The 50 Best Indie Comedy Movies

The 50 Best Indie Comedy Movies

June 13, 2024

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The best highly-rated but little-known comedy movies as featured on agoodmovietowatch.com.

Note: to see if each film is available for you to stream on Netflix or elsewhere, click on the title to be redirected to the movie page.

21. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Colin Trevorrow

Actors

Aubrey Plaza, Basil Harris, Colin Trevorrow, Eli Borozan

Moods

Emotional, Funny, Original

A quirky little movie about a reporter trying to get a story about a man who posted an ad looking for someone to travel in time with. The movie’s main strength is the fantastic casting of talents that usually live in the series world (Jake M. Johnson from New Girl, Aubery Plaza from Parcs and Recreation, Mark Duplass), and although it might seem a little bit slow at the beginning, it is worth every second spent watching it.

22. Chasing Amy (1997)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Kevin Smith

Actors

Ben Affleck, Brian O'Halloran, Carmen Llywelyn, Casey Affleck

Moods

Heart-warming, Romantic, Sweet

For a film made in the mid-90s, by a straight white man in his early 20s, Chasing Amy is startingly smart and sensitive, filled with more relatable moments than anyone would care to admit. Sure, by today’s standards, its exploration of sexuality is questionable at best and cringe-worthy at worst, but it’s also an honest depiction of how an era (and some people still) confront this reality. And for all the important issues it tries to address, like homophobia, racism, and toxic masculinity, it’s also at its core a confectionary romcom. If When Harry Met Sally asks, “Can women and men be friends?”, then Chasing Amy complicates it with a question of its own: “Can a lesbian and a guy who falls in love too quickly be friends?” You may or may not arrive at an answer by the film’s end, but you’ll find much to like in its earnestness and thoughtfulness.

23. The Duke (2021)

7.8

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Roger Michell

Actors

Aimee Kelly, Andrew Havill, Anna Maxwell Martin, Charlotte Spencer

Moods

A-list actors, Easy, Emotional

In 1961, Francisco de Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington was stolen from London’s National Gallery, but the theft was no slick heist pulled off by international art thieves. No, the improbable culprit was (the improbably named) Kempton Bunton, a retired bus driver and aspiring playwright who pinched the painting — which the gallery had recently acquired for £140,000 of UK taxpayers’ money — as a Robin Hood-esque “attempt to pick the pockets of those who love art more than charity.” The principled Bunton (played here by Jim Broadbent) was, at the time, waging a one-man campaign to convince the government to grant pensioners and veterans free TV licenses, and the Goya theft was his way of publicizing those efforts. It was an eccentric plan, but Broadbent leans fully into his status as a UK national treasure here, making oddball Bunton a deeply sympathetic and warm figure because of (not despite) those quirks. Thanks to his performance — and the note-perfect direction of the late, great Roger Michell — a quirky footnote of history becomes a sweet, unexpectedly moving story about solidarity and the power of the underdog.

24. Bottle Rocket (1996)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Wes Anderson

Actors

Andrew Wilson, Antonia Bogdanovich, Brian Tenenbaum, Darryl Cox

Moods

Character-driven, Easy, Feel-Good

Before he developed his signature dollhouse visual style, Wes Anderson made his feature debut with this lowkey, heartwarming, and decidedly not-symmetrically-perfect comedy about a bunch of misfits. Bottle Rocket isn’t as much of an outlier in its director’s storied filmography as might initially seem, however. Written in partnership with college buddy Owen Wilson — who, along with brothers Luke and Andrew, made his acting debut here — the film is delightfully offbeat and unexpectedly moving in the way we’ve come to expect from Anderson. 

Dignan (Owen Wilson) and Anthony (Luke Wilson) are two drifting, boyish twenty-somethings, although only Anthony seems aware of his directionlessness, as Dignan has graciously developed a 50-year life plan for the two of them (complete with hilariously vague bullet-points such as “Make wise investments” and “Own multiple accommodations”). The means to these ambitious ends is a life of crime — specifically, pulling off grand heists. But Dignan’s meticulousness hasn’t accounted for distractions, and his madcap scheme falls at the first hurdle when Anthony falls in love with a housekeeper at the motel they hide out in (Lumi Cavazos). Their sweet romance is one of the film’s many delights, as is its barrelling deadpan humor, which never betrays the warmth of the Wilson brothers’ heartwarming depiction of ride-or-die friendship.

25. Housekeeping for Beginners (2024)

7.8

Country

Australia, Croatia, Kosovo

Director

Goran Stolevski

Actors

Alina Serban, Anamaria Marinca, Bislim Muçaj, Blagoj Veselinov

Moods

Emotional, Heart-warming, Lovely

Only a few people in Dita’s house are related by blood, but you wouldn’t know that by how they move. They’re tight-knit but argumentative, loving at times but spiteful in other instances. In other words, they’re complicated just like any other family. Housekeeping for Beginners makes a compelling case for the validity—and at times necessity—of found families like Dita’s, who all found each other after being shunned by their race and sexuality. As in his previous works, Director Goran Stolevski paints a realistic and relevant portrait here, one tinted with striking pain and poignancy, bound to leave your heart aching long after the credits roll.

26. Too Funny to Fail: The Life & Death of The Dana Carvey Show (2017)

7.5

Director

Josh Greenbaum

Actors

Bill Hader, Dana Carvey, Jon Glaser, Louis C.K.

Too Funny to Fail isn’t just a documentary about funny people. It’s a documentary that’s hilarious in its own right. Director Josh Greenbaum assembles the comedic powerhouse behind the short-lived Dana Carvey Show and has them recall the idiosyncratic, subversive skits they did on the show. They are, of course, naturally funny, but it’s the questions Greenbaum asks them off-cam, the clips he shows, and the titles he picks for them (Bill Hader, as a fan who used to watch the show in lieu of going to classes, is stuck with “once skipped school”) that gives the documentary its own comedic signature. The spectacular failure of The Dana Carvey Show is also an inspirational story of sorts, given the astronomical success its staff and cast have and are continuing to enjoy since its cancellation.

27. Living in Oblivion (1995)

7.5

Country

United States of America

Director

Tom DiCillo

Actors

Catherine Keener, Danielle von Zerneck, Dermot Mulroney, Hilary Gilford

Moods

Dark, Easy, Funny

A young Steve Buscemi leads this wry farce about a calamitous film set where nothing goes right. The sardonic script skewers the ins and outs of low budget film production and the various personalities on set from belligerent directors, pretentious cinematographers, and egotistic actors. 

A playful three-act structure and trips into dream sequences keep things light, while a strong supporting cast, including a cheeky appearance by Peter Dinklage and the fantastic Catherine Keener, gives the film the backbone it needs. 

28. Withnail & I (1987)

7.5

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Bruce Robinson

Actors

Anthony Wise, Daragh O'Malley, Eddie Tagoe, Irene Sutcliffe

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Discussion-sparking

There are a few instances that prove the merit of one’s friendship, and one of those instances is a roadtrip. Withnail and I is considered one of the greatest British comedies of all time, but there’s a certain melancholy to it, as two unemployed actors have gone on holiday due to an offer from one of their uncles, though this offer doesn’t come without strings, which the titular “I”, Marwood, whose name is never mentioned, has only found out on the trip. As the holiday goes wrong, with the two making the worst of every new situation, the two share somewhat of a dysfunctional, slightly homoerotic relationship, as Withnail deals with everything in the most drunken, unserious manner, and Marwood anxiously realizes how much he’s outgrown their friendship. The film’s humor may be a tad too dry for those outside the country, but cult favorite Withnail and I still resonates with its endlessly quotable lines, memorable scenes, and its bitter understanding of how life can diverge.

29. Hit Man (2024)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Richard Linklater

Actors

Adria Arjona, Anthony Michael Frederick, Austin Amelio, Bryant Carroll

Moods

Character-driven, Easy, Funny

Hit Man is many things—a romance, neo-noir, comedy, and thriller. And though it sometimes feels like it doesn’t quite reach its full potential in all those areas, it’s hard not to be blown away by Powell’s Rolodex of characters and his palpable chemistry with Arjona. The story itself isn’t as sturdy as I hoped it would be, but it’s supported by a strong, funny script co-written by the ever-reliable Linklater (who I suspect is behind the deep existential ruminations) and Powell (who must’ve supplied the cache of modern jokes), ultimately making Hit Man a smart, funny, and deeply pleasurable watch.

30. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

7.4

Country

United States, United States of America

Director

Jonathan Lynn

Actors

Austin Pendleton, Bill Coates, Bob Penny, Bruce McGill

Moods

A-list actors, Feel-Good, Funny

Unlike the many courtroom films of its time, My Cousin Vinny forgoes theatrics and drama for true-blue comedy. It stars Joe Pesci as the titular Vinny, a newly minted New York attorney who’s taking on a murder trial in Alabama as his first case, while Marisa Tomei plays Vinny’s fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, in an Oscar-winning turn. The loudmouthed couple are decidedly out of place in Alabama, supplying the film with many comedic gems, but they’re also unexpectedly clever. Along with its humor and memorable characters, My Cousin Vinny has come to be known for its legal accuracy and flair.

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