I love movies that are just plain strange. While a mindless rom‐com or action‐packed superhero movie are always welcome forms of escapism, sometimes it’s nice to get the ol’ gears in your brain turning when a film challenges you to figure out exactly what in the heck is going on — and what kind of movie it even is.

Here are 5 movies to watch whenever you’re in the mood for a mental workout.


Us – New to the Box and Redbox on Demand, this freaky and twisty film from Jordan Peele was revered by critics for its mix of horror, political and social commentary, fantasy, thrills and standout performances (especially from its star, Lupita Nyong’o). Audiences were somewhat more divided about its controversial final act, which you’ll be trying to dissect for days.


Sorry to Bother You – This is definitely the strangest movie I’ve seen within the past year. It also happens to be writer and director Boots Riley’s feature film debut, so I truly cannot wait to see what comes out of his creative mind next. Sorry follows a down‐on‐his‐luck telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who suddenly finds success, and even a little bit of social‐media fame, when he uses a unique skill to start racking up sales. It’s satire and social commentary and conspiracy theory and straight‐up craziness all wrapped up into one unforgettable movie.

Being John Malkovich – The first of two films on this list that emerged from the wild mind of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, this trippy and utterly original story about a desperate‐for‐cash puppeteer (John Cusack) who discovers a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich is highconcept art at its finest. It could’ve easily come off as a goofy gag, but instead has some insightful things to say about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes (or, in this case, mind).


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – The second film on this list from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (speaking of minds we’d like to be in for a little while…) is about a couple — played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet — who employ a service to erase each other from their minds after their devastating breakup. It’s got a little bit of every genre in it, and will make you think deep thoughts about fate and destiny and soulmates.

Mulholland Drive – And now we’ve come to the film most likely to make everyone who sees it for the first time ask, “What in the @#$& did I just watch???” Writer and director David Lynch cooks up an old‐fashioned Hollywood mystery through different dreamlike vignettes that are not chronological. It’s the sort of movie that makes more sense after repeated viewings. Or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, you’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s the film that put Naomi Watts on the map.

What’s a movie you’ve seen that you wouldn’t know how to categorize, much less explain?