Underrated Movies

Posted on 12 Dec 23:30



The following movies are not praised or appreciated as much as they should be. Every movie doesn't need to become a hit, however, the following movies do deserve more appreciation because of their direction, acting or story line.

1)  Little Man Tate (1991)

It is a family-drama marking Jodie Foster’s directorial debut. The movie was not heavily budgeted and still achieved commercial success as well as critics’ appreciation and praise for the performances of the cast, direction, and screenplay. The cast of the movie includes Adam Hann-Byrd as Fred Tate, Jodie Foster as Dede Tate, Harry Connick Jr. as Eddie, David Hyde Pierce as Garth Emmerick, Debi Mazar as Gina, P.J. Ochlan as Damon Wells, and Dianne Wiest as Jane Grierson.

The movie depicts the struggles of a single parent, Dede, whose child, Fred, is unable to adjust in the society due to his exceptionally high intellectual, he is a genius. Jane, who runs a school for gifted children, takes Fred into her school and hopes that he will find friends. Later, Fred is enrolled in a university where he studies quantum physics and becomes friends with Eddie, who enjoys his company, but tells Fred that he must be with friends of his own age. Fred through many ups and downs eventually accepts and settles into his life as a genius, and makes friends on his way to adjusting to life in general.

2)  Nightcrawler (2014)

A thriller and crime-related adventure movie that is based on a profession called stringer, a journalist who works freelance. It is written and directed by Dan Gilroy, who first intended to make a movie about the American photographer, Weegee. The movie was made on minimal budget but became highly successful and was acknowledged by critics as well.  A few of the critics declared it as one of the best movies of 2014 and it received numerous nominations including Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. In the cast, it has Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis "Lou" Bloom, Rene Russo as Nina Romina, Riz Ahmed as Rick, and Bill Paxton as Joe Loder. The plot involves stringer, Lou, who records footage of crime scenes and takes photographs of similar events and sells them to a news channel. He is fired from a construction site for stealing, and he sees Joe recording news footage who then tells him about being a stringer. Lou attempts to record news footage but is unsuccessful.  Eventually, a carjacking incident recording makes him some money when he sells to Nina, a news director. She demands more footage of graphic violence which causes Lou to begin to fabricate some crime scenes. A triple-homicide home invasion is a turning point for Lou as he and Rick record a gunman and inside the crime scene footage and demands more money and credit from Nina. The incident becomes out of control and a shootout results in the death of Rick because of Lou’s greed. 

3)  Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

A fantasy drama movie about family relationships. It is directed, co-written, and co-scored by Benh Zeitin, it is an adaptation from Alibar’s one-act play, Juicy and Delicious. It was presented at film festivals before being released in theaters worldwide and gained both commercial and critical appreciation for its performances and cinematography. It was nominated in four categories at the Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress making Quvenzhané Wallis the youngest nominee. The movie stars Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy, Dwight Henry as Wink, Levy Easterly as Jean Battiste, and Philip Lawrence as Dr. Maloney.

The plot of the movie revolves around the relationship of father, Wink, and daughter, Hushpuppy, who live in a separated community called Bathtub. As a storm is nearing, ailing Wink and Hushpuppy build a barricade for their survival as the storm passes by. The destruction results in moving the community to a shelter where Wink dies after Hushpuppy returns from unsuccessfully looking for her lost mother.

4)  Signs (2002)

The obsession over the invasion of aliens in cinema is overwhelming. The movie, Signs, is a science-fiction thriller. It is directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan. It was received positively by the audience and critics but also had some criticism of the script. The movie was nominated for several categories in the Online Film Critics Society and the Empire Awards and won an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. The cast includes Mel Gibson as Father Graham Hess, Joaquin Phoenix as Merrill Hess, Rory Culkin as Morgan Hess, and Abigail Breslin as Bo Hess.

The story is about a family who has found a new place to live at a farmhouse. Father Graham has lost his faith since the death of her wife and his brother Merrill lives with the family. After some time, the family discovers crop-circles in their cornfields that they come to eventually learn, represent a sign of communication with a hostile alien. Soon the whole world is facing an invasion and the Hess family try to survive a night stranded with aliens in their home. 

5)  District 9 (2009)

District 9 is directed and co-written by Neill Blomkamp and adapted from his short movie, Alive in Joburg. The movie included footage of interviews, news and surveillance cameras to make the concept of aliens believable. The release was a huge success commercially and critically as it won several awards and was nominated at the Academy Awards in categories of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing. The performances, direction, and story were much appreciated and a few critics considered it one of the best sci-fi movies of the 2000s. The cast of the movie consists of Sharlto Copley as Wikus van de Merwe, Jason Cope as Christopher Johnson, and David James as Colonel Koobus.

The plot of the movie is about an alien invasion in the city of Johannesburg.  The aliens are malnourished and sick. They are captured and moved to a camp in District 9. After a few years, the camp turns into a slum, and the humans complain that the aliens (called Prawns) are fility, and the government decides to relocate it with the help of MNU who puts Wikus in-charge. Christopher with his son and a friend try to escape the earth by developing spaceship fuel but Wikus accidently sprays it on himself and begins turning into an alien. Wikus learns about the experiments at MNU and helps Christopher to escape, but they are unable to and relocate outside the city in a camp known as District 10. 

6)  The Master (2012)

A classic psychological drama movie that received appreciation and praise worldwide. It is written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson. The movie is inspired by multiple sources. It was the first movie to be shot and released in 70 mm since 1996. The performances, story line, direction, and screenplay was highly praised by the critics and declared it the 24th greatest movie of the 21st century. Furthermore, it was nominated at the Academy Awards in the categories of Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. The cast of the movie includes Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd, Amy Adams as Peggy Dodd, and Laura Dern as Helen Sullivan.

The plot revolves around a World War II veteran, Freddie, struggling to adjust in post-war society because of his violent behavior. He encounters Dodd who runs a movement, The Cause and asks Freddie to be a part of it. Freddie develops interest and stays with Dodd and his family as Dodd starts questioning Freddie about his past. Freddie becomes possessive and obsessed with the movement and Dodd as he assaults anyone questioning the movement. This behavior begins to bother the other members. They go separate ways in England when Dodd asks Freddie to stay with the movement and devote his life instead he leaves him. This film conjures many psychological questions.

7)  Gran Torino (2008)

A drama-thriller which is also the first mainstream American movie to feature Hmong Americans. It is directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. The performances and direction were praised by the critics particularly the Hmong community and it became Clint’s second-highest grossing movie. It stars Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski, Bee Vang as Thao Vang Lo, Ahney Her as Sue Lo, and Christopher Carley as Father Janovich. The plot of the movie shows Walt, who is a veteran separated from his family and has anger issues. His neighbor Thao tries to steal Walt’s 1972 Ford Gran Torino to start his gang but is caught. Walt develops a relationship with the boy and his family and gets himself involved in a feud with a local gang. 


The above mentioned movies are underrated,and therefore, overlooked by broad audience, but should have been more successful.  With time, they may become found gems among movie buffs and general audience alike.

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