Don't know what to get your smart friend for their birthday?

Doesn't like standard Hollywood movies?

There's always someone that you know who is really difficult to buy a present for because they have a sharp and critical tongue which often makes you laugh when they are ridiculing someone or something; but you don't want to become the butt of their acerbic wit. At the same time you want to get them something they will really like because it would be rude to not get them anything.

Well I've compiled a list of lesser known and less commercial movies that are thought provoking, surprising and well worth watching. Impress your over-critical friend by getting them 1 of these movies. Not only will it make them happy but it will also make he/she see you in a different light.

So here's the list - I've narrowed it down to eight.

1) Twin Peaks - Ostensibly a soap opera but because it's by David Lynch it's so much more. It's a parody of the popular art form and an investigation into the nature of evil. It contains many brilliant quirky moments, some amazing surreal episodes and a truly frightening finale. This is addictive viewing.

2) Happiness - Made by the maverick director, Todd Solondz. It is disturbing, funny, deeply ironic and says something profound about modern day America.

3) Palindromes - Also by Todd Solondz. This movie nearly bankrupted the director and drew alot of criticism from the mainstream press because of its refusal to judge its characters.

4) Trust - By the genius Indie director, Hal Hartley. There's no car chases or guns or gangsters in this comedy set in small town America. The dialogue is stunningly witty and sometimes bizarrely circular. You either love Hal Hartley movies or hate them. This is one of his classics.

5) Being John Malokvich - It is said that there are 12 movie plots in Hollywood. Well this plot makes it 13! A truly original movie with some great performances by John Cusak and Cameron Diaz. This is a must watch for anybody who likes unusual movies; and it's funny as well.

6)Bamboozled - Perhaps Spike Lee's best film. An hilarious satire that truly shocks the viewer and exposes the inherent racism of much media representation of African-Americans. The central role is brilliantly played by Damon Wayans

7) The Last Temptation of Christ - Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Willem Defoe as Jesus. Forget the Da Vinci code. This is the real deal. A movie that tries to show Jesus the man beset by doubts, fears and lust struggling to do his father's mission. This film was released in 1988 and contains a dream sequence of Jesus having sex with Mary Magdalene. Thus pre-dating Dan Brown in his notion of Jesus having children. Unlike any other 'Jesus' movie, this one shows Jesus as a man not an aloof heavenly messenger.

8) Pi - A black and white claustrophobic movie by Darren Aronofsky. A genius mathematician stumbles upon a sequence of numbers that could be used to predict fluctuations in the stock exchange as well as unlock the mystery of the Kabbalah texts. The movie has some great stylised sequences and introduces a new noir sub genre to movie lore.

8 great DVDs for those who are hard to please

A truly original movie.
A truly original movie.

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