Many years from now, when people talk about the movies of 2014, they'll bring up Richard Linklater's long-game gamble, Michael Keaton swooping back on to the screen in a big way, the soul-deadening lows of the summer's Transformers blockbuster and the soul-nourishing highs of the awards-season biopic Selma. They'll hum "Hooked on a Feeling" as they strike Guardians of the Galaxy poses a la Chris Pratt or sing "Everything Is Awesome" as they strike The Lego Movie poses a la Chris Pratt. But while these future film historians will probably hit all the high-profile talking points of the year in big-screen hits and misses, there's a good chance that they'll forget to mention the slew of often eccentric, equally worthy (and occasionally superior) smaller movies that opened in 2o14. Big up Boyhood and Birdman — but what about The Babadook?
So we've gathered a dozen oddball-to-obscure MVP titles from the class of 2014 that were, more often than not, criminally overlooked; these were the year's best movies that flew under the mainstream radar, were too way-out-there to attract the audience they deserved or simply came and went before folks could catch up with them. (A gem like Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin is definitely oddball; the fact that it occupies a space on our film critic's year-end Top 10 list keeps it from being completely "overlooked" and thus disqualifies its inclusion here.) Attention must be paid. These 12 films may not be for all tastes, but they're all worth your time.