The 14 Most Underrated Movies of 2014
This is the end of the year article I always look forward to writing. The Best Movies of 2014 list is a great thing to share with our readers, but arbitrarily ranking brilliant movies is a thankless chore. (Just see them all. You’ll be glad you did.) And the Worst Movies of 2014 list is probably fun to read, but wallowing through the traumatic muck of my job isn’t a very pleasurable experience. (Just don’t seem them all. You’ll be glad you didn’t.)
But guiding people to films that they don’t know are worth their time is literally the reason why I do this job at all. Hence, The 14 Most Underrated Movies of 2014. These are the films that disappeared too soon to find an audience, got smashed by my fellow film critics or were so egregiously mismarketed that audiences who did pay to see them probably didn’t get what they wanted, and didn’t know what to make of what they actually got.
Mending those fences is probably the most important part of my duties: there are so many films made every single year that no one with a day job (or at least, one that doesn’t involve watching movies) has time to see them all. So helping people locate the films that are actually worth their time and money is, in my opinion, a practically noble act of consumer advocacy.
Check Out: The 14 Best Movies of 2014
But I have to contend with other critics – some of whom have tastes that veer pretty far afield of crowd-pleasing genres, skewing the Rotten Tomatoes meter all over the place – and studio marketing departments, who are so eager to get you to buy a ticket that they’ll tell you literally anything to trick you into the theater. Usually they just oversell how good the movie is, but sometimes they also make a drama look like a comedy, an action movie look like a found-footage horror film (see below), or even make a very interesting film look like a bland one for fear of scaring you away.
So it’s important for critics to stand against the crowd and the studio marketing machine, and champion the new, the strange, the intriguing or sometimes the merely fun motion pictures which might otherwise get lost in the deluge of movie releases in any given year. And it’s just as important for us to tell you exactly what you’re in for, and not simply tow the party line. That means telling you sometimes that the movie you’re looking forward to isn’t very good, or that the movie you don’t care about is actually worth seeing, or that the trailers are simply lying to you.
Check Out: The 14 Worst Movies of 2014
So what follows are my picks for The 14 Most Underrated Movies of 2014. These are the films that fell prey to misleading marketing, unfairly negative reviews and/or poor word of mouth, but that are worth checking out anyway. Most of them aren’t “great,” because there’s a difference between “underrated” and “great.” To say something is underrated isn’t to say that it’s an unsung classic, at least not necessarily, but rather to say that there’s a significant disparity between how bad people say it is (often sight unseen) and how good it actually is.
If you ignored any of the following movies because you heard they were bad, or thought they looked lame from the trailers, give them a watch anyway. I think you’ll either like them or at least find that there’s something within them that was worthy of your time. The most underrated movies of 2014 could use a little love. Spread the word, and let me know on Twitter if I neglected to mention any other films that everyone else hated, but you liked or loved.
The 14 Most Underrated Movies of 2014: