10 Underrated Films: Eddie’s Take

Southland Tales

List compiled by Eddie on 27/09/2013

With thousands upon thousands of movies released each year it’s no wonder that sometimes a movie of great quality slips through the viewer’s schedule.

It’s undoubtable that this list is a mere opinion but I believe that these below films are worthy of more attention or deserve to be seen by more film lovers that may have inadvertently missed the film originally or choose to bypass it due to a particular nasty critic or lacklustre word of mouth.

It is also true that many of you great readers out there may love some of these films so I must say that underrated may also include the banner of under seen which could be wording for almost all of the below titles.

I hope that you can find a new favourite in this list of underrated and unique films. Happy reading!

Plot summaries from IMDBReviews by Eddie

The New World

10. The New World (2005)

IMDB Rating: 6.7, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61%

Directed by: Terrence Malick (Badlands)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Q’orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

One of the most beautiful and evocative films ever shot (would you expect any less of Malik?) The New World tells the story of Pocahontas in a way never before told before or since. The New World showcases that images tell a thousand words and is deserving of more recognition for its brave way of storytelling and fantastic central performances.

And When did you last see your father?

9. And When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007)

IMDB Rating: 6.8, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%

Directed by: Anand Tucker (Shopgirl)

Starring: Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson

The story of a son’s conflicting memories of his dying father.

One of the most confronting and drenched in realism movies about the bond between father and son ever made Father is a movie that has the ability to make you laugh one minute and shed tears the next. Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent both give award worthy performances and make Father a memorable and life affirming tale.

A Bronx Tale

8. A Bronx Tale (1993)

IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Directed by: Robert De Niro (The Good Shepard)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Joe Pesci

A father becomes worried when a local gangster befriends his son in the Bronx in the 1960s.

Lost in the deep well that is De Niro gangster/mobster films A Bronx Tale marked the first time Travis Bickle himself went behind the camera. A Bronx Tale is a film that stands up today thanks to its believable story, the construction of the film (you can almost smell the pasta of Little Italy) and the realistic performances of the cast. A Bronx Tale is a coming of age story that can be enjoyed by everybody with a love for quality film.

Burning Man

7. Burning Man (2011)

IMDB Rating: 6.3, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74%

Directed by: Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man)

Starring: Matthew Goode, Rachel Griffiths, Bojana Novakovic

An English chef with a chic restaurant on Bondi Beach trying to put his life and his relationship with his son back on track while surrounded by women.

It seems at the upcoming Oscars Australian director Teplitzky may find sweet success with his adaptation of The Railway Man. This would be just rewards for a man that crafted this unique and confronting tale of morality and love which features a career peak turn from Matthew Goode. May be hard to find a copy but don’t let that stop you from witnessing this powerful journey.

Assassination of richard nixon

6. The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)

IMDB Rating: 7, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%

Directed by: Niels Mueller

Starring: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle

Based on real life events, Assassination is set in 1974 and centres on a businessman who decides to take extreme measures to achieve his American dream.

A vehicle for the intense acting presence that is Sean Penn, Assassination was an overlooked and misunderstood examination of a meltdown that can stand beside the best of the best. Told in an unconventional yet realistic fashion Assassination deserves a shot. Produced by both Leonardo De Caprio and Alfonso Cauron.

Changeling

5. Changeling (2008)

IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62%

Directed by: Clint Eastwood (Mystic River)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Amy Ryan, John Malkovich

A grief-stricken mother takes on the LAPD to her own detriment when it stubbornly tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child, while also refusing to give up hope that she will find him one day.

Clint Eastwood has been involved in more classics than you can poke a Magnum at but his 2008 Angelina Jolie starrer the Changeling remains one of his most fully formed and somehow unfathomably overlooked movie. Both intriguing and heartfelt the Changeling has since hit a cord with viewers after critics dismissed it upon release and if you have not yet given it a chance it is well worth your time to do so.

The Last Samurai

4. The Last Samurai (2003)

IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65%

Directed by: Edward Zwick (Legends of the Fall)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Oft forgotten and lost in amongst Cruises extensive list of films The Last Samurai stands up today as a wonderfully crafted and poignant epic that delivered emotional payoffs and action kicks in equal measure. Director Zwick’s career highpoint was quickly pushed aside after release but is a showcase for the undeservedly derided talent of Tom Cruise as an actor and a powerful example of war and warriors.

Southland Tales

3. Southland Tales (2006)

IMDB Rating: 5.4, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 37%

Directed by: Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko)

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sean William Scott

An ensemble piece set in the futuristic landscape of Los Angeles on July 4, 2008, as it stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster.

Advanced hype was all around and expectations were high for Kelly’s follow up to his cult hit Donnie Darko. Premiering at Cannes in a 3 hour plus format Southland was devoured by critics and eventually released in a heavily edited format. Southland has more ideas and imagination than many films combined and as it stands it a frightfully funny and evocative Sci-Fi experience like no other.

Warrior

2. Warrior (2011)

IMDB Rating: 8.2 (Top 250 place # 153), Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%

Directed By: Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte

The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother.

It may seem odd of me to include a film so highly rated by the general film going public but one must remember that upon release Warrior was a box office bomb and a film many critics perhaps felt worried to heap praise on due to its affinity with MMA boxing. When you strip back Warrior however what you have is a touching film about family, regret and hope. Featuring some truly memorable performances by all involved and in particular Nolte and Hardy, Warrior will hopefully continue to be a film discovered and loved for years to come.

Sunshine

1. Sunshine (2007)

IMDB Rating: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%

Directed by: Danny Boyle (Millions)

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans

A team of astronauts are sent to re-ignite the dying sun 50 years into the future.

Jordan and I were lucky enough to catch this visually stunning and psychologically twisting Sci-Fi upon its opening day cinema screening, a thing sadly that was not done by many more film fans. Boyle’s opus was a true glory on the big screen yet holds up so well years on due to its deep and delving script. Any fan of Sci-Fi or classic films in general should track Sunshine down and bask its radiant glory.

Honorable mentions –

Friday Night Lights, Narc, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Session 9, Barneys Version, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Bus 174, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Animal Kingdom, The Chumscrubber and Friday Night Lights.

How does this list compare to films you feel are under seen/underrated? Let us know in the comments below!

53 responses to “10 Underrated Films: Eddie’s Take

  1. Sorry but I gotta disagree with you guys on the new world.

    Greatly overrated which makes it even worse when u see it in an underrated list.

    Complete tripe and a waste of time.

    • If telling a beautiful story in a beautiful way is tripe – then I love tripe! Give me lots and lots of freshly cooked tripe.

      The movie was a box office failure, critics were lukewarm and superhero/minion loving audience’s don’t have the patience to appreciate a different movie making exercise so it’s in no way “overrated”.

      Eddie

      • I agree with eddie on all points. People rarely drift apart from mainstream cinema, a great example is the box office failure of The Shawshank Redemption, The Wrestler, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and more.
        Cinema is like music, you need to experiment and develop your taste.

  2. Oh man! Sunshine is one of my favourite films! It seems like we’re always talking about it on my site. Terrific list! Only seen Warrior and A Bronx Tale, other than Sunshine. Looks like I’ve got some watching to do!

    • That warms my film loving heart when I hear of love for Sunshine!

      I hope you can catch some of the others mate would love to hear your thoughts. Nice to know someone else has seen A Bronx Tale it seems to have been missed by quite a few people.
      Eddie

  3. Great list Eddie! I actually saw Sunshine the day it opened too and own the Blu-ray, an overlooked treat for sure.

    The Changeling is another good selection, I’d say it’s one of Angelina Jolie’s finest moments and a directorial highlight for Mr. Eastwood.

    A Bronx Tale is one I’ll definitely have to check out…a DeNiro film I haven’t seen (and I’ve seen many, including the odd but strangely entertaining ‘Hi, Mom!’!)!!!

  4. Not a fan of The New World personally, but pleased to see Sunshine getting it’s dues. Re: honourable mentions, still need to watch Narc, but anyone who hasn’t seen Barney’s version definitely should!

  5. I avoided changeling for ages since it starred lackluster angelina, it was o.k. but I wouldn’t recommend it over other films so no I don’t think it’s underrated.I liked sunshine and didn’t know that it was underrated, I just assumed everyone had seen it. The new world was o.k nothing special- not underrated, Still haven’t seen the tcruise flick mainly because i avoid him and hate cliched films set in asia.
    Southland tales is ok but requires patience alot of it.

      • I think a lot of these movies had a bad advertising campaign surrounding their release. Does that make the movies bad? No not at all! I think they just get swept under the rug for the next trending blockbuster.

      • A lot of these films got far less glowing reputations, a pretty quite legacy and get forgotten in favour of other more talked films. I am not saying people think there bad merely that for what they are – underrated.
        Eddie

  6. Yes – I wholeheartedly agree with several of these …. A Bronx Tale never got much coverage, nor did The Changeling – both excellent and seriously underrated. I agree with “When did you last see your father” too. Now that I know our views are somewhat aligned on this, I’ll seek out some of the others listed here. Thanks for the pointers!

  7. Very thought provoking list, carefully chosen. I’m never sure where to stand on Malick because I loved his first three movies but his others not so much. Interesting there are no comedies on your list. Dramatic films are more likely to be passed over I guess. I still have no idea why it took so long for ‘The King of Comedy’ to gain acclaim though, mind.

  8. Sunshine is an excellent call. Yeah, it pretty much turns into a slasher at the end, but I still found it hugely compelling and an extremely rewarding film.

  9. I haven’t watched all of them, but love the ones I’ve seen. I was blown away by Sunshine, love Changeling and the Assassination… Must catch ‘New World’ Terrence Malick is a favourite but missed that one.

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