10 most underrated movies of all times

December 30, 2013

1. “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension”


Perhaps Peter Weller lacked the charm to pull off a musician/surgeon/car driver/scientist. Or perhaps the story of an inter-dimensional invasion takes a couple of viewings to start making sense. But the 1984 movie remains fun, light, warm-hearted and well-structured.

2. “Serenity”


Devotees of Joss Whedon automatically dug this one, as did pure sci-fi fans who liked the short-lived “Firefly” show. But if you weren’t in these groups you likely gave it a pass. Which is a shame since this film has a perfect combo of action, drama, and moral ambiguity – plus genetically-modified cannibals.

3. “Balls of Fury”


Ping-pong has never been cooler in this tale of underground table-tennis tournaments. It’s the kind of film that Will Ferrell should have been in, which may have provided extra box office umph. But it does have Christopher Walken playing an odd evil ping pong master.

4. “Hook”


Robin Williams, Julia Roberts and Dustin Hoffman probably don’t put this one on their vitae, but this 1991 live action quasi-sequel to “Peter Pan” supplied thoughtful themes like when it’s time to grow up and how to remember how to be a kid.

5. “The Waterboy”


Other adjectives usually describe Adam Sandler films besides “underrated.” But here this kind-hearted simpleton with natural football skills transforms his life, the people around him and an entire college football program. Other actors may have played it sappy but Sandler brings the right blend of sincerity and awkwardness.

6. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”


Rather than a movie based on a video game, this film was more like a love story set in a video game, complete with coins for finishing boss levels, electronic sounds, and lots of explosions. It did have the underrated Michael Cera who rarely emotes, but he fits the “everyman in love” protagonist.

7. “Dick”


People who lived through the Watergate scandal likely missed this one. Likewise, fans of teen comedies didn’t touch this whimsical historical/political comedy about teens who wander away from a White House tour into presidential-sized trouble. Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams offer a lighthearted look at Nixon’s presidency, include a plausible explanation for that missing audio.

8. “Idiocracy”


What happens when a man of average intelligence awakens 500 years later in a much dimmer future? That’s the premise of this quickly 2006 Luke Wilson flick that came and went quickly. But it is worth additional viewing for those who fear our collective dumbing-down, or for those wish the presidential addresses could be more entertaining.

9. “What Planet are You From?”


Garry Shandling plays a ‘down-to-earth’ alien seeking to learn about human culture and find a mate, who turns out to be a high-maintenance Annette Bening. Both deliver out-of-the-world performances plus John Goodman as an alien hunter.

10. “Long Kiss Goodnight”


Years before Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne had an identity crisis, Geena Davis was trying to figure out why a housewife such as herself knew how to pick locks, shoot guns and throw knives.