Independent films can often be thought-provoking and jam-packed with heavy emotions, but for sheer entertainment value, how about this list of 10 great indie movies to watch. Yes, there's some food for thought and emotional involvement among these excellent indie films, but they're also just fun to enjoy on a Friday night. If you missed any of these great indie movies, or you haven't seen them since they first came out, give them a try this weekend.
- "Pulp Fiction." While "Reservoir Dogs" may have been Quentin Tarantino's first indie masterpiece, "Pulp Fiction" is the movie that made outside-the-mainstream movies really cool again. It's talky, disjointed and full of stars having a ball delivering dialogue in such a smart and entertaining movie.
- "Run Lola Run." This German independent feature finds Lola (Franka Potente) in three storylines racing to come up with 100,000 Deutsche Marks that her boyfriend owes a bad guy. The 1998 movie is fast-paced, clever and very watchable.
- "El Mariachi." Robert Rodriguez, on a shoestring budget, serves up an action-packed movie about a man mistaken for a killer and the efforts he takes to stay alive. Rodriguez, with a little more money, continued the trilogy years later with Antonio Banderas in the role of El Mariachi in "Desperado" and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."
- "Mad Max." Director George Romero gave up a medical career to make a weird, but totally cool movie about cars in the future with a young and mostly silent Mel Gibson. The movie spawned two sequels, including the best of the bunch, "The Road Warrior." But this first look at what made Max so mad is still a great glance back at movie history.
- "Swingers." Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn team up in a movie directed by Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith") that features great one-liners, lots of martinis, swing dancing, casino ineptitude and a groan-inducing answering machine sequence that shows off the great comic timing of Favreau.
- "Lost in Translation." Sofia Coppola wrote and directed this wonderful little film featuring Bill Murray as an aging movie star, and a young knockout Scarlett Johansson having an odd little adventure in Tokyo. It's definitely worth seeing if you've hesitated viewing it in the past.
- "Evil Dead." While "Evil Dead 2" may be the better film, this original was made for very little money by guys who knew very little about making movies. The fun is in watching how these amateurs made a classic in their genre and seeing how many of their camera tricks and ideas wound up in subsequent films by the generation of filmmakers who followed.
- "She's Gotta Have It." Spike Lee made his mark with this indie gem about a girl who juggles three different boyfriends who each provide her with unique emotional or sexual satisfaction. The movie was made on a shoestring, and often that shows. But knowing where Lee's career led after this debut, it's still fun to see where it all started.
- "Blood Simple." The Coen Brothers' first indie-masterpiece finds a private detective caught up in a case that is way over his head. This amazing film features some ruthless characters and some brilliant camera work by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfield, who went on to direct the "Men in Black" films and other big hits.
- "Clerks." Kevin Smith's talky, foul-mouthed and hilarious characters provide some ribald entertainment in the movie that helped launch his career and a spate of indie knock-offs that hoped to find Smith's irreverent blend of comedy and revealing moments of humanity in the everyday lives of everyday people.
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You're not off the hook: This list includes dessert.