Movies (regardless of when they were released) that are still popular with people today include Titanic, The Harry Potter Series, The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, and Shawshank Redemption, to name a few. While everyone is hyped about instant classics like the movies mentioned above, there’s are few hidden gems to consider when selecting a potential film to watch.
Underrated Movies are mostly independent films (ones that are financed, produced, and distributed outside of the major studio systems) or films that earned great reviews from critics, but didn’t perform too well in the box offices. Some of these underrated movies have gone on to become cult classics and/or have won or were nominated for major film awards, including The Oscars.
With that being said, here are 6 Underrated Movies To Watch ASAP:
1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993):
One of the most underrated movies of all time, the 1993 drama follows the life of 24-year-old main character and grocery store clerk Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) in his small midwestern hometown of Endora, Iowa. After his father’s suicide seven years prior to the events of the film, Gilbert has become the man of the house who has to care for his morbidly obese mother Bonnie (Darlene Cates) and his mentally impaired younger brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his sisters Amy (Laura Harrington) and Ellen (Mary Kate Schellhardt) do the rest.
Despite not doing so well in the box office, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape earned positive reviews from critics. This film is worth watching as the bond between Gilbert and Arnie is one of protection and care. Although Arnie’s developmental disabilities have caused several problems in the town (due to his constant climbing of the water tower throughout the film) and leave Gilbert frustrated at times, both brothers still have immense familial love for each other.
In addition, DiCaprio’s tragic-yet heartfelt portrayal of Arnie not only earned him rave reviews from critics, but also an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor (his first one too). He’s great in the 2015 film The Revenant, the film he won his much overdue Oscar for, but personally, DiCaprio should have won an Oscar for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape instead.
2. Stand By Me (1986):
Based on Stephen King’s novel The Body, the 1986 film Stand By Me tells the story of four friends: Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Chris Chambers (the late River Phoenix), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), and Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell) from a small Oregon town who go on a hike to find the body of a missing boy in 1959. The film’s events are told in a flashback from the perspective of an adult Gordie.
Stand By Me is another one of those underrated movies which depict unbreakable bonds of friendship as all four friends bond over their abusive and/or dysfunctional homes: Gordie struggles with his older brother Denny’s death (which happened prior to the events of the film) and subsequent lack of attention from his parents; Chris is abused by his alcoholic father and treated with contempt by teachers in school due to his family’s criminal reputation; Teddy struggles with his hearing and vision after his father (a PTSD WWII vet who Teddy still respects due to his military service) once burned Teddy’s ears on the stove in a fit of rage; and Vern is harassed constantly by his older brother. In addition, the dynamics and interactions between the four main characters are spectacular. Stand By Me is also another one of several underrated movies that earned major film honors, including an Oscar Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
4. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (1997):
The 1997 comedy starring Oscar-Winning Actress Mira Sorvino and Emmy-Winning Actress Lisa Kudrow is among several underrated movies from the 1990s to watch. After Romy (Sorvino) runs into former high school classmate Heather Mooney (Janeane Garofalo) while at work, she learns from Heather about their upcoming 10-year high school reunion back in their hometown of Tuscon, Arizona.
After talking with Michelle (Kudrow), both realize that their current lives and jobs (Romy at a car dealership and Michelle unemployed) might not seem cool enough. Worried about not impressing their classmates and fearing more ridicule from the popular “A Group”, Romy and Michelle decide to lie about everything they’ve done since graduating high school. However, this lie leads to a series of misunderstandings, a major fallout, and reconciliation. In the end, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion teaches us that the definition of success also includes being your true self and not about impressing other people.
5. Inventing The Abbotts (1997):
The 1997 film is based on the short story of the same name and takes place in the 1950s in a small town in Illinois. Inventing The Abbotts tells the story of how two families from on the opposite sides of the tracks are closely intertwined with each other: working-class brothers Jacey (Billy Crudup) and Doug (Joaquin Phoenix) are in love with the three beautiful and wealthy Abbott sisters Alice (Joanna Going), Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly), and Pamela (Liv Tyler).
Both brothers ‘actions towards the three sisters are completely different. Doug, who is more reserved and idolizes his older brother, falls deeply in love with Pamela and only has his eyes set on her. However, Jacey is only interested in whichever of the two older Abbott sisters is interested in him. Jacey’s affections are also in the form of revenge as he believes Lloyd (Will Patton), The Abbott family patriarch, stole a patent that made him rich from Jacey’s and Doug’s deceased father.
The interesting character dynamics and the chemistry between the cast are what make Inventing The Abbotts stand out from other underrated movies. In addition, the chemistry between Tyler’s and Phoenix’s characters was so amazing that Tyler and Phoenix became a couple in real life. Tyler and Phoenix dated each other from 1995-1998 and although they are no longer together, both are still close friends to this very day.
6. The Edge of Seventeen (2016):
Although The Edge of Seventeen was released only three years ago, it ranks highly among the best coming-of-age movies released in the 2010s. The Edge of Seventeen follows seventeen-year-old Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), whose cynic life becomes more unbearable after her best (and only) friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) starts dating Darian (Blake Jenner), Nadine’s more popular older brother with who Nadine has a turbulent relationship with.
7. Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012):
Based on the book of the same name, Perks of Being a Wallflower is told from the perspective of Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he writes to an unknown person about the trials and triumphs that he goes through during his first year of high school. Charlie, who is shy and suffers from clinical depression setbacks since childhood (which stems from his repressed memories of being sexually abused by his deceased Aunt Helen), becomes friends with seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), who are also stepsiblings.
Throughout the film, viewers will be surprised by its’ many deep layers, which makes it one of the most underrated movies of all time. Perks of Being a Wallflower is a perfect mix between comedy, warmth, tragedy, and an honest depiction of depression.