10 Underrated Films

 hannibalrising teaserposterbig 10 Underrated Films

These are ten of the most underrated films around, according to me, and in no particular order.  I went for more recent films but there are many others that could have made my list.

1.  Hannibal Rising-  Hannibal Rising is a straight-ahead and extremely well-made revenge prequel that was ripped to shreds by overzealous critics and largely ignored in theatres.  Rising is the best Hannibal film since Silence of the Lambs and the first without Anthony Hopkins, which probably helps to explain its fresh take on the now tired character.

2.  Rules of Attraction-  Rules is a nasty, no holds barred comedy/drama from Roger Avary and based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis.  A game cast, two unforgettable scenes (Victor’s whirlwind drug and sex fueled romp through Europe and Dick’s dinner scene), and lots of quotable dialogue help make this one extremely underrated. 

3.  Nowhere-  Before Gregg Araki made a critical splash with Mysterious Skin, he made this candy colored “90210 on acid” indie gem about alienated, poly-sexual (there’s no other kind in Araki’s world) teens who try to dodge the end of the world while having sex, doing drugs, and avoiding creepy televangelists and rubber aliens.  Oh yeah, and its extremely funny too.

4.  American Psycho- The much-loathed (and almost unreadable) book becomes a great film/dark comedy with a breakout performance from Christian Bale and featuring a razor-sharp script that satirizes the 80s era materialism with pinpoint accuracy.

5.  Equilibrium-  This is another film trashed by critics that deserved a better fate in theatres.  Released in a few hundred theatres (and barely promoted at all), Equilibrium has found a huge following on DVD thanks to Christian Bale, some stylish action scenes, and in the end winds up as more entertaining than The Matrix.  Equilibrium keeps getting derided as a Matrix rip-off, mostly by fanboys who don’t know any better.

6.  Smoke Signals-  Wonderful, non-cliched film about two Native Americans who go on a road trip.  Smoke Signals is both funny and moving without being sappy and without preaching to us about the evils of the white man.  Something we already know all about.  Smoke Signals won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival and deserved a larger audience than it received. 

7.  Stardust-  This is another film that deserved a larger audience.  It’s an instant fantasy classic based on the novel by Neil Gaiman (also check out MirrorMask).  Great performances all around and wonderful imagination and storytelling are on full display in whats sure to be another big hit once word of mouth spreads and the DVD is released in December.

8.  Gossip-  Gossip isn’t exactly teaming with realism but its nasty fun and features a talented and bright young cast of rich college kids (even James Marsden is good in it) doing mean things to each other and generally trying to wreck each others lives. 

9.  Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me-  This is the prequel to the popular Twin Peaks series and David Lynch’s most underrated film.  A dark descent into the sad and gruesome final days of Laura Palmer, its expertly acted and vicious.  It also has some powerful and creepy scenes that really freaked me out the first time I saw it.   There are some great performances here, especially from Sheryl Lee as Laura and Ray Wise as her deranged father Leland Palmer.

 10.  Two Family House- This is another film (like Smoke Signals) that won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, and a film even less people have seen (or even heard of).  Michael Rispoli is a dreamer with a nag of a wife and the film is set in a tight-knit Italian/Irish neighborhood in 1956 Staten Island where bigotry is as common as heaping plates of pasta.  When a pretty Irish immigrant (Kelly Macdonald, currently in No Country for Old Men) is left by her abusive drunk of a husband, Rispoli offers to help her with her baby.  Her baby is half-Black and Rispoli is a bigot, but he cares for her and the baby nonetheless.  The film is warm and touching and deserves a larger audience than it receieved.

Runners Up:  Day Watch, Gregg Araki’s Splendor, Cruel Intentions, Some Kind of Wonderful, Unbreakable, Eurotrip

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