Monday, December 2, 2013

My List of Highly Underrated (or Unknown) Movies

I live with a man who has never seen Grease, The Wizard of Oz, or, prior to last month, Billy Madison.  This is a guy who, when I talked about Gone with the Wind and how I loved it, responded with, "What's so great about it?  Isn't it about, like...horses?"  It's needless to say that the list I made of movies for us to watch together spanned more than just a couple of pages.  So when we finally watched Labyrinth together (one of my favorite childhood movies), my hopes were high.  Unfortunately, he fell asleep less than halfway through it.  I don't know who could fall asleep while David Bowie is singing about stealing babies.  His argument was that I have poor taste in movies, but my argument was that I just see the value in all sorts of underrated movies, while he does not!  And I shouldn't listen to someone who claims his favorite movie is Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween.

Anyway.  The following are movies which I absolutely LOVE but which get almost no credit, in my opinion - not just from my horror-movie-obsessed husband, either.  If you haven't seen these movies, get 'em on your list - they're great!! (All videos from youtube)

500 Days of Summer
This movie sparked my love for all things Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Zooey Deschanel (who I also love, and who is rocking some cute bangs and outfits in this movie) plays Summer, a girl who "doesn't believe in love."  JGL plays Tom, who falls for her.  I don't love Zooey's character in this movie, but that's basically the only thing I don't love about it.  It is probably the most creative movie I have ever seen, in terms of the way they shot it.  Chloe Moretz also plays Tom's badass little sister, and the movie has an amazing soundtrack.  I just can't even say enough good things about this movie.  Go watch it!

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
I'm actually not sure if this movie is underrated or not, because honestly, it's kind of a piece of crap.  But it's funny, campy, 1989 awesomeness, and I love it.  Bill and Ted are like the poor man's Wayne and Garth, and somehow, they manage to travel through time collecting historical figures (including Beethoven and Socrates) for their school's history project.  It's just fun.  "Be excellent to each other."  :)  Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, though?  Not so excellent.

Blue Valentine
Michelle Williams got an Oscar nod for her role in this movie, and while her acting was definitely amazing, I thought Ryan Gosling got the shaft.  He was SO GOOD in his role of a tired, run-down father and husband that he made me cry, like, three different times!  Michelle's character was kind of a bitch, to be honest.  This movie has too many feelings for me, but you should definitely give it a try.  It's worth it just for the scene where Mr. Gosling plays the ukelele and sings while Michelle dances.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Rodrick Rules
Let's get one thing straight up front:  I HATED the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  HATED IT.  I thought the main character was a dickhead (if I'm allowed to say that about a child) and wasn't "wimpy" at all - he was just a bully asshole.  Okay.  Now that that's cleared up, I loved its sequel.  For whatever reason, I found this movie absolutely hilarious.  I don't know if it's because the chubby friend lip synchs to Tik Tok, or because the main character "poops his pants" at church.  Probably both.  This kid's movie made me laugh out loud, which rarely happens!

Dirty Girl
This little-known campy treasure is more of a drama than a comedy, but it's soooo funny to me.  It's set in 1987, so needless to say, it has a great soundtrack.  Danielle and her new, closeted gay friend Clark are going on a road trip to find Danielle's father.  It's equal parts funny, sweet, and sad, and there's a male stripper scene (at a drive-in movie, no less) that can't be beat.  :)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
This movie is all in French, but don't be put off by the subtitles!  This is a true story about the former Elle editor, Jean Bauby, who suffers a stroke and becomes completely paralyzed.  His left eye is the only thing that he can move, and with it, he learns to communicate.  It is amazing and horribly, horribly sad.  Definitely worth the watch, but make sure to have lots of tissues handy.

Eight Below
Since the news of Paul Walker's death, I have been wanting to watch one of his movies.  I'm not a fan of the Fast and Furious series, but I love Eight Below.  Dogs are very close to my heart, and this movie is about what happens to them when two Antarctic explorers have to leave them to fend for themselves.  Sweet, sad, and touching; I think it is one of Paul Walker's best.

I don't understand why this movie wasn't more popular than it was.  Starring a young Reese Witherspoon and a sexy, sexy Mark Wahlberg, this movie is about a scarily-abusive relationship.  

Going the Distance
This romantic comedy stars Justin Long and Drew Barrymore.  I have no idea why it's not more popular than it is.  It is more raunchy than most romantic comedies, but I thought it was a helluva lot more funny too!  I don't like Justin Long at all, but I was willing to overlook his feminine mouth for this hilarious movie about a long-distance relationship.

Again, since dogs are so close to my heart, I included this sweet true story about a dog who is faithful to his owner, even after extreme circumstances part them.  Richard Gere plays a college professor who rescues Hachi and forms an amazing bond with him.  Grab tissues on this one.  :(

I don't normally enjoy documentaries that much, but this was a great one.  It was all about what constitutes happiness in different places around the world, and how some countries can need so little and still be so so happy.  It was inspiring and uplifting, but I guess it has to be with a title like "Happy."

Hot Rod
Rod (Andy Samberg) is a stuntman who isn't so great at his job.  That is the premise of this movie that makes me pee my pants laughing.  The first time I watched it, I hated it, but it only gets better the more you watch it, so give it a chance!  It is definitely dumb humor, so you have to watch it with pretty unsophisticated expectations.  This is probably one of my favorite movies of all time.

The Impossible
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are FANTASTIC in this fist-clenching movie about the 2004 tsunami off the coast of Thailand.  A true story, it's all about what happens when one family gets separated from one another in the tragedy.  It's emotional and it makes your pulse race.  The three young boys put on a wonderful performance as well.

Okay, I haven't seen this one in quite some time, so forgive me if you watch it and it sucks.  Based on Shakespeare's Othello, this movie stars Julia Stiles and Josh Hartnett.  It centers around a high school basketball player and the lengths his friend will go to in order to manipulate him.  Pretty dramatic stuff.

The Orphanage
This Spanish ghost story is the work of Guillermo del Toro.  Again, don't let the subtitles deter you - it's a pretty terrifying movie.  A woman moves back to her childhood orphanage with her son, who begins communicating with an unseen friend.  It sounds cliched, but del Toro does something really unexpected with the typical ghost story.  I love this.

Pan's Labyrinth
Another Spanish subtitled film by Guillermo del Toro, and I love this one just as much.  A spooky tale about a stepdaughter of an awful army officer who steps into a fantasy world to escape.  Creepy and strange and awesome!

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Based on the true story of a 1950s housewife who wins contests in order to support her ten children.  Starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson, who does an impeccable job in the role of a reluctant, grumpy husband.  This movie captivated me.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
This movie stars the adorable Michael Cera, who must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.  Silly and fun, with tons of video game references.

This fun summertime movie was filmed in 1989 but set in swingin' sixties Myrtle Beach.  Four girlfriends head to Myrtle Beach for an irresponsible weekend of boys and drinking.  Starring Bridget Fonda and Phoebe Cates.  I love the fashion and music of this movie; it always perks me up when I feel down.

The Slammin' Salmon
Brought to you by the same guys who made Super Troopers, this movie is a not-quite-as-good version of Waiting.  A group of waiters decide to see who can make the most money in one night.  Hijinks ensue, etc.  The late, great Michael Clarke Duncan plays the owner of the restaurant.  It's a pretty dumb movie, but there are some parts that I find hilarious!

This movie is based on a novel by Neil Gaiman, and I actually enjoyed the movie better, for once.  It stars Claire Danes, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert DeNiro, and the plot is absolutely magical!  Ewan McGregor's character ventures past the wall that separates our world from a magical realm, and he runs into a fallen star (Claire Danes).  I loved this.  It's like a grown up fairy tale.

Stir of Echoes
This horror/suspense movie goes largely unnoticed, and I don't know why, because I think it's great!  Kevin Bacon plays a guy who, once hypnotized, finds himself seeing things that other people don't.  A young girl begins appearing to him, and he finds himself trying to resolve the mystery that surrounds her.  I think it's an awesome plot, and the little boy who plays Kevin Bacon's son is frigging adorable.

Okay.  Don't judge me for liking this movie.  I don't even know why.  It is so cheesy and campy and fun that I can't help but love it.  Two guys and a girl end up roomed together in a college dorm.  At first, things are awkward between them.  But then the three become close friends...and maybe a bit more?  Sigh.  It's just fun.

Willard has some kind of bond with rats, and he uses them to fulfill his sociopathic wishes.  I don't really know how to explain this movie.  It's very weird, and Crispin Glover creeps me the eff out as Willard.  Watch this wanting to laugh at it.  Watched while in a good mood, it's super fun, if a bit creepy.

Yes Man
I grow tired of Jim Carrey quickly, and him and Zooey Deschanel do NOT a couple make.  Put those things aside, and I really love this movie.  It was kind of a box office flop, but it inspires me - basically, Jim Carrey's character makes a pact to say "yes" to everything for a year.  It made me want to go, like, rock climbing and do karaoke and stuff.  

I'm sure there are more, but I think I have gone on for long enough!  I think all of these movies deserve more recognition than they were given.  Give them a shot if you're bored and see how you like 'em!


No comments:

Post a Comment