Underrated Movies from 2019
Now might be a time when people are catching up on some movies they missed in 2019, which brought a lot of good ones. There were so many, in fact, that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Plenty of fine movies flew under the radar or bombed at the box office. So here’s a list of some of them. Read this and then watch them all.
The Beach Bum
This one is the most under-appreciated film on the list. It was released to theaters quietly and totally bombed, marking the lowest box office opening of Matthew McConaughey’s career. Which is a shame because his performance in the film might be the best of his career. He plays Moondog, a bummy poet from Key West who I can best describe as the lovechild of Hunter S. Thompson and The Dude. Snoop Dogg is also in this movie as a character named Lingerie and Martin Lawrence returns from wherever he’s been to provide a hilarious sequence. If you saw Harmony Korine’s last movie, ‘Spring Breakers’, and didn’t like the chopped up style, I’d still recommend this movie because it’s much more easygoing and has plenty of rewatch value. Possibly the best comedy of 2019 and one of the best stoner films of the last decade, this movie is criminally slept on and needs to find an audience.
‘Paddleton’ was released directly to Netflix without much marketing. From the preview, it may not look like anything special but it is a fantastic character driven film. Mark Duplass wrote the movie and stars as a guy who gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. His best friend is Ray Romano and the two of them spend their time playing a game called Paddleton and watching the same kung fu movie over and over. It’s a simple story that’s carried by the nuances of it’s two main characters. You would expect a movie like this to play it safe and be sentimental or sappy, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s emotional scenes are very understated and have the capability to be harrowing and real. And, at the same time, it can also be a very fun and charming comedy. Romano steals the show with his performance. I never cared much for his work but between this and ‘The Big Sick’ he’s proven that he has some dramatic acting chops, kind of like Adam Sandler. If you come across ‘Paddleton’ on the Netflix menu and decide to idly turn it on, just be ready for something much more heavy than you probably expected.
Horror fans will know the director, Jennifer Kent, because she made ‘The Babadook’ in 2014. Her latest movie may not be a straight-up horror film, but it can still disturb you. This is a revenge movie set in Colonial Australia and it brings you face to face will all the brutality of that era. The violence is not fun or meant to entertain though. It’s all portrayed a bit more realistically than some would like and it definitely struck a nerve when it premiered. But I think a movie that makes people mad probably has something interesting to say, and ‘The Nightingale’ certainly does. I’d recommend it to anyone.
One Cut of the Dead
If you don’t want ‘The Nightingale’ to beat you down, let ‘One Cut of the Dead’ uplift you. Even the backstory to this movie is feel-good. It’s an indie film made for just over twenty thousand dollars. The cast if full of undiscovered actors. But the movie slowly but surely became a huge hit in Japan. It’s an underdog story. Here, in the U.S., it seems to be gaining a bigger audience but, for now, I can still consider it underrated. I won’t even tell you what the movie is about since it’s full of surprises and watching them unfold is fun. Just go in blind like I did. Horror fans will probably be the most attracted to watching it, but it has a little something for everybody. This movie definitely isn’t what you expect.
Dragged Across Concrete
‘Dragged Across Concrete’ is the third movie by S. Craig Zahler. Zahler’s movies seem to have a dedicated fanbase but there are many people who don’t even know who he is, making all his films underrated. So, if you haven’t seen any of his movies then I’d encourage you to go watch them all, especially ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’. In this one, though, he enlists Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn to star as cops who get suspended for using too much force. So, in order to make some money, they hatch a criminal scheme. Judging by the title, you might be expecting this movie to be a gritty bloodbath but it’s actually the most subdued, character driven story Zahler’s written. It turns out he’s good at that sort of thing too.
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
This one is another super low-budget film that garnered positive reviews but didn’t break into the mainstream. It’s about an ex-cop who joined a militia after quitting the force. After he finds out someone in his militia committed a mass shooting, the group barricades themselves in their headquarters and tries to determine who the killer is. We’ve seen whodunnits like this before, but the filmmaking skills and script carry the show. It’s funny that a movie so deathly quiet, carried almost solely by dialogue can be this intense. Don’t worry if it gets hard to follow; just enjoy the ride.
I Trapped the Devil
Talk about dysfunctional Christmas movies. In this movie, the main character’s family comes over for the holidays only to find that the guy is claiming he’s trapped Satan in his basement. Is he crazy? Or is he telling the truth? If you like psychological horror movies where you can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t, then give this one a try. In my opinion, it’s a little overly ambiguous but maybe you can figure it out if you think hard enough. I watched it a year ago and I still remember it. So that means it’s good.
'Ma’ looks just like all the other PG-13 horror movies Hollywood dumps out to make a quick buck off teenagers, but it’s actually a cut above the rest. Octavia Spencer plays the titular character who is a seemingly cool lady that lets high schoolers use her basement as a bar. But does she have ulterior motives? This is a fun, schlocky horror that actually takes things a bit further than you’d expect. It’s a nice surprise. It may not be anything spectacular but it is definitely a good watch and doesn’t deserve to be forgotten with time.