Every year around this time of year I end up investing alot of time trying to catch up on the year in movies before voting in my indie critics circle – The Muriels. That means taking the good with the bad and over the last month I’ve turned off several movies that just weren’t going anywhere. But it also means discovering little gems along the way. Most of these films won’t make my Top 10 list and might not fit into any awards categories but I’m always happy when I find them. Such is the case with – Safety Not Guaranteed, a Sundance darling a year ago that I had mostly ignored until we tried to watch it on the flight back from Amsterdam. I ended up passing out less than 1/4 of the way through on my first attempt but gave it a second chance recently and was glad I did. The script is a sweet exploration of disappointment and missed opportunities that feels strangely familiar and is matched well by the low budget filmmaking style. Released from the caricatured snark of her character on Parks & Rec Aubrey Plaza actually proved to be charming and believable. This movie’s oddball mood and the brilliant character of Arnaud reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite and I really wish they’d found a way to cast Jon Heder instead of Mark Duplass in the lead role but the world is never perfect. While this movie might not change your life it should definitely make you smile and made me nostalgic for the years I got to go out to Sundance and discover weird little films like this.