From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Top Ten Underrated Movies

There are some spectacular movies out there that have received very little attention. Not everyone will agree with my list, obviously, but these are some of the movies that I feel deserve way more acclaim then they've gotten. And so, in no particular order:

Sarah's Top Ten Underrated Movies:

1. Dan In Real Life: So sweet, so adorable, and the music is awesome. Maybe I have a thing for Steve Carrel, but how can you resist the adorableness? He is perfect as flawed and very real Dan, and with Juliet Binoche as his romantic interest, you know why she's worth the drama.

2. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: This movie does have a bit of a cult following, but fewer people have watched it than should have. Such a genius conglomeration of literary awesomeness, and maybe my favorite action movie (competition being, of course, Red.) And besides. Sean Connery.

3. The Painted Veil: I don't know why this movie didn't win more awards. For its scope and historical intensity, it is a deeply personal and emotional movie. You will feel changed by it. And there is this odd combination of the sinister and the pleading in Edward Norton that adds up to something utterly haunting.

4. The Visitor: So I can basically sum up why I fell head over heals at this movie when I saw it at BYU's International Cinema in two words: Richard Jenkins. Talk about underrated. We all know I'm an obnoxious and predictable sucker for lonely, broken old men, and this movie/character was no exception. Totally real, totally heart-wrenching.

5. Another Year: Everybody has their thing(s) they particularly notice when they watch a movie, and for me it's the script and the acting. I don't typically notice the score or the cinematography or even the plot arc. That said, it means something that this movie made Mike Leigh my official favorite director, except for maybe Pete Docter. The style is very slow, almost documentorial (is that a word?). But his story, his message, for some reason sat super, super well with me, and I have thought about it ever since.

6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: I'm sorry, okay, I will just never get over pining old people. So of course this movie was basically made for me. I acknowledge that, and acknowledge I might have an inordinate love for it, but the writing is spectacular and the performances by the all-star cast are, of course, goosebump incredible. (Oh my good heavens Bill Nighy.) Do yourself a favor, watch this movie, give yourself a smile.

7. Babe: This movie might be one of the more well-known ones, but it saddens me that most people know it as "that pig movie." There is an underrated stroke of genius in this movie, and it is called James Cromwell (Another adorable old man, I know, I'm sorry.) Farmer Hogget just goes straight to my heart. It's not just that, though, that is fabulous about this movie. There are so many genius little pieces, like the fabulous voice-work of Christine Cavenaugh, the hilarious singing mice, the storybook style, and of course, Jim Henson's fabulous puppet work. Every kid (and adult) needs to see this movie.

8. Miss Potter: This one comes with a warning. Definitely watch with a box of tissue, or twelve. Renee Zellweger is fabulous as Beatrix Potter, but I think the heart-string-pluckingness of this movie can be best explained by what happened when I first saw it in theaters. There was a row of girls in front of us and there's a scene where a music box plays and Ewan Macgregor says "I know this song," and the girls in front of me were like "OH MY GOSH HE'S GOING TO SING." Yes. He sings. And then you melt.

9. Phoebe In Wonderland: So, Elle Fanning may be an even better actress than her big sister. In this movie, at least, she is remarkable. This is a unique, strange, difficult, almost uncomfortable movie. In the end it really feels weird to come back to reality, which is important once you know what the movie is about. You feel your brain stretched, in a very good and refreshing way.

10. Shadowlands: Not just a pining old man movie, but a C. S. Lewis as a pining old man movie. I almost don't need to say anything more, but I will, because oh my heart Anthony Hopkins. How he didn't get an Academy Award for this movie I don't know. And since it's Anthony Hopkins saying things written by Lewis himself it is just pure heart brimming all over the place. With all the ache and tears and joyful pain that that entails.

Well there you have it. Have you seen any of these movies? What is your favorite "underrated" movie?

Sarah Allen

7 comments:

  1. I've seen #1, #2, #7 and #8. 'Dan' was okay, I did like Carrel's singing that song which now I can't remember but only that it sounded really sad when he sang it . I couldn't really like 'The League' as I found there was just too much violence and cgi. Babe was fun to watch. Miss Potter was great and it really was a tearjerker as you noted. I really like her song character plus she is based on a real person, which sort of makes it much sweeter.

    as for my favorite underrated movie, I can't say as I consider most movies to be underrated if they aren't make with millions of dollars or have famous people in them.

    hope you have a great day.

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  2. Great list.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  3. 2, 6, 7 and 10 in my case and I loved all of them. Being an ex pat Brit I really identified with the Marigold Hotel bunch. Babe was great but I thought Babe 2 was pathetic. Shadowlands, what can I say, beautiful story. How can you fault Sean Connery another great movie. As you say they were all very underrated, such a pity.

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  4. 2,7,8 and 10. Despite Sean Connery, I did't care greatly for League, but Babe was delightful and resulted in my buying Saint Saens' Organ Symphony ( I already had Carnival of the Animals). The film was made here in Australia and the animals were all guaranteed a full life afterwards. There were a lot of Aussie actors, despite the American accents they had to put on. A friend of mine says that they had a "Babe" pig on her family farm, it thought it was a sheepdog and was the wonder of the district till Farmer Erwin, unlike Farmer Hoggett, slaughtered it for pork. :(
    I quite liked Miss Potter, loved Shadowlands which I also saw on stage. Anthony Hopkins is wonderful - did you ever see him in 84 Charing Cross Road? Another underrated film, also based on a true story.

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  5. Gotta echo the love for Marigold Hotel. I also loved 84 Charing Cross Road. And I'd add: Cold Comfort Farm.

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  6. My favorite underrated movie is 'Were the World Mine,' a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' set in an all-boys' prep school.

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  7. Shadowlands makes me cry so much! There are a couple on this list I really need to check out.

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