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Related: strange - unconventional - offbeat


Strikingly unconventional [syn: far-out, kinky, offbeat, way-out]

Films that have been labeled "quirky"

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums - Wes Anderson (2001) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    In a fitting follow-up to Rushmore, writer-director Wes Anderson and cowriter-actor Owen Wilson have crafted another comedic masterwork that ripples with inventive, richly emotional substance. Because of the all-star cast, hilarious dialogue, and oddball characters existing in their own, wholly original universe, it's easy to miss the depth and complexity of Anderson's brand of comedy. Here, it revolves around Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman), the errant patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses, including precocious playwright Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), boyish financier and grieving widower Chas (Ben Stiller), and has-been tennis pro Richie (Luke Wilson). All were raised with supportive detachment by mother Etheline (Anjelica Huston), and all ache profoundly for a togetherness they never really had. The Tenenbaums reconcile somehow, but only after Anderson and Wilson (who costars as a loopy literary celebrity) put them through a compassionate series of quirky confrontations and rekindled affections. Not for every taste, but this is brilliant work from any perspective. --Jeff Shannon

  2. The Man Without a Past (2002) - Aki Kaurismäki [Amazon US]
    The spare and quirky comedy of Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki is in delightful form in The Man Without a Past. A man (Markku Peltola) awakens after a brutal mugging with no memory; he wanders into the outskirts of Helsinki with his face wrapped like an escapee from a classic horror film. A destitute family helps nurse him back to health and a Salvation Army worker named Irma (Kati Outinen) helps him get a job. Though bureaucrats and policemen who can't seem to cope with this amnesiac's lack of established identity, the amnesiac plants potatoes, manages a rock & roll band, and romances Irma as he builds a new self. Kaurismaki weaves his movies out of small details and careful, cautious steps forward--but by the end, The Man Without a Past has become a rich, engrossing, and very funny portrait of the possibilities of life. --Bret Fetzer, amazon.com

  3. Buffalo 66 (1998) - Vincent Gallo [DVD, Amazon US]
    Writer-director-composer Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci star in this quirky and deliberately grimy little movie. Gallo plays Billy Brown, recently released from prison and unable to find so much as a decent bathroom in his cold hometown. Billy's parents are unaware that he's been locked up; in a pathetic attempt to impress them with how successful he's become, he hits on the novel plan of kidnapping young dance student Layla (Ricci) and forcing her to play the role of his wife. Billy's distant--to say the least--parents are played to the hilt by Anjelica Huston and Ben Gazzara, Huston in particular bringing a demented glee to her role as Billy's football-obsessed mother. As the movie unfolds, we learn more about Billy's tormented childhood and unfortunate tendency to bet on the Bills in the Super Bowl. Gallo boldly throws himself into the task of playing a complete sleazebag, and Ricci does lovely standout work as the one ray of hope in the grinding darkness of Billy's life. This odd little love story is just the thing to make you feel better about your own relationship--especially if you're not in one. --Ali Davis for Amazon.com

  4. Maitresse (1976) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Drifter Olivier (Gérard Depardieu) lands in Paris and partners up on a friend's home invasion. Ostensibly they're breaking into the vacant flat of a vacationing old lady, but in reality it's the kinky dungeon of a high-class dominatrix with a powerful client list. The bearish Depardieu falls for the lithe professional, blonde Ariane (Bulle Ogier) in a black bob wig and dressed in tight leather and latex, and soon moves into her handsome flat while she plies her trade downstairs. Barbet Schroeder's kinky little slice of sexual decadence is initially titillating and erotic, but soon turns grotesque. Ariane's clients desire her domination but only as contracted: They control their abuse. The romance becomes a warped mirror of her career, Ariane allowing Olivier the appearance of control as he slides behind the driver's seat of her car, but setting the parameters of his dominance. Easygoing Olivier soon begins to simmer with frustration and jealousy, unable to comprehend her twisted world of sexual deviance, and attempts to "save" her from her lifestyle. Schroeder pushes the portrayal of S&M and bondage to the limits with graphic scenes of pain, torment, and mutilation, presented with a bland detachment that makes them all the more uncomfortable to watch. He brings that same dispassionate attitude to the romance, which results in an uninvolving yet undeniably fascinating story of a quirky affair. --Sean Axmaker [...]

  5. Badlands (1973) - Terrence Malick [Amazon US]
    Still one of American cinema's most powerful, daring filmmaking debuts, Terrence Malick's Badlands is a quirky, visionary psychological and social enigma masquerading as a simple lovers-on-the-lam flick. Inspired by the 1958 murders in the cold, stark badlands of South Dakota by Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, the film's plot, on the surface, is similar to that of other killing-couple films, like Bonnie and Clyde and Gun Crazy. Martin Sheen, in an understated, sophisticated performance, plays the strange James Dean-like social outcast who falls in love with the naïve Sissy Spacek--and then kills her father when he comes between them. The two flee like animals to the wilderness, until the police arrive and the killing spree begins. What sets the film apart from others of its genre is Malick's complicated approach. Gorgeous, impenetrable images contrast sharply with Spacek's nostalgically artless narration, serving as ironic counterpoints, blurring concrete meaning, and stressing that nothing this horrific is simple. Malick observes, rather than analyzes, the couple in a manner as detached and apathetic as the couple's shocking actions. No judgment or definitive motivations are offered, though Malick's empathy often leans toward his senseless protagonists, rather than the star-struck society that makes killers famous. Compared with the interchangeable uniform cops who hunt them and the film's other nameless characters stuck in suburban banality, the couple are presented like tarnished, warped and frustrated results of squelched individuality.

    Badlands, on one level, views America's suffocating homogeneity and, conversely, its continued obsession with celebrities (individuals considered different but adored) as hypocritical. Ambiguous and bold, the movie hints that society may be as guilty as the killers. --Dave McCoy for amazon.com

  6. Tampopo [DVD Amazon US]
    Like seeds of a dandelion blowing in the wind, the plot of Tampopo wanders in several directions, following the lives of a quirky collection of characters. At the heart of this film is a young widow named Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto), who is struggling to make ends meet by running a noodle restaurant. Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki), a truck driver, saves Tampopo's young son from being beaten by a group of school girls and is rewarded with a bowl of very bad ramen (noodles). Goro tells Tampopo the awful truth about her cooking and she asks for his help. Together they search for the perfect ramen recipe. -- Luanne Brown for amazon.com [Superb Japanese film about food, and more in particular noodles]

  7. Miami Blues (1990) - George Armitage [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This movie managed to stay under almost everyone's radar screen, and this is truly a shame. This is a quirky, unorthodox, and unpredictable film with potent acting and a very intriguing story. It's a compelling and intelligent film that is very funny and yet quite sad. The movie came and went before Alec Baldwin emerged as a (sometimes) legitimate star. And he's really at his best, acting opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh, who delivers one of her trademark credible and powerful performances. Alec Baldwin portrays an ex-con who has just been released from a prison in Florida, and it doesn't take long before he's returning to his criminal ways. Early in the film Alec intentionally breaks the thumb of a Harry Krishna follower at the airport, who proceeds to die as a result of the trama. At this point, a detective (aptly and humorously portrayed by Fred Ward) begins investigating and pursuing Baldwin. Ward doesn't have enough evidence to arrest Baldwin, but he is pretty certain he's got the right man. An interesting and funny cat-and-mouse game follows. Baldwin makes his living by stealing from other criminals, mostly by robbing muggers just after they have robbed someone. Midway through the film Baldwin obtains a detective's badge and proceeds to impersonate a police officer, which allows him to more easily apply his trade and opens the way for several hysterical scenes. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a prostitute who, after a tryst with Baldwin, ends up falling in love and living with him. The dynamic between these two characters occupies a central role in this film, and it is both convincing and interesting. As the film progresses, it becomes obvious that Baldwin is battling himself and facing large changes and challenges within himself. While continuing to impersonate a police officer while robbing people, it becomes obvious that he begins to internalize the persona and seems to think of himself as a protector of others. While this film is frequently violent, comic and funny, it is tinged with a very serious edge that meanders into areas of human longing, sadness and loss. This film unfolds slowly, but is compelling and funny every step of the way. Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance is poignant and provides emotional ballast, but Baldwin's performance borders on being gut-wrenchingly good. The heaviness and self-consciousness that often accompany his later performances are nowhere to be found. This film is daring, orginal and intelligent...and a lot of fun along with way. Hopefully the new DVD edition will allow it to surface on radar screen's everywhere. R. Werth for amazon.com [...]

  8. Twin Peaks episodes 1-7 (complete first season except the pilot) [DVD, Amazon US]
    Twin Peaks devotees, who have kept the mystery alive on myriad Web sites, will jump at the chance to return to the spooky town that might just be the anti-Mayberry. Rarely syndicated, the Twin Peaks television series has lost none of its quirky and queasy power to get under your skin and haunt your dreams. So brew up a pot of some "damn fine coffee," dig into some cherry pie, and lose yourself in David Lynch and Mark Frost's murder mystery and soap opera, which unfolds, in one character's words, "like a beautiful dream and terrible nightmare all at once." Twin Peaks was a pop culture phenomenon for one season at least, until the increasingly bizarre twists and maddening teases so confounded audiences that they lost interest in just who killed Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). This series was a career peak for most of its eclectic ensemble cast, including Kyle MacLachlan as straight-arrow FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Michael Ontkean as local Sheriff Harry S. Truman, Sherilyn Fenn as bad girl Audrey Horne, Peggy Lipton as waitress Norma Jennings, and Catherine Coulson as the Log Lady. Alumni enjoying current success include Lara Flynn Boyle ("The Practice"), as good girl Donna Hayward, and Miguel Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan"), hilarious as forensics expert Albert Rosenfield (who has absolutely no "social niceties"). This four-disc set contains the first season's seven episodes, minus, curiously, the series pilot. Newcomers will be scratching their heads over the "Previously on Twin Peaks" prologue, but an accompanying booklet sums up the story. Special features include episode introductions by the Log Lady (originally broadcast on Bravo), commentaries by assorted episode directors (but not Lynch), and features from the archives of the fanzine Wrapped in Plastic. --Donald Liebenson


  1. Histoire De Melody Nelson - Serge Gainsbourg [1 CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Track Listings 1. Melody 2. Ballade De Melody Nelson 3. Valse De Melody 4. Ah! Melody 5. L'Hotel Particulier 6. En Melody 7. Cargo Culte
    1998 reissue on Mercury of his 1971 album for the label that has a strong Velvet Underground feel to it throughout. A 20 bit digital remaster, it features the original cover art & all seven of the original tracks. Digipak. 1998 Mercury release. amazon editorial
    I'd heard his name a million times before over the years, but was unfamiliar with his work. I happened upon this album and thinking it would be a quirky 70's novelty item, I purchased it. I was transfixed! I don't speak a word of French, so I have only the slightest clue whats going on here, but this music and his delivery transcends language. I find it ultimately pointless to try and describe music, but think of the coolest 70's porn music imaginable, add strings and in some parts a choir, and then add a lecherous and deep narration over the top and you start to get an idea. And along the way you'll hear some of the most beautiful "melodies" that you've ever thought possible. If you've ever swooned to Scott Walker, or been hypnotized by a particularly lush film soundtrack, then you will ADORE this. If you've never purchased Serge before, START HERE. You'll fall for Melody Nelson, too. -- James Baker for amazon.com [...]

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