Piper, the Alan Barillaro directed short animated film that opens Pixar’s Finding Dory, is a true work of brilliance. Not only does the film utilize ground-breaking technology to make animated sand, water, sea foam, bubbles, and feathers seem almost more real than real life, but it tells a profound story about the difficulties of growing up and the tough choices parents have to make to teach children to take care of themselves. By the end of this six-minute hair-raising pleasure you can’t help but feel a real kinship to Piper and his survival struggle.

In the world of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster you’re turned into an animal of your choice if you don’t find a mate. Most people choose dogs or at least mammals, but David’s (Colin Farrell) choice is more coldblooded and alien to humans: a lobster. His reasons are fairly logical from an organism’s point of view. The lobster has exceptional reproductive and longevity traits, but the blue-blooded part is a symbolic nod to human social status.

Dennis Wilson ghosted Charles Manson in 1968. Before the Beach Boy quietly moved to a new address without telling Charlie and his gang, he had let the group crash at his Laurel Canyon mansion 24/7. They used Dennis Wilson’s laid back attitude to invade his home and take advantage of his resources. The Manson Family ran up doctor bills treating the constant waves of STDs that rippled through the group (Dennis himself had to take more trips to the doctor during their time with him,) and ordered huge amounts of gourmet food and juice on his tab. They even crashed Wilson’s uninsured Mercedes. It was time for Dennis to move on.

Steven Okazaki’s Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street was a gripping 1999 HBO documentary that peered into the lives of young heroin addicts on the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district in the years 1995-98. Every story followed was heartbreaking and arresting, but Tracey Helton definitely stood out brutally candid honesty.

1991’s Thelma and Louise is a exhilarating thriller about the trouble women can get themselves in just for existing. Just being a woman can feel like a sin sometimes. The expectations put on women are often simple and stifling: look pretty, say little, be pleasing. We get a lot of direct and indirect messages that our sexuality is not our own. Of course, this is a simplification, a generalization, but it is a brutal truth about many moments of a female life. This is what Thelma & Louise addresses with a biting sass.

Jeremy Saulnier, who made waves in independent film with 2013’s Blue Ruin, is back again with Green Room, a perfectly paced horror-thriller. The monsters and scenarios in Green Room are so chilling because they’re familiar and realistic. Saulnier achieved this by ramping up some of the fear-inspiring experiences he had as a young punk scene kid.

My first grade physical education class gave us the option of sitting out most days. Since I preferred to use that time to escape into other worlds, this was a boon for me. There was another reason I loved sitting on the bleachers during P.E.: there was a young girl who would often volunteer to play with my hair. The sensation this caused in me was like any other. It was comfort and warmth, but it was also a physical tingling that I felt below the surface of my skin. It was the most relaxing thing on Earth.