Awesome Indie Films to Check Out During Your Break


Independent films, indies for short, are motion pictures that are produced and distributed by companies that are not part of the usual major motion picture system.  Usually, they’re lower budget pieces featuring relatively or completely unknown performers, and they rarely achieve blockbuster status, though some garner critical acclaim and becoming launching pads for those involved.  

Occasionally, though, an indie makes it to the mainstream.  Some of the independent feature films whose humble beginnings might surprise you include:



  • American Beauty
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs (both Quentin Tarantino pictures)
  • Being John Malkovich
  • The Meaning of Life and Life of Brian (two Monty Python flicks)
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • The Usual Suspects
  • The Terminator
  • Night of the Living Dead



While the above list represents some of the breakout indie hits, there are few other titles you might not know, but that are definitely worth watching and feature actors whose names you’re sure to recognize:


The Perks of Being a Wallflower:  Logan Lerman and Emma Watson star in this novel-based movie about a young man’s first year of high school.  The lesson we take away is that our struggles shouldn’t keep us from enjoying life once in awhile and that real friendship can’t be overrated.

Thirteen:  Tracy, played by Evan Rachel Wood, is an unhappy but otherwise normal teenage girl who becomes friends with adventure-seeking Evie and is delighted to be one of the cool kids for once.  Tracy finds out soon enough, though, that her newfound popularity comes at a price.


Poison Ivy:  Teen Silvie, portrayed by Drew Barrymore, was a nice quiet girl until wild-child Ivy came into her life, turning life into an anything-but-quiet adventure.


Factory Girl:  Sienna Miller stars as Edie Sedgwick, generally regarded as the muse of artist Andy Warhol.  The movie follows Edie’s rise and fall and will keep you engrossed until the very end.

Ramen Girl:  In one of her last movies, Brittany Murphy portrays Abby, a girl who travels all the way to Tokyo with her boyfriend, only to be dumped when they get there.  Abby decides it’s time to pursue her own dream of becoming a ramen cook.


Requiem for a Dream:  Jared Leto is a handsome guy who, along with his girlfriend, best friend, and mother, are drug addicts spiraling out of control.  It’s not a happy film, but is an accurate and powerful depiction of the ugliness that is drug abuse.


Ellie Parker:  Starring Naomi Watts, this film follows actress wannabe Ellie through multiple rejections and frustrations, both professional and personal.  This film highlights the tough business that is the LA movie scene.


Donnie Darko:  Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this twist-filled movie about mystery, growing up, and romance.  You may want to watch it more than once just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.


The Runaways:  Featuring Kristen Stewart as 80’s rocker Joan Jett, this film tells the story of Jett’s band, The Runaways.  It features everything you’d expect, including sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Before Sunrise and its sequel Before Sunset:  Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meet on a train and spend one night together in Vienna before going back to their “real” lives in the first film.  The second film reunites the pair nine years later in Paris.


Secretary:  Starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, this sexy film follows Lee as she starts a new job as a secretary.  She soons finds out that her boss’s romantic interest will lead to some erotic adventures.


500 Days of Summer:  Summer and Tom, played by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph-Gordon Levitt, fall in love.  After a few months, things go off track, teaching us all lessons about love and commitment issues.

The next time you’re in the mood for something other than big-studio fare, one of these titles could be just the ticket!


Baylee’s Comparison Reviews of the Best Juicers

Juicing your own fresh produce can be a great way to make a healthy, balanced diet even better or a way to get closer to that healthy balance our bodies need to function at their best.  Finding the best juicer for you can seem like a tough task given how many different brands and models there are.  Below, we’ll take a look at the different types of juicers and what features you should consider when you begin your own search.

On the specialty juicer side, citrus juicers are probably the most popular.  As you might imagine, these juicers are designed for citrus fruits only.  They’re very much like automatic versions of the old press or twist manual juicers we’ve all seen before.  You cut your citrus fruit in half, with the peeling still on, and insert one half at a time into the juicer.  Citrus juicers use some combination of pressing and twisting to extract juice.  Many models will spin in one direction and then the other for maximum extraction.


Another popular specialty juicer is the wheatgrass juicer.  As aptly named as the citrus juicer, a wheatgrass juicer is designed to handle wheatgrass, which can be a tough task for some general purpose juicers.  Many of these juicers actually resemble meat grinders and rely on manual cranking.  Some models are able to readily handle some softer fruits and vegetables, too.


When it comes to general purpose juicers, there are centrifugal models and masticating models.  Centrifugal juicers chop your produce into small pieces and then spin those pieces at high speed, which allows the liquid to be separated from the solid.  These are the lightest and less expensive models among general purpose juicers, but they do produce less juice than their masticating counterparts.  The centrifugal (spinning) action does allow more air to get into the juice (a process called oxidation) than masticating models, which some say has a slightly negative impact on the taste of the juice.  Most people don’t complain about the juice tasting bad, they just seem to notice a difference between the taste of juice coming from centrifugal juicers versus masticating juicers.  The other drawback to centrifugal juicers is that the spinning action produces enough heat to warm the juice too much for some people’s taste.  Despite some reports to the contrary, though, centrifugal juicers don’t produce anywhere near enough heat to “kill” any of the juice’s nutrients.

Masticating juicers work a lot like our own chewing process, which makes sense since “masticating” means “chewing.”  An auger presses and crushes your produce, sending the juice through a screen and leaving the pulp behind.  These models are typically more expensive, weigh more, and have a larger footprint than centrifugal models, but also produce more juice.  This higher yield can make a masticating model more cost effective in the long run since you can get more juice from less produce.  You can check out juicer reviews for top picks of various types of juicers, including specialty and commercial models.


As you decide which model will work best for you, there a few other things to consider.  All juicers have containers for holding juice and waste (pulp from which the juice has been removed).  Understanding the capacity of these containers, as well as how much produce a model can process at once, can help you find the machine that will make enough juice to meet your needs without having to load, empty, and reload too often.


If your counter space is limited, be sure to look for models with footprints that will work for you or models that are light enough or easy enough to handle that you can easily move them around or up and down into and out of cabinets as needed.
The last thing you’ll definitely want to understand about your new juicer is how easy or difficult it is to get it clean.  You will have to clean it thoroughly after use, so be sure you’re okay with that process before you get it home.  Like most other things, the best juicer in the world isn’t worth half of what you paid for it if you don’t actually use it!