What makes a good indie film? A good cast. A unique, edgy plot. Good character development...and sex appeal. Well, here are six little indies that have all of those things... and if you haven't already seen them, you should.
The first one on my list, Magic Mike is the most recently made and most popular thanks to the sexy cast, which includes beefcake Channing Tatum, yummy Brit Alex Pettyfer, the perfectly chiseled Matt Bomer... oh, and the werewolf guy from True Blood. Now I know what you're thinking: "Of course a female suggests a movie about male strippers"...but this is more than just a movie about strippers. Yes...there is some stripping going on, obviously, but the majority of the film focuses on the dark, nasty underworld of the stripper life.
The movie follows Mike (Tatum) a stripper/woodworker. Mike meets simpleton Adam (Pettyfer), who he takes under his wing and introduces to the stripper kind of life. The film starts out in lighthearted fashion, but then takes a darker turn. You can't help sympathizing with Mike as he comes to realize how much he wants to escape the stripper lifestyle. At the same time, you see the downward spiral of Pettyfer's Adam as he can't resist the easy money, sex and drugs. Tatum is amazing, and Pettyfer proves he can be pretty funny. But the best is Matthew McConaughey as the disgusting, sleazy boss to Tatum's Mike.Elektra Luxx
In Elektra Luxx, a little-known indie flick, a pregnant and recently retired porn star, Elektra Luxx, played by the age-defying and gorgeous Carla Gugino, is trying to make a new start for herself by making a living teaching sex classes to housewives. When flight attendant Cora from Elektra's past approaches her with a proposition to seduce her fiancé, Elektra agrees after much hesitation and hilariously chaotic events ensue. All sorts of offbeat characters keep appearing: fiancées, private investigators, a twin sister, best-selling authors, the Virgin Mary and a hilarious cameo by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a sex blogger obsessed with Luxx.
At the same time, Luxx struggles with her own self-doubts about her self-worth and the prospects of motherhood. The film is fun and cute and full of heart...not what one would expect, but definitely worth watching on one of those "I need a feel-good-type film" nights. And check out the fake movie trailer at the end.The Velocity of Gary
The 1999 film The Velocity of Gary is about a three-way relationship between an ex-porn star Valentino, played by Vincent D'Onofrio; a Midwestern shy guy, played by The Punisher's Thomas Jane; and a wild doughnut shop waitress, Mary Carmen, played by Salma Hayek. Capturing the grungy and edgy side of the New York underground scene, this movie flashes from past to present several times, showing how the three characters first met, up to when their relationship together starts slowly changing when it's discovered that one of them is dying of AIDS.
The flashy film has an almost bohemian quality, it's fast-paced, sexy and filled with unique, kooky characters who come and go as the story moves along...even Ethan Hawke pops in for a sec in a short cameo as Nat, the tattoo artist. With a sad dose of reality and an unusual yet touching love triangle, this lively and fun somewhat older film is worth a look.Tape
Tape is one of those genius films that show you that you don't have to have a big budget or an overload of CGI to make a great story. The entire film takes place in one room and with only three characters. Starring Ethan Hawke; his wife at the time, Uma Thurman; and Robert Sean Leonard, the plot surrounds three old high school friends who reunite in a seedy motel room only to end up dissecting the painful memories of their high school years.
Hawke plays Vince, an ill-tempered drug dealer who meets with his old high school buddie Jon (Leonard), now a documentary filmmaker. When Vince secretly records their conversation with Jon admitting to a possible date rape of Vince's old girlfriend Amy, played by Thurman, who then shows up, discussions and arguments follow about whose story is true. The camera constantly jumps back and forth among these three characters, but you hardly seem to notice as your attention is caught up in the question of whether the rape really happened.Factory Girl Factory Girl
stars Sienna Miller as pop fashion icon and socialite Edie Sedgwick and centers on the time Sedgwick spent as Andy Warhol's muse during the 1960s. Warhol, played by Aussie Guy Pearce, is depicted as a cold-hearted, self-centered artist who promises to make Sedgwick a star and watches as she slowly starts to lose control of her life and sinks deeper into his world.
The film also follows Sedgwick's supposed relationship with folk singer Bob Dylan, played by the soft-spoken Hayden Christensen. Miller does a good job capturing what Sedgwick was probably like and Pearce is perfect as the eccentric Andy Warhol. The film is sad and disheartening, but it's still a must-see as it captures the trendy 1960s pop culture scene of New York.
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American Psycho is based on Bret Easton Ellis's satiric novel of the same title about a New York stockbroker, Patrick Bateman, who is...well, psycho. The film takes place in the '80s and Welsh actor Christian Bale plays the perfect all-American rich boy yuppie who is obsessed with labels, Huey Lewis and the News and having reservations at the latest trendy restaurant.
Count on trying to figure out Bateman's craziness as he describes how important the song "Hip to be Square" is to the co-worker he's about to ax. Is Bateman a serial killer or just plain nuts?