In this over-hyped, media-fed culture that we live in it's hard to have solid opinions about anything anymore. A couple of years ago everyone was rushing to the theater to see Avatar, helping the movie garner over a billion dollars to become the highest grossing movie of all time. But, were people going because they wanted to see Avatar or were they going because the hype made them want to go see Avatar? Hype is what the movie business is all about now and these 10 movies deserved way better hype than they ever got (in my opinion).
Honorable mentions: Match Point, Stranger Than Fiction, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 10 Things I hate About You, Jingle All the Way, Memento, Shaun of the Dead, The Virgin Suicides
10. SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT
No, this isn't a joke. Rarely does a sequel out-do the original movie like Sister Act 2 does. Whoopi Goldberg is at her comedic best as Sister Mary Clarence, who returns to the convent that helped her in the first film to return the favor. The music is great, especially when Lauryn Hill (on the cusps of her The Fugees fame) takes the lead. And, who can resist a good, 90's beat box and rap.
9. DEMOLITION MAN
Sylvester Stallone may have become a joke to most people by the 90's, but this little sci-fi movie is actually way smarter than it gets credit for. The script is witty. The visuals are top notch, especially for an action film at the time. Wesley Snipes is good as the bad guy. Sandra Bullock shows us why we love her so much. And, Stallon is actually pretty good. Plus, a world in which Taco Bell is considered "fancy" is an interestingly enough fact to make you want to watch.
This little comedy somehow come out under the radar and hasn't really ever made the splash it should have. With a killer young cast including Jena Malone, Mandy Moore (playing a good villain), and the return of Macauley Culkin, Saved is a genius comedy that most people wrote off as being "sacrilegious" before ever giving it a chance. Yes, there are a lot of tongue-in-cheek scenes, but the overall message redeems the movie and actually makes the whole thing worthwhile. I'd venture to say that, even though it seems like it's making fun of Christians, it's actually the most meaningful Christian movie I've ever seen.
7. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
Ok, so it's not necessarily underrated like the others. Critics did like it. Audiences did go see it. But, still, the movie has somehow gone missing under the piles and piles of other movies out there. There's no reason why this movie should have gone without at least an Oscar nomination for it's screenplay, if not for countless other categories. The story is unique and original. The performances are stellar. The movie gets me every time. And, I'm now determined to take a girl on a date to Ikea at some point.
6. LARS & THE REAL GIRL
This is another one of those movies that people just wrote off because it looked to weird and different to be good, but those people are wrong. Ryan Gosling displays one of his best performances to date. The script is perfect. It is hard to explain the story without sounding ridiculous, but it's such a perfect glimpse into feelings of loneliness that you just have to see it to get the full effect. I'll go ahead and warn you that you will think the movie is dumb for the first little bit, but give it a chance. In the end you'll appreciate it. Trust me.
5. RUNNING SCARED
Paul Walker is hard to take seriously as a legit actor, but that's mostly because of his resume. This movie came and went with most people not even bothering to see it. It looked like a knock off, comic book-eqse, action movie of sorts...like every other movie that came out the past 5 years. But, where other movies rely on over-produce action sequences and lame scripts, this movie does the opposite. Yes, you get some incredible action scenes and thrilling edge-of-your-seat moments, but you also get some top-notch acting and a clever story.
Cameron Crowe had made a name for himself as a director before this movie came out, plus Elizabethtown had quite the young, big-name cast including Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, so it was a surprise that the movie bombed. Crowe does an incredible job of encapsulating the big-city versus small-town overlay throughout the film as Bloom's character comes to realize just what "home" really means. And the relationship that builds between his character and Dunst's is one of the greatest in recent movie history. The final 10 minutes are movie magic at it's best.
This movie is not only underrated, but most people have never even heard of it. Gus Van Sant's epic tale of a high school shooting is wrapped in killer performances by actual high school students. The eery music and blatant, deadpan filming style are what make the movie have the impact that it does. It's an incredible view into the lives of every day teenagers, plus a truly masterfully made film.
Kevin Costner owned the early 90's with Dances of Wolves and Robin Hood, but became a joke for this flop of a movie. It's an epic action film set in a world where water has overtaken the earth. The premise is clever and unique, the action is edge-of-your-seat, it's just Costner taking the movie a little too serious that probably puts most people off. It's definitely nowhere near as bad as critics and audiences made it out to be.
1. FORCES OF NATURE
If you know me at all I've probably mentioned this movie before. It's Sandra Bullock at her best. Ben Affleck is actually not that bad either. But, what makes this movie work is that it relies on real-life drama induced humor. It would have been a huge success had it not been mis-marketed as a slapstick, romantic comedy. The visuals are original and the music is perfect. Plus (spoiler alert), it's nice to see a movie end on a real level, not just the feel-good kind.
Agree? Disagree? Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments.