I just watched "Submarine," a 2010 British indie film about a melancholic teenage boy who learns for the first time what it's like to fall in love and schemes to keep his parents marriage from falling apart. Complete with all the irony, whimsy, disaffected-youths-behaving-like-adults, Super 8 film montages, and vintage nods to cassette tapes and Betamax players you could stand. And while Wes Anderson basically invented and trademarked this aesthetic and tone, it's interesting that these tropes have become so universal that, in a few places, 2012's "Moonrise Kindom" feels like it's borrowing from 2010's "Submarine." Specifically when the protagonist in "Submarine" discovers his parents have hidden a book about raising a mentally troubled child. The same plot point occurs in "Moonrise Kingdom, although I've read that Wes Anderson claims to have found such a book in his own house when he was a child.
It was a solid reminder, in case anyone had forgotten, that yes, indie films are still exactly like that. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. It wasn't great. But worth a watch if you like that sort of thing.
However, throughout the film, I could not help imagining that if I had a teenage son right now, he might discover "Submarine" and latch onto it a touchstone for his own life -- being melancholic, falling in love, and so forth. It might be a watershed moment in his appreciation of film. It might seem like a breakthrough piece of art. I wouldn't want to rob him of that moment.
That being said, it would be unfair to let him appreciate this film without being exposed to the direct lineage of similar movies and characters, without which we couldn't have "Submarine." Here's a few films whose influence I couldn't help see in this one. (There are many other examples and knockoffs. This is sort of greatest hits list for the archetype.)
Rushmore (See also, "Bottle Rocket," "The Royal Tenenbaums," and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou")
Harold and Maude
Also, I spent the whole movie thinking the next door neighbor character, a mullet-wearing mystic who believes our souls are prisms that refract the colors of the universe, was played by Sam Rockwell. I was disappointed to think Rockwell still had to play these doofy bit parts. However it wasn't rockwell, it was this guy who looks almost identicle in a mullet wig.
If you're interested in who directed "Submarine." Interestingly enough it was the guy from "The Watch" poster who is not a famous white commedian.