Most Underrated Movies From This Century

Image: Lionsgate

Regardless of their favorite genre, people always complain about the lack of different movies, those who go against the typical making-pattern, what’s “hot right now”, the passion projects with something to say, and what the studio executives think the audience wants. And yet when we get these types of films they often get overlooked and remain underappreciated. Sometimes movies tend to have their resurgence as an event or a cult following might make them relevant, for these most underrated movies from this century it has been too early for that.  

Now underrated doesn’t mean that the audience and the critics trashed the movie, it means there is a lack of appreciation for the specific cinematic achievement, ranging from “well, it’s not that bad”, to “it’s a masterpiece, you people are all crazy”. And by “you people” we mean those who rate movies on IMDB and their results we have next to the titles of the movies.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012) 7.0

People are either hardcore horror movie fans or they skip the whole genre labeling it as repetitive, predictable, and shallow. Well, The Cabin in the Woods is a rarely intelligent and unique film that can be enjoyable by both sides for the different sides of the same reasons. Boasting a great young cast supported by perfectly cast older characters, with Fran Kranz stealing the show by becoming one of the most likable characters in recent years, despite Chris Hemsworth spot-on performance, it really should’ve been a trampoline for their careers. Funnier than almost any recent comedy, scarier and definitely more original than modern horrors,  Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard passion project has great reachability value and is the prime example of thinking outside the box. Something we yearn for, or at least say that we do.

Image: DreamWorks Pictures

What’s hurting this movie more than anything is the reputation which follows its director Michael Bay. His movies are regarded as simply platforms for CGI explosions, with no substance and no added value. Besides forgetting about The Rock (1996), people are sleeping on The Island as well, seeing how quality of a sci-fi action movie it is. An authentic screenplay drew the insane large cast of Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, and Steve Buscemi. It’s a perfect summer blockbuster movie with, but not only that as there are substance and genuine themes in the movie, both those that become apparent towards the end and those that are simply grazed. Rare are the movies with the perfect blend of sci-fi, action, and bits of comedic gold.  

Image: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Another movie that gets overlooked thanks to its director’s reputation, in the case of Mel Gibson, not his talents, obviously. Yet the movie is highly rated on IMDB at 7.8, while the Rotten Tomato critics’ score is criminally at 65%. We should take a moment to appreciate that Mel Gibson told a story about a part of humanity which is often overlooked in the USA-Eurocentric society, and created a historic epic so unique and brutally realistic it makes Gladiator look like child fantasy. Not to forget that movie’s dialogue is completely in Yucatec Maya language, which is spoken by mere 790,000 native speakers, so Gibson didn’t have a vast talent pool of actors, to say the least. He basically didn’t have the pool at all as a lot of acting has been done by people who live similarly to how the main protagonist lived and did that all on a $40 million budget! Serious props have to be given to one of the most ambitious films ever.

Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures

A movie that suffers because of its complexity which puts off a lot of viewers. Yet the ambition of Terrence Malick to tell the biggest story there is from the viewpoint of a relatable Texas family cannot be denied. It’s a unique movie as they come seeing how a quarter of it is like a National Geographic nature documentary, and the rest of it has some of the most authentic shots and edits in cinema history. Acting ability of Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain doesn’t need any introduction, but it’s the message or the question that is in the spotlight, besides the mentioned direction that is. A movie which would benefit from a more determined, persistent audience that will allow itself maybe even multiple viewing to soak up on the grandeur of The Tree of Life.

Image: Universal Pictures

Arguably the most popular game world finally got the big screen treatment, and while it had both promising, and proven director passionate about the source material in Duncan Jones, a huge cult following, it didn’t prove enough for the masses to rate it high. Mostly in the United States as the movie did really well abroad when it comes to earnings and reception. It kinda seems like the domestic audience which wasn’t familiar with the material couldn’t keep track with the characters they met for the first time, spoiled by the comic-book movie mania happening now. The film pays an homage to the games effortlessly a few times, it delivers on the trademark humor, sets up the world accordingly, and it doesn’t get stuck in the simple one side is good, and the other is evil scheme. Not a flawless or a Lord of the Rings level movie, but one that should be cherished more without a doubt.

Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Follow the trail of Brit Marling and you’ll encounter a lot of movies with interesting, unique premises which are underseen. I Origins does something movie rarely have the courage to do as it challenges the beliefs of the viewer, but does so gracefully without attacking them. One of the best movies to watch while high will make you stay on your couch long after the credits have passed (and you should definitely see them through). Definitely an underseen movie though as it was produced independently, but one that is strongly loved by those who enjoyed it. It’s probably the best to watch this sci-fi drama with elements of romance without watching any of the trailers or reading the in-depth synopsis. If this isn’t enough to persuade you to it know that you’ll also get to see one of the most beautiful women in the world – Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.  

Image: CJ Entertainment

There is a sad and expected reason why this movie was underseen and mostly promoted organically on forums and social media – it was too controversial for the studio executives. Why exactly, it will be pretty apparent when you actually see the movie if you haven’t already. A stunningly shot sci-fi action movie with a consistent cinematographic tone tells the story about humanity reduced to passengers on a globe-travelling train after experiments froze the Earth. Without a doubt the best Chris Evans movie as it is visually pleasing as it is deep with a quite relevant social commentary to it. One has to give it to the Korean director Joon-ho Bong for sticking to his creative vision and standing up to the studio executives as he delivered a true sci-fi masterpiece.  

Image: 20th Century Fox

While all the other movies on this list are “serious” with only moments of comedy, The Girl Next Door is a comedy that delivers a compelling, exciting story which keeps you guessing on what kind of a movie you’re actually watching. Although it’s not one of the funniest comedies of the century, the genre variety and the heart it possesses makes us up for it adding authenticity value. Emile Hirsch leads the movie like a veteran, although he has considerable help from both more experienced Elisha Cuthbert and exquisite Timothy Olyphant, as well as his peers Paul Dano and Chris Marquette, who absolutely stole the show. The story remains relatable regardless of how wild and weird it gets, so we’re definitely surprised to even have to include it on this list, but as it is definitely more than a generic teen comedy, it deserves to be defended.

Image: Open Road Films

While Nightcrawler is the highest rated movie on this list it is still underrated as the movie should not only be on the same pedestal like Taxi Driver (1976) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), but higher. And the Taxi Driver is the perfect movie to compare it too as it has some similar themes, yet now we have fewer movies that deal with those hard topics making Nightcrawler all that valuable from the standpoint of capitalism it showcases. Additionally, it will age better thanks to the cinematography. Jake Gyllenhaal’s transformation into the character Lou Bloom shows that he’s definitely a different kind of an actor, one that justifies the status and the money they earn. Nightcrawler testifies to the era society is currently in, targeting widespread big problems that don’t receive required attention even when the price for ignoring them is often and high as it is in the United States.  

Image: Walt Disney Studios

Definitely not on the level of other movies on this list, but also surely not deserving of the biggest flop of the century label it got, simply because it’s not a bad movie. Especially compared to what passes as the top of the notch in the cape wearing blockbuster universe. John Carter is Disney’s pride, a 100-years-old story and one they put their money on, yet the investment didn’t pay off and therefore the image of the movie’s quality fell in people’s eyes. It was also supposed to be Taylor Kitsch’s big break-out role to the big screen after Friday Night Lights, and while he embodied the character completely, the critics and the audience shunned the movie. Despite that John Carter is a great summer movie to put on enjoy, yes it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s definitely always a good choice to relax with some popcorns.

Tell us what you think of our picks and list some titles you regard as the most underrated films of the century.


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