At WIRED, we’ve got nothing but love for robots, aliens, and mutants. (Really! You should see our lobby sometime!) But as the summer-movie season hits the midway point, we find ourselves longing for a break from the sort of big-budget, bigger-body-count films that seem to open every three days or so. Here are six excellent movies that deserve your attention—and, perhaps, a place on your end-of-the-year best-of list.

Weiner

Think you’re the greatest narcissist of all time? Just wait ‘til you see the self-obsessed antics depicted in this documentary about former Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose career was undone by a sexting scandal. Focusing on Weiner’s 2013 mayoral run—and the effect it has on his wife, Huma, whose quiet suffering is communicated via downward gazes and folded arms—Weiner rides shotgun as its titular subject/self-sacrificial lamb confronts smarmy talk-show hosts, pissed-off constituents-to-be, and his own past, each time using his mouth to dig himself into a deeper hole. It’s an intimate, hilarious, increasingly phantasmal tale of pure-ego behavior, one that’s best watched through closed fingers. —Brian Raftery

Think you’re the greatest narcissist of all time? Just wait ‘til you see the self-obsessed antics depicted in this documentary about former Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose career was undone by a sexting scandal. Focusing on Weiner’s 2013 mayoral run—and the effect it has on his wife, Huma, whose quiet suffering is communicated via downward gazes and folded arms—Weiner rides shotgun as its titular subject/self-sacrificial lamb confronts smarmy talk-show hosts, pissed-off constituents-to-be, and his own past, each time using his mouth to dig himself into a deeper hole. It’s an intimate, hilarious, increasingly phantasmal tale of pure-ego behavior, one that’s best watched through closed fingers. —Brian Raftery

Maggie’s Plan

It’s rare to walk out of a theater and think, “Wow, that movie about failed relationships was fucking delightful,” but writer-director Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy is so slyly funny and spot-on, you can’t help but fall for it. Greta Gerwig plays a young New Yorker who’s thisclose to getting her life together when she meets an aspiring novelist (Ethan Hawke) and his academically accomplished wife (Julianne Moore, employing a wonderfully ridiculous Danish accent). A series of break-ups and meltdowns ensue, allowing Miller to highlight the cast’s super-powers: Gerwig’s winning naiveté; Hawke’s daydreaming aloofness; Moore’s sturdy timing. Maggie’s Plan is a movie for, and about, immature grown-ups everywhere. —Brian Raftery

It’s rare to walk out of a theater and think, “Wow, that movie about failed relationships was fucking delightful,” but writer-director Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy is so slyly funny and spot-on, you can’t help but fall for it. Greta Gerwig plays a young New Yorker who’s thisclose to getting her life together when she meets an aspiring novelist (Ethan Hawke) and his academically accomplished wife (Julianne Moore, employing a wonderfully ridiculous Danish accent). A series of break-ups and meltdowns ensue, allowing Miller to highlight the cast’s super-powers: Gerwig’s winning naiveté; Hawke’s daydreaming aloofness; Moore’s sturdy timing. Maggie’s Plan is a movie for, and about, immature grown-ups everywhere. —Brian Raftery

De Palma

Director Brian De Palma has made some very good movies (Blow Out, Carrie), some very bad movies (The Bonfire of the Vanities), and a few movies that fall within the “I literally can’t tell if this is brilliant or terrible” category (Raising Cain). In this densely packed but appropriately obsessive documentary, he talks about every entry in his decades-long filmography, telling tales of studio battles and on-set scuffles (boy, that Sean Penn sure sounds like a fun dude to work with!). Those looking for unknown biographical details will have to search elsewhere, but movie goobers eager for intel on cult hits like The Phantom of the Paradise or Sisters will have a blast. —Brian Raftery

Director Brian De Palma has made some very good movies (Blow Out, Carrie), some very bad movies (The Bonfire of the Vanities), and a few movies that fall within the “I literally can’t tell if this is brilliant or terrible” category (Raising Cain). In this densely packed but appropriately obsessive documentary, he talks about every entry in his decades-long filmography, telling tales of studio battles and on-set scuffles (boy, that Sean Penn sure sounds like a fun dude to work with!). Those looking for unknown biographical details will have to search elsewhere, but movie goobers eager for intel on cult hits like The Phantom of the Paradise or Sisters will have a blast. —Brian Raftery

Swiss Army Man

A divisive entry at Sundance, where it became known as “the farting-corpse movie”—Zoolander 2 hadn’t come out yet—Swiss Army Man opens on an empty beach, where a desperate, bearded castaway named Hank (Paul Dano) is about to kill himself. But when the sea coughs up a gassy dead body (Daniel Radcliffe), Hank uses it to fart-ski to safety, and as they try to make it home, the duo strike up a deep, imaginative, possibly hallucinatory friendship. Swiss is much smarter (and much fartier) than you’d expect—a mix of the profound and the profoundly stupid, anchored by a pair of spot-on, admirably committed performances. You’ll never look at a dead body the same way again (assuming you look at dead bodies a lot, you weirdo). —Brian Raftery

A divisive entry at Sundance, where it became known as “the farting-corpse movie”—Zoolander 2 hadn’t come out yet—Swiss Army Man opens on an empty beach, where a desperate, bearded castaway named Hank (Paul Dano) is about to kill himself. But when the sea coughs up a gassy dead body (Daniel Radcliffe), Hank uses it to fart-ski to safety, and as they try to make it home, the duo strike up a deep, imaginative, possibly hallucinatory friendship. Swiss is much smarter (and much fartier) than you’d expect—a mix of the profound and the profoundly stupid, anchored by a pair of spot-on, admirably committed performances. You’ll never look at a dead body the same way again (assuming you look at dead bodies a lot, you weirdo). —Brian Raftery

The Neon Demon

Neon Demon is a Nicolas Winding Refn movie. If you know Refn’s work, you know that means it’s colorful, probably violent, and more than probably discomfiting. Neon Demon is indeed all of those things; however, on this film Refn stepped away from the machismo of films like Drive and Bronson and instead chose to focus on a young ingenue (played by Elle Fanning) who moves to LA to make it in modeling. Naturally, the town and its status-hungry denizens threaten to chew her up and spit her out, but because this is a Refn film, what actually happens is watch-with-held-breath intense. —Angela Watercutter

Neon Demon is a Nicolas Winding Refn movie. If you know Refn’s work, you know that means it’s colorful, probably violent, and more than probably discomfiting. Neon Demon is indeed all of those things; however, on this film Refn stepped away from the machismo of films like Drive and Bronson and instead chose to focus on a young ingenue (played by Elle Fanning) who moves to LA to make it in modeling. Naturally, the town and its status-hungry denizens threaten to chew her up and spit her out, but because this is a Refn film, what actually happens is watch-with-held-breath intense. —Angela Watercutter

The Lobster

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ English-language debut The Lobster presents a speculative dystopia that surely resonates with anyone feeling besieged by dating apps: single people check into a hotel where they’re given 45 days to find a partner; if they fail, they’re turned into an animal. While a resident of the hotel, David (Colin Farrell) endures enough forced socializing and pro-couple propaganda to make anyone want to run for a monastery. It’s a darkly cynical film, but also a pitch-perfect observer of the trajectory so many are expected to follow. —K.M. McFarland

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ English-language debut The Lobster presents a speculative dystopia that surely resonates with anyone feeling besieged by dating apps: single people check into a hotel where they’re given 45 days to find a partner; if they fail, they’re turned into an animal. While a resident of the hotel, David (Colin Farrell) endures enough forced socializing and pro-couple propaganda to make anyone want to run for a monastery. It’s a darkly cynical film, but also a pitch-perfect observer of the trajectory so many are expected to follow. —K.M. McFarland

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Forget the Multiplex: 6 Franchise-Free Movies You Need to See this Summer