Today is the birthday of Hal Hartley, whose comedies The Unbelievable Truth and Henry Fool are among my favorites.

In my fleeting moments at home between errands, writing assignments, and teaching opportunities this month, I’ve been revisiting some Hartley films — in fragments, during brief dinner breaks between assignments and obligations — and I find that I am still a sucker for his writing, his rhythms, his humor, and his unpredictable characters.

If you don’t know Hartley, here are a few scenes to give you a sense of what you’ve been missing.

These are from The Unbelievable Truth — easily my favorite of the list. It’s accessible for streaming, but I recommend this first-rate blu-ray edition which makes the film look brand new (and so much better than these lousy YouTube clips).

This first clip features Robert Burke as Josh the Mechanic, the late (and great) Adrienne Shelley as Audrey the despairing teenager, and — wow — Edie Falco before America knew who she was:

And now here’s Audrey at home with her family.

Audrey’s dad is one of my favorite movie characters ever. If I made a list of my favorite movie dads, he’d be way up there with Alan Arkin from Edward Scissorhands.

Other lists I feel like creating just to recommend this movie: Movies That Show What’s Possible With a Shoestring Budget; Movies That Show Romantic Comedies Don’t Need to Be Formulaic; Movies Whose Characters Deserve Sequels.

One of Hartley’s films — Henry Fool, starring James Urbaniak and Thomas Jay Ryan — did inspire sequels: Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum), and Ned Rifle (starring Liam Aiken and Aubrey Plaza, now on Netflix), becoming what seems to me to be the unlikeliest of all film trilogies. And here are some special moments with the title character: