As usual, summer 2024 is full of exciting new releases from major studios. Big-budget films deserve their fanfare, but we’re also thrilled by smaller-budget films from indie studios!

To make sure they get some love this summer, we thought it was high time for another indie film roundup!

As you read our list, you will see links to legitimate sites where you can stream films if their theatrical windows have passed. Otherwise, you will see links to sites where you can find showtimes at a theater near you.

Babes (Neon)

When Dawn (Michelle Buteau) promises to support her friend Eden (Ilana Glazer), Dawn assumes that Eden will make the sensible decision about her unplanned pregnancy. Instead, Dawn becomes frazzled as she is pulled between her demanding friend and her own biological family.

Replete with frank body humor, the film tells a hilarious yet moving story about the bond between two women. When Dawn and Eden’s friendship is put to the test, will they reconsider the meaning of family? Or can Eden depend only on a formidable doula named Dragana?

See this side-splitting comedy at a theater near you beginning May 17.

Tuesday (A24)

While sitting in a garden, a sick girl named Tuesday (Lola Petticrew) receives an otherworldly visitor. The messenger comes in the form of a red macaw with drab graying feathers and a husky voice. Eventually, he tells Tuesday’s mother, Zora (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), that it is time to say goodbye to her daughter.

The visitor is Death (Arinzé Kene). Firmly yet politely, he imparts the wisdom to die gracefully, as Tuesday must, and to live on after loss, as Zora fears she cannot do. Their journeys are the subject of Tuesday, a beautiful debut by Daina Oniunas-Pusic.

See this poignant film at a theater near you beginning June 14.

The Bikeriders (Focus Features)

In 1965, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts has a brilliant idea: They should start a riding club with matching denim jackets! Soon, the friends are cruising around Chicago proclaiming they are the Vandals. What a wholesome activity for a Sunday, right?

Unfortunately, the club lives up to its name as the founder, Johnny (Tom Hardy), steers his friends toward violent crime. He expects his chosen successor, Benny (Austin Butler), to continue racketeering, but Benny has good influence from Kathy (Jodie Comer). Can she save him from Johnny’s gang?

See this drama, based on Danny Lyon’s photojournalism, in a theater near you beginning June 21.

Kinds of Kindness (Searchlight Pictures)

Director Yorgos Lanthimos didn’t stop after Poor Things won the Golden Lion at the 2023 Venice Film Festival. Neither did Emma Stone, who won the Academy Award® for Lead Actress. They’re back to tell three stories of deranged souls with outrageous demands.

First, a tyrannical boss (Willem Dafoe) expects his employee, Robert (Jesse Plemons), to crash a car according to precise specifications. Next, a police officer (also played by Plemons) reunites with his missing wife (Emma Stone) but pushes her further and further to prove her identity. Finally, two cult members (again portrayed by Plemons and Stone) search for their foretold messiah.

See this surreal film in a theater near you beginning June 21.

Thelma (Magnolia Pictures)

At 93 years old, Thelma (June Squib) is hard of hearing, unsteady on her feet, and unfamiliar with new technology. The last explains why she falls prey to a common telephone scam and transfers money to someone posing as her grandson. The mistake costs her almost $10,000.

Thelma didn’t make it to her age by being demure, so she eases aboard a motorized scooter and sets out to recover her money. With help from her friend Ben (Richard Roundtree), she plans to teach the scammers a lesson they won’t soon forget.

See this tale of a vigilante granny in a theater near you beginning June 21.

Janet Planet (A24)

We have it on good authority that Annie Baker writes with “limpid naturalism,” displaying “Chekhovian powers of intimate observation.” Our take on the Pulitzer Prize winner’s debut film isn’t so polished. We’re simply riveted by the dialogue between Janet (Julianne Nicholson) and her precocious daughter, Lacy (Zoe Ziegler).

Lacy has only just finished fifth grade, but she gives wise advice to her careworn mother. As they meet new and old friends during a fateful summer, they begin to wonder if the future holds something different for each of them.

See this introspective film in a theater near you beginning June 24.

Dìdi (Focus Features)

At Sundance 2024, this film about a Taiwanese American family won an Audience Award and a Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble. You’ll understand why when you see the dynamics between the characters.

Dìdi (Izaac Wang) jump-starts his teenage rebellion by making questionable friends and posting videos of their shenanigans.  He trades insults with his sister (Shirley Chen) – “lizard bitch” for “pizza face” – but she still covers for him when he gets his first hangover. Most importantly, Dìdi’s mother loves him fiercely despite the embarrassments he causes.

See this heartfelt film in a theater near you beginning July 26.

Borderlands (Lionsgate)

“God, I hate this planet,” says Lilith (Cate Blanchett), an orange-haired mercenary. She’s not doomscrolling through the news, which is usually when we feel a similar sentiment. Instead, she’s confronting a post-apocalyptic desert world, home to bloodthirsty gang members, monstrous megafauna, and the aptly named Piss Wash Gully.

Fortunately or not, she has help from the impatient soldier Roland (Kevin Hart), eccentric scientist Tannis (Jamie Lee Curtis), deranged robot Claptrap (Jack Black), psychotic barbarian Krieg (Florian Munteanu), and bunny-eared pyromaniac Tiny Tina (Ariana Greenblatt). The cast brings the Borderlands video gamesto vivid, chaotic life!

See this sci fi adventure in a theater near you beginning August 9.

That’s our roundup! There may not be a “Barbenheimer” this summer, but we can suggest some great indie pairings. Fair warning: Our ideal double feature is Mad Max: Fury Road and James Gunn’s Suicide Squad. Your choices may differ!

After immersing yourself in the macho world of The Bikeriders, you can unwind with two women’s outrageous antics in Babes. For philosophical meditation followed by exuberant action, try Tuesday and Borderlands. As a final suggestion, watch Kinds of Kindness twice in one day.

We warned you that we are a little bonkers. If you prefer to create a pairing of your own, there are plenty of possibilities on our list!

Until next time, find some creativity wherever you can. Stay safe, and be well. #StandCreative