirky Indie RomComs You May Have Missed

September 3, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

eagle 300x210We know you’re probably sick of (500) Days of Summer pimpage by now but until you see it, you won’t know what you’re missing.

And we know you’re also sick of people using the word ‘quirky’ to describe movies. Well suck it up because another one is coming your way in the shape of Adventureland.

If any movie is slightly funny and has a character that isn’t clad in Topshop’s finest then it gets called quirky.

The Urban Dictionary describes the word quirky as meaning ‘unconventional, surprising, odd.’ But in terms of films the word quirky takes on a life of it’s own.

A quirky character generally displays a number of typical traits such as social awkwardness, a taste in music that generally involves 60s and 70s British bands and unconventional family dynamics. We also wanted to draw your eyes to this hilarious video, it’s pretty much quirky movies 101.

But as soon as you begin to make a list of things that make a character quirky, you quickly realise that these aren’t quirks – these are just things people do. When you hold a magnifying glass to a personality and pick at things then anyone seems quirky. And no, the fault can’t entirely be laid at Juno’s feet. The terms quirky has been thrown at lots of movie and we’re willing to bet you haven’t seen a lot of them because the quirky tag also comes with the ‘indie’ tag.

Smaller scale, smaller budget and smaller studios usually produced the quirkiest movies and so we thought we’d present them to you.

Enjoy…We couldn’t think of a quirkier way to say that.

EAGLE vs SHARK

Flight Of The Conchords’ Jermaine Clement stars in this kooky romcom set in his old stomping grounds, New Zealand.

Jarrod is a computer playing, martial arts trying, dress-as-your-favourite-animal party throwing nerd. And somehow, Lily has become totally enamored with him.

We’ll tell you the truth: this is pretty much Napoleon Dynamite but with weird accents. Jarrod is all in all a bit of a nobhead; he’s arrogant and self involved, seemingly without any good reason.

These types of romcoms are pretty unrealistic: since when do nerds like Jarrod get laid?

Lily is naive and optimistic and looks at Jarrod through rose-tinted glasses. Quirky, off-beat romance ensues.

GARDEN STATE

We know this movie wasn’t exactly off the radar but we still feel that it’s not being given the proper amount of attention.

Adorable Scrubs star Zach Braff acts, writes and directs in this tale of family dysfunction and disaffected youth. Andrew Largeman returns home to New Joisey for his mother’s funeral and struggles to relate to his now widowed father.

Natalie Portman’s Sam is a compulsive liar with epilepsy while Largeman is used to being doped up on lithium when he’s not struggling to be an actor.

With a cute factor of 9, this movie’ll have you buying jumbo sized headphones and motorbikes with sidecars in no time. Another trait of quirky films are the soundtracks, consisting of fairly unknown indie bands and in this case it’s The Shins.

SAVED!

Wondering whatever happened to Macaulay Culkin? Well we found him, he’s been hiding out in indie movies.

There’s no comedy like religious comedy and this lil’ gem is high-larious. Christian schoolgirl Mary tries to de-gay her boyfriend by sleeping with him but then becomes ostracized by uber Jesus-lover Hilary-Faye (Mandy Moore).

The funny is really delivered by rebellious lone Jew in the Christian school, Cassandra, who has the hots for wheelchair bound Roland played by Macaulay.

The romance might not be as thickly spread as the comedy but it has an awesome mix of sweetness and a sick sense of humour: like Catholic schoolgirls or old people.

Here’s some of our favourite gags.

ANNIE HALL

Don’t pretend that you’re so cool and edgy that you’ve seen this all the way through. OK so maybe you have but we’re betting that there are more pretenders than there are actual fans of Woody Allen’s movie.

Allen plays Alvy Singer who’s… pretty much Woody Allen with a name change.
He’s mourning the death of his relationship with Annie (Diane Keaton) and the story flip flops through their time together.

Much like Napolean Dynamite, it’s funny but you’ll probably only laugh once.

The quirkiness is a little more old school than we’re used to nowadays but when you watch it, you realise how much influence it’s had. Annie’s wardrobe consists of slouchy men’s waistcoasts and was cool way before Kate Moss sold her soul and made them popular.

Here’s Woody trying to deal with a spider in the bath situation. Yeah, cause when you need a real man you call Woody Allen.

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS

Yes you might recognise a few of these titles but did you bother to watch them?

Master of indie films, Wes Anderson tells the story of ultimate family dysfunction as the Tenenbaum family come together for the first time in years when the patriarch, Royal (Gene Hackman) pretends to have liver cancer.

Lots of blank stares and kooky retro 70s outfits are littered around the star studded cast. It may be indie in feel but you don’t get Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, the Wilson brothers and Billy Murray without having a lil’ bit of cash.

The off-beat romance comes from a couple of places: Margot marries Raleigh though she’s in love with her adopted brother Richie, but she sleeps with Eli. Etheline marries Henry despite the fact that Royal is still in love with her.

What a whirlwind.

Don’t watch all of the movies we’ve listed back to back, you’ll begin to get annoyed at finding things funny but not laughing at them and this one is no exception. It’s effortlessly cool and has a storybook structure to it that just screams, ‘Look at me! But if you don’t want to, that’s cool. Whatever.’

Also, listen for the soothing gruff tones of Mr. Alec Baldwin as the narrator.


Emily Moulder


Get the 411 on the latest quirky queen of the cinema, Zooey Deschanel! Or find out what it would be like if Ainsley Harriett was your probation officer in Alternative Careers For TV Cooks! Go on, you know you want to.

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