The limited availability of resolutions is due to missing video card drivers. Linux is only packaged with free software and thus does not usually include drivers for your specific video card. If you list your video card make and number, I'm sure we could find you one.
Personally I am a fan of Linux Mint for beginners. It is built on top of Ubuntu and includes device driver locators, making it easy to find all the drivers you need. Main Page - Linux Mint