What makes a person successful? Is it luck? Is it beauty? Brains? Or money?
The answer is none of these and also all of these. But yes, there is one thing successful people have in common: they are unconventional.
They do not particularly conform to social conventions. They do have to face a lot of flak for the same and hardly ever are they recognized in their time (Phoebe Buffay, anyone? :P). Their way of doing things and their thought process is much ahead of their times.
The truth about being conventional is that it constricts people to think in a certain way, it makes them remain shackled in a dictated way of living life or having ideas.
You are expected to act a certain way, do certain things, behave in a predetermined way. There is never room for imagination.
Therefore, when one tries to break free of the societal conventions thrust upon them, they are faced with resistance. Change is never welcome and when someone tries to change a preconceived formula, it is always looked down upon.
The same happens with every entity we come across: people, books, movies, TV shows, music and the list goes on.
When was the last time you saw a movie and were absolutely blown away by its unusual story and eccentric characters? What is so different about these movies?
These movies question the archaic rules, break stereotypes and make a niche arc for themselves. Yes, everyone might not appreciate the brilliance of the story, the avant-garde themes and the work behind these movies but if you give these a chance, they might open up recesses of your mind which have been long shut by the wax of societal convention.
Planning to watch an unconventional movie?
Here are 7 such movies on Netflix which you can watch:1. The Lady In The Van (2015):
© TriStar Pictures/BBC Films/Sony Pictures Releasing/Netflix
Maggie Smith stars in as the eponymous lady, Miss Mary Shepherd, with a secret; a terrible past which has led her to live as a vagabond on the streets. The only solace she has is her Bedford van which she believes is blessed.
When writer Alan Bennett, fresh off the success of his latest play, moves into the neighbourhood, little does he know how his life is going to change after getting acquainted with the aforementioned lady.
As Alan gets to know more about Miss Shepherd, they form an unusual bond of friendship, propelled by Alan's gesture to accommodate her in his driveway. In due course, Alan begins to perceive the real, sad person behind the eccentric, perennially annoyed, unhygienic Mary.
As the movie progresses, we see Alan constantly struggle with the idea of Mary, a fact cleverly portrayed through debates between his two identities: the writer and the real.
His conflicted emotions make him miserable and he keeps comparing the two women in his life: the lady in the van and his mother.
No one plays eccentric and prudish characters better than Maggie Smith (Remember Professor McGonagall and the Dowager Countess?), and she does it again here. She is adorable in a funny way, bringing alive the pathos of Mary. Alex Jennings is excellent as the harried writer in two minds.
Based on a true story from one of Alan Bennet's memoirs, the movie encapsulates the beauty of human relations and emotions, and the power of friendship through its exceptional writing and excellent portrayals.
It makes us ask ourselves about the eternal question: why can't we be more compassionate?2. Band of Robbers (2015):
© Tom Sky Entertainment/Gravitas Pictures
Just imagine if Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were still looking for buried treasure! Intriguing, isn't it?
Well, Huck and Finn are back with a modern upgrade!
Directed by the Nee Brothers, Band of Robbers is a reimagination of the classics: Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Heavily borrowing from the books, it plays high on the nostalgia but not in an overcompensating way and stands on its own. The borrowed incidents do not influence the entirety of the movie, an ode to the genius of the Nee Brothers.
Huck (Kyle Gallner) and Tom (Adam Nee) are now adults, but they haven't forgotten their “heroic” ways. When Huck, who has been in jail for some time is released, he is greeted by his best friend, Tom, who is now a down-on-his-luck police officer.
Tom is still ambitious about their childhood dream of finding and claiming the Murrell treasure and has hatched a plan to finally lay his hands on it. A reluctant Huck gives in and they are then joined by their awkward and scatterbrained friends, Joe and Ben. As they start their adventure, they run into old acquaintances and with the omnipresent clues and the mysterious hints which are a trademark of the Twain novels, they seem to be a step closer to finding the treasure.
Injun Joe makes a comeback along with all our favourite characters from the books. Prepare to relive your childhood!
A true masterpiece in parallel thinking. Most definitely recommended!3. Tramps (2016):
© Animal Kingdom/Rooks Nest Entertainment/Netflix
When two aspiring crooks cross paths on a job not done well, sparks are bound to fly.
Callum Turner stars as smart mouth Danny who gets embroiled in a heist for his brother who has recently been incarcerated.
His task is simple: switch a briefcase with another at the subway. All hell breaks loose when he realizes that the briefcase was not given to the intended recipient.
Armed with just an address of the person with the briefcase and an unwilling partner-in-crime, quick-witted Ellie (Grace Van Patten), these teens traverse New York City using various modes: the subway, the bus, stolen bicycles, et al and embark on a crazy joyride which both of them had never anticipated.
With stunning New York as a backdrop, it is reminiscent of those '70s movies with similar themes of a romance bubbling between two con artists but that is where the similarity ends.
What is different is the pure brilliance of the plot, which shifts between romance and pragmatism effortlessly: two strangers find something on their wayward journey which may or may not result in something more concrete.
A hauntingly beautiful background score and engaging performances by Grace Van Patten and Callum Turner make this one of the most intriguing movies on the list so far. Sometimes, temporary meetings can change you forever.4. The Invention of Lying (2009):
© Radar Pictures/Universal Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures/Focus Features
Imagine a world where there were no lies and you couldn't lie. Could you imagine?
But this is the world which Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) lives in. In this alternate reality, you cannot lie and there is no such thing as fiction, everyone speaks the truth; a utopian society which tells the truth without thinking about its ramifications.
When things start to go horribly wrong for him at work, where he works as a screenwriter, owing to the fact that his movies are historical 14th-century flops and his personal life goes for a toss, he discovers the art of lying and he can do it quite well.
Things start getting better once he starts lying and he soon discovers that lying can be beneficial to others as well!
His crowning glory comes in the form of the ultimate lie he cooks up: God! Eventually, he faces a moral quandary and what he does sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
The movie is funny, though it has its share of flaws, is a satire on faith, religion and the entire concept of truth. Is honesty always the best policy?
Ricky Gervais is funny as always, more so as the unfortunate Mark, and so is Jennifer Garner as the snooty socialite, Anna.
Unconventional and thought-provoking, its humour is its best-selling point.5. Paddleton (2019):
© Duplass Brothers Productions/Netflix
Directed by Alex Lehman, the comedy-drama movie revolves around two middle-aged neighbours, Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano), who are best friends: eating pizza, watching dubbed Kung-Fu movies and playing “Paddleton” (a mix of paddleball and badminton) and living their best lives.
Tragedy strikes when Michael gets diagnosed with terminal cancer which sets both of them to take a hard look at their lives, especially Andy. When Michael asks Andy to assist him in ending his life, they set out on a road trip to get the drugs and on the journey discover what they desperately crave.
Fringing on the indie-film boundary, with mumblecore elements, this movie is one of those exceptional ones which truly open your eyes to the truth of being human. Without being too preachy, the movie stresses on our perceptions of friendship and life and how far will one go to save someone they care about.
Andy and Michael have the perfect bromance, platonic with just the right amount of “sweet old couple fighting” but that doesn't change the fact that they absolutely love each other.
The dialogue is efficient and economical, there are no big speeches on friendship or mushy declarations of love, just two people who care about each other and have finally realized their own mortality.
The humour is top-notch, and its self-deprecating tone is one of its greatest triumphs.
Mark Duplass and Ray Romano portray their characters with such nuance that watching them will make you realize the sadness we all carry with ourselves and the armour we put up for the world so that no one sees the vulnerability behind the façade.
Ray Romano is best remembered as Raymond from “Everybody Loves Raymond” and so it is nearly inconceivable to imagine him in some other role. Seeing him portray an intense character so well blew my mind and will do the same for you!6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018):
© Blueprint Pictures/Netflix
Adapted from the novel of the same name, it focuses on a successful London writer, Juliet Ashton, who gets intrigued when a letter arrives from Guernsey along with the news of a much-beloved childhood book which happens to be in the possession of the sender, Dawsey Adams.
Dawsey and Juliet start a correspondence via letters as the story behind the book club, whimsically founded by Dawsey's friend, Elizabeth McKenna, and four others in an attempt to resist arrest while the island was under the German occupation, piques Juliet's interest.
Juliet then visits Guernsey to meet the people behind the odd named literary society and is fascinated by the colourful characters and their unique tale of how they survived during the occupation. Juliet plans to write a book about the society, but things start to unravel as she expresses her desire to the people of Guernsey, guided by the conspicuous absence of Elizabeth which seems like a mystery.
Lily James' intricate portrayal of the determined and soft-spoken author, Juliet, who has a sad past is memorable as it is heartwarming. Michiel Huisman as Dawsey Adams seems to be tailor made for the role of the homegrown, down-to-earth farmer from Guernsey. All the members of the literary society are charming people in their quirky ways, especially Isola.
A beautiful and delightful story of the power of human imagination. Truly marvellous!7. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016):
© Paris Film/Zed Filmworks/Netflix
“Even the prettiest things come to rot.”
A hauntingly terrifying story told through dreamy cinematography, top-notch camerawork and eloquent dialogue delivery. This new genre of horror is better than you ever expected.
We go back to gothic suspense roots as newly appointed nurse, Lily (Ruth Wilson), the self-proclaimed pretty thing, takes us through the once opulent house, one step at a time, where she is supposed to take care of the once famous and now demented, reclusive author Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss) who refers to Lily as Polly. Strangely, Polly (Lucy Boynton) happens to be the name of the protagonist of Iris' best-selling novel, The Lady in the Walls. As Lily recounts her story, she tells us how she chanced upon the novel and how things started to unravel thereafter.
As the movie progresses, we keep shifting from present to the past and meet the real Polly on whom apparently Iris based her book. Things take a drastic turn when Lily starts to realize that the reality of the book might be something grotesque.
Not your typical brand of horror, it isn't about a fearless protagonist or ghosts which trouble you but provides a compelling narrative of the three main characters, all thanks to the genius of Osgood Perkins (the director). It surely transports you a horror world akin to the ones created by directors like Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski.
It isn't a run-of-the-mill horror, but what makes it so unconventional is that you are left to your own devices to judge the veracity of the narration, the elusiveness of the story makes it more compelling.
Appearances are deceptive: what you find pretty might not always be pretty.
So, which one are you planning to watch?