Fun and Offbeat Movie Rentals


I am bored to tears with the latest “box-office smash,” and sick to death of formulaic blockbusters. If you agree—or simply need some new ideas for video rentals—read the list below for our suggestions of engaging and offbeat films.

Each film on our list boasts some of the industry’s most highly regarded actors and directors. Many of the actors were so young at the time these movies were made that I didn’t recognize them until the credits rolled at the end of the movie!

Beautiful films from highbrow literary sources

The Painted Veil

Director: John Curran

Cast: Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Liev Schrieber and Diana Rigg

Plot: A love story set in the 1920s against the backdrop of the cholera-infested countryside of China.


A Passage to India

Director: David Lean

Cast: Judy Davis, Alec Guinness, Victor Banerjee and Peggy Ashcroft

Plot: A study of two totally different cultures (the repressed English and the more sensual Indians) that attempted to coexist in Colonial India.

Sweet independent film

Pieces of April

Director: Peter Hedges II

Cast: Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt

Plot: Witty, touching family comedy-dramañ for mature teens and up.


Creepy thriller-chiller


The Gift

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reaves, Hilary Swank and Giovanni Ribisi

Plot: Southern gothic murder and a chilling psychic mystery.

Socially conscious, gritty suspense thriller

Dirty Pretty Things

Director: Stephan Frears

Cast: Chiwetal Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou

Plot: Story of the struggles of the immigrant underclass in Britain and what they do to survive.

Sadomasochistic, steamy, kinky love story


Director : Steven Shainberg

Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal (debut), James Spader

Plot: Secretary learns to enjoy reprimands for typing errors and a more “involved” relationship soon develops.

Weird, campy horror classic


The Lair of the White Worm

Director: Ken Russell

Cast: Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg

Plot: Taken from one of Bram Stoker’s horror novels, the movie is campy with a capital “C.” A grisly plot and many double entendres are its hallmarks.

Teen comedy for all ages

Adventures In Babysitting

Director: Chris Columbus

Cast: Elizabeth Shue

Movie: A simple night of babysitting goes horribly awry in this charming screwball comedy, which was filmed on location in Chicago.

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