How do you define a hipster movie? Or simply put — what’s a ”cool” movie? In my opinion, hipster flicks are films that are about eccentric characters. Also, if the film is intellectually stimulating or weirdly funny, it is given that hipsters would love it. But here’s the most important criteria: the film should make them feel that it is “cool” to be “different” or “weird”. With that said, let’s jump right into the list of the coolest movies ever made. You can stream some of these best hipster movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
The whole idea of two stylish, sophisticated ancient vampire lovers trying to find their place in this world in itself is very cool. And Jim Jarmusch uses the idea to craft one of the coolest romances you’ll ever see on screen. Eve and Adam are outcasts, quite literally. They aren’t humans; they’re vampires who do not belong to this place or time. They struggle to fit themselves in the modern society and contemplate their own relationship. Like all of Jarmusch’s films, it has a bizarrely funny tone that may seem strange to you at first but gradually pulls you to the world he’s so beautifully created. Both Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are phenomenal in the lead roles and their onscreen chemistry gives the film that hipster touch.
11. Dead Man (1995)
To say that this film was bizarre and absurd would be an understatement. I’m still not sure why it remains so underrated among ”hipsters” and cinephiles in general. There is no ”cool” character in the film, but it’s the attitude and overall tone of the film that just takes the meaning of the word cool to a different level altogether. The movie is about a man who is on the run after murdering an accountant. Now what’s so special about this? You may ask. But the film is far more than its plot. Jim Jarmusch gives the film a different vibe, with the monochrome cinematography and eerily hilarious soundtrack adding to the eccentricity.
Johnny Depp does a wonderful job in the lead role, but for me, it is Gary Farmer’s portrayal of Nobody that stands out. As a kind, enigmatic North American man, Farmer is exceptional in the role, displaying a wide range of emotions in the subtlest of ways. Jarmusch would later go on to direct more ambitious and technically impressive films, but this is perhaps the one that remains closest to his heart.
10. The Perks of Being Wallflower (2012)
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a coming-of-age tale about an introvert teen, Charlie, who enters high school as freshman and finds it difficult to intermingle until he is befriended by two seniors, Sam & Patrick. Soon, a beautiful friendship that teaches him to be comfortable in his own skin and explore the new dynamism of relationships forms. The biggest achievement of the film is how beautifully it captures the rich tapestry of growing up-experiences soaked in lessons learnt for lifetime. It also shows that every individual in his or her own way is beautiful and unique.
9. Donnie Darko (2001)
‘Donnie Darko’ is a cinematic wonder. It has a grandiose vision with a sprawling imagination of an affluent adolescent. Down to its insidiously naughty elements, the film is about a young rebel “Donnie” who pays odes to the likes of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and successfully brings glib humor through intimidating characters and subjects. Donnie is as weird and wonderful as a movie character can get.
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8. Trainspotting (1996)
A black comedy about heroin addicts in Scotland made stars of its cast and director, who gives us a fast paced, pulse pounding work that makes no judgments on heroin — great when you are on it, hell when you are coming off. The film opens in a fast-paced motion and never seems to be still; the characters are always walking, running, shooting up — just moving all the time. It also manages to somehow make drug addiction seem both the worst and the coolest of things.
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7. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ is an amalgamation of all the qualities that we admire Wes Anderson and his films for. It is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. We have always known Wes Anderson for creating these quirky, social misfits and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ might just be his best creation of all.
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6. Her (2013)
The protagonist in the film falls in love with an A.I. Beat that level of weirdness! But seriously speaking, ‘Her’ is easily one of the most imaginative movies ever made. The true worth of ‘Her’ will be realized when the idea (falling in love with an Artificial Intelligence) that it is based upon gets ultimately realized, and whenever that happens in future, I am sure people are going to look back at the film and at Spike Jonze in disbelieved awe on foreseeing the future with such disarming precision.
I’ve seen ‘Her’ thrice and it never ceases to amaze me. It’s not just the film’s depiction of a technology-dominated world that strikes me, but it’s the simple thought of a human being longing for a connection of some sort that touches me more than anything else. It’s actually quite frightening to think how lonely we, as human beings, could get and we are all heading towards a dark place.
Romance is perhaps more of an idea. If we’re all being truly honest with ourselves, we’d realize that we are more in love with the image of the person we’re with than the person itself. Theodore’s ex-wife was right when she said that he was incapable of dealing with ”real” emotions. Maybe had Samantha been a real person, things wouldn’t have been as romantic for both of them. It’s just the idea that you could fall for someone who doesn’t exist and yet talk to them everyday, everywhere that made Theodore and Samantha’s relationship so unbelievably romantic. And it’s the romanticisation of that idea that provided solace to Theodore’s loneliness more than the relationship itself.
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5. Almost Famous (2000)
Writer and director Cameron Crowe’s experiences as a teenage rock journalist inspired this coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy hitting the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. There’s a personal element to the film that you can’t miss. It is warm and fuzzy, but also equally memorable and effective.
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4. Lost in Translation (2003)
‘Lost in Translation’ is the single greatest movie ever made about what it feels to feel nothing — or what we commonly refer to as “ennui”. It is about two people who feel unaccepted and misfit in a place they don’t want to be and yet find a way to enjoy that. Based on an exquisitely rich screenplay by Sofia Coppola, the film is a deft balance of humor, poignancy and melancholy.
3. The Big Lebowski (1998)
‘The Big Lebowski’ defines every aspect of the term cult classic. It’s weird, absurd, hilarious and, of course, cool. It is not a film that is meant for everyone. ‘The Big Lebowski’ shouldn’t be viewed like any other ordinary film. It has an absolute blast with its amazing cast and a ridiculously well written script by the maverick duo of Joel and Ethan Coen. The plot follows a man named ”The Dude” who is brutally beaten by a couple of goons who mistake him for Lebowski, a millionaire. Things soon turn haywire when he sets out to seek compensation for the rug.
As I said, ‘The Big Lebowski’ is no ordinary film. And it takes a genius to come up with an idea as hilarious and absurd as this one. It just shows you that a well written script will definitely heighten the experience of a film, no matter how absurd or laughable the plot may seem on paper. The performances are truly classic. Jeff Bridges continues to be associated with ”The Dude”, while John Goodman and Steve Buscemi provide brilliant support. ‘The Big Lebowski’ is still not the best Coens flick of the 90s (now that would be ‘Fargo’) but it’s a testament to the duo’s incredible writing abilities.
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2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
A love story of two weirdos. And it couldn’t have been more beautiful. The dizzying, surreal epiphany of love and heartbreak has never been explored in the manner and to the degree of success with which this film does. Writer Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry have created a film that is not only unique in its own way but also endlessly re-watchable with something new to be found within every viewing.
The thought of erasing memories about the one person you love the most in order to evade the devastation of a breakup is something we’ve all pondered over. But what would our lives be without those memories? Our memories, ones that mean the most to us, define us in ways more than one. And as human beings, when we are left alone, isolated from happiness, all we have is memories. This is the idea the film beautifully explores, and the fact that this idea in itself is extremely complex is also what makes the film so dense and endlessly intriguing.
‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is a true masterpiece of cinema. While most people praise Kaufman for the impeccable script, it is Michel Gondry who gives the film that surreal, dreamlike vibe that defines the tone of the movie. Kate Winslet, as Clementine Kruczynski, delivers the greatest performance of her career, while Jim Carrey, in an uncharacteristic avatar, gives a sombre, melancholic performance as a heartbroken, lonely lover. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ continues to be regarded by fans, critics, and countless lovers across the world as one of the finest films ever made. It is truly a romantic freak’s dream.
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1. Fight Club (1999)
Very deserving and expected selection for the numero uno position. There’s a reason why it is a cult classic and especially popular among “hipsters”. Within all in its maze of action and eccentricity, ‘Fight Club’ has a core that any socially misfit person not only identifies with but also wants to live by, and that core is about not giving a fu*k about what others think about you.
David Fincher‘s exuberant style is well on display here; it’s flashy, unorthodox, and sometimes reckless but too stylish to dismiss. The most amazing aspect of ‘Fight Club’ is how the narrative never really tends to lose focus while exploring complex philosophical themes. It is also extremely entertaining with several hilarious moments. Brad Pitt completely owns the role of Tyler Durden, in a performance that truly defines his charisma and charm, while Edward Norton brilliantly portrays the boring everyman that we all are. These are archetypes, not characters and perhaps that’s what makes the movie relatable for us on so many levels.
Like any other cinephile, ‘Fight Club’ was one of those films that made me fall in love with this amazing art form. But I do feel that it hasn’t aged well. There’s that teenage, rebellious attitude that pervades the film, which might not translate well as you age. However, that doesn’t change the fact the film is a technical marvel. The visuals are astonishing and the film has a distinctive tone that instantly hooks us to it. It is, without a doubt, one of the better flicks of the 90s and one of the most important movies ever made.
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