10 Underrated Hollywood Movies You Must Watch
I have compiled a list of 10 movies that can be termed as underrated - movies that do not get the attention and viewership they deserve but deserve to be watched. These movies don't generally end up in Top 50, Top 100 or even Top 250 movie lists, but are definitely worth watching. With the hope that they eventually have a cult following of their own and get the attention they deserve, here's my list:
Note: This compilation is in no particular order; except for the first one in the list. '84 Charing Cross Road' is my all-time-favorite and will most definitely top any movie list that I make.
1. 84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
Directed by - David Jones
Cast - Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft
It is hard to put into words how dearly I loved 84 Charing Cross Road. Movie adaptation of a book by the same name written by Helene Hanff, this lesser known flick is a treat to watch. Specially for book lovers.
Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins shine in this charming drama told in the form of a two decade long correspondence that begins when a struggling New York based writer (Anne Bancroft as Helene Hanff) who loves British Literature, writes to a bookstore in London that specializes in out-of-print English classics. Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins) a reserved, well read Englishman, one of the staff of Marks & Co. responds to her request and thus begins an adorable camaraderie between Helene & the staff of Marks & Co.
This gem of a movie is a must watch for one and all. Watch it at leisure. Watch it when you really can spare your undivided attention to the movie. Or even better - watch it alone. The innate goodness in all characters in the movie is heart warming. Every Scene, every dialogue is worth your time.
I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.— Helene Hanff, 84 Charing Cross Road
If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me! I owe it so much.— Helene Hanff, 84 charing Cross Road
Watch the trailer - 84 Charing Cross Road
2. The Man from Earth (2007)
Directed by - Richard Schenkman
Cast - David Lee Smith, Tony Todd, John Billingsley
The Man from Earth is an intensely engaging drama with an unusual plot. A bunch of college professors get together for a goodbye party for Professor John Oldman and discuss many topics. During the conversation the retiring professor reveals that his past has mystical connections; it is a lot stranger than they can imagine. The discussion turns into a mysterious interrogation when he claims to be thousands of years old.
Simple, engaging & compelling. This film is a true masterpiece. Having said that, I think this movie is not for everyone. Some might even hate this film, while some may love it.
There's absolutely no way in the whole world for John to prove his story. Just like there's no way for us to disprove it. No matter how outrageous we think it is, no matter how highly trained some of us think we are, there's absolutely no way to disprove it! My friend is either a caveman, a liar, or a nut. So while we're thinking about that, why don't we just go with it.— Dan, The Man from Earth
3. Exam (2009)
Directed by - Stuart Hazeldine
Cast - Adar Beck, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox
It's often the simplest ideas that go on to make for the most unusual premise for films; and with Exam, everything revolves around an exam - which happens to be the final stage of the selection process where eight probable candidates fight for a highly desirable corporate job by answering one simple question in eighty minutes. The candidates are seated in a closed windowless room & are instructed by the invigilator to follow three rules or be disqualified:
- Do not talk to him (the invigilator) or the guard by the door
- Do not spoil the question paper
- Do not leave the room.
The invigilator starts the timer and leaves the room. The candidates turn over to look at their question papers, only to find they are blank.
Who among the candidates will solve the mystery? Who will find the question? Who will get the job? - To find out, watch this gripping thriller.
The test is simple in comparison, yet it will determine who leaves this room with a contract of employment, and who leaves with bus fair home.— The invigilator, Exam
4. Just Ask My Children (2001)
Directed by - Arvin Brown
Cast - Virginia Madsen, Jeffrey Nordling, Graham Beckel
Based on a horrifying true story, this emotional roller-coaster of a movie describes a tale of shocking injustice and appalling misjudgment ruled by the legal system. In 1982, dozens of families were torn apart and many innocent parents were sent behind the bars in child abuse cases. This is the story of Scott and Brenda Kniffen, a couple that was falsely accused of sodomy & pedophilia. Their children are brainwashed and manipulated into bearing false witnesses. The parents are trapped, their beloved sons are taken away from them and they are thrown in jail.
With incredible performances from all, Just Ask My Children is heart wrenching film and will leave you terrified by the end of it.
There is no force or pressure or bribe or price that would ever make me say I did that to my children. I would rather die here alone than ever have them think I did such a thing.— Brenda Kniffen, Just Ask My Children
5. The Rainmaker (1997)
Directed by - Francis Ford Coppola
Cast - Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes
Based on John Grisham's book of the same name, this legal drama is the story of an underdog lawyer, who takes on the task of exposing a fraudulent insurance company. Rudy Baylor, a young attorney is fighting in favor of an elderly couple whose insurance claim - that might save their dying son's life - was rejected by their insurance company.
This engrossing courtroom drama makes you think. The trial scenes are gripping and the performances are stellar. I always find movies with courtroom trials, thrilling - and The Rainmaker did not disappoint me.
Every lawyer, at least once in every case, feels himself crossing a line that he doesn't really mean to cross... it just happens... And if you cross it enough times it disappears forever. And then you're nothin but another lawyer joke. Just another shark in the dirty water.— Rudy Baylor, The Rainmaker
6. Before Trilogy
Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) & Before Midnight (2013)
Directed by - Richard Linklater
Cast - Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
This stunning three-part romance captures a relationship, as two young strangers meet, connect, part ways, and meet again only to part again over the course of almost two decades. If there has ever been an ode to the perfect modern day fairly tale romance, it is this sweet & charming trilogy. This is exactly how you would dream you would want meet your soulmate. The dialogues are a blend of intelligent conversation and passion - extremely impressive. The chemistry between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) is amazing in their incomplete yet meaningful relationship.
If there's any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.— Celine, Before Sunrise
In the months leading up to my wedding, I was thinking about you all the time. I mean, even on my way there; I'm in the car, a buddy of mine is driving me downtown and I'm staring out the window, and I think I see you, not far from the church, right? Folding up an umbrella and walking into a deli on the corner of 13th and Broadway. And I thought I was going crazy, but now I think it probably was you.— Jesse, Before Sunset
7. Take the lead (2006)
Directed by - Liz Friedlander
Cast - Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta
Antonio Banderas plays dance instructor Pierre Dulaine (the founder of Dancing Classrooms) in this dance film based on a true story. A must watch for dancers and dance lovers, Take the lead is a feel-good movie that tells the real story of a dance instructor from New York who immensely believed in the talent of his students. The dances are a treat to the eyes. Antonio Banderas is extremely charming in his portrayal of the dance teacher and he also dances with a lot of aplomb & panache.
Being a dancer myself, dance-based movies usually attract me. And this movie, for me, is the most simple yet memorable one from that genre.
A stunning dance from 'Take the Lead'
8. Carnage (2011)
Directed by - Roman Polanski
Cast - Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
An adaption of the play 'God of Carnage' written by Yasmina Reza, this film revolves around a cordial meeting that two sets of parents arrange, when they learn of the altercation their sons were involved in. After the initial pleasantries, the four adults, who have extremely contrasting personalities, gradually start speaking their minds and as a result start exhibiting increasingly childish behavior. Eventually, the so-called civilized discussion turns into chaos.
With magnificent star cast & equally brilliant performances, Carnage is a thoroughly-enjoyable-must-watch-comedy.
Watch the trailer
9. The Walk (2015)
Directed by - Robert Zemeckis
Cast - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon
Set in the Paris of 1970s, The Walk is one of the most stylish and thrilling biopics I've ever watched. Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a French street juggler and high-wire artist who puts together a team of people to help him realize his dream of walking on a high-wire between The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
Robert Zemeckis has created a breathtakingly beautiful visual masterpiece. The Walk is a highly entertaining adventure, meant to be watched on the big screen.
I was always searching. Looking for the perfect place to hang my wire.— Philippe Pettit, The Walk
Watch the trailer - The Walk
10. Burn After Reading (2008)
Directed by - Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast - Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, Elizabeth Marvel
Two gym employees accidentally find a disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent & attempt to blackmail the owner & try to sell the disk to the Russians believing it to be top-secret government information.
Burn after reading is a quirky, funny & fast paced situational-comedy. This film is convoluted - it is essentially a comedy wearing the mask of a spy-thriller. The innate stupidity of the characters coupled with unfortunate coincidences cause chaos. It is weirdly funny & hence won't please everyone. In fact, most reviews that I came across - of this movie - online, suggest that most of them did not get the film.