30 Criminally Underrated Films

I’m in a listy mood tonight.  Here’s 30 films I think have gotten the short end of the stick, and should be given more credit.

30.  BASEketBall

Often overlooked when discussing the best immature comedies of the 1990s, BASEketball was among the funniest, in my opinion.  While Sandler and Farley were hitting gold with PG-13 classics like Billy Madison and Tommy Boy, the South Park guys hit all the right marks in an R-rated comedy.  Before R-rated comedies became so widely accepted, in the 2000s.

29.  Sunshine

It loses its vision near the end, but before that, it is about as riveting as a sci-fi think-piece gets.  And the cinematography is beautiful.  Though, I did feel like it was 2x better in theaters than when I saw it again on a smaller screen.

28.  Summer of Sam

A rare instance of Spike Lee not being a total knob.  I’m also a little biased, I love period pieces set in the 1970s, I eat them all up.  Some of the story lines are a little uninteresting, but for the most part, it holds together as a nice tribute to a troubling time in New York when a serial killer was on the loose, people just tried to live their lives, and it does a cool job conveying the mood.

27.  The Program

I wonder how many people have actually even heard of this.  It’s basically Varsity Blues, but in college, and more entertaining.  It’s got it’s clichés, oh yes, it’s got them.  In spades.  But I found it to be a nice reminder of 1990s filmmaking.  Steroids guy keeps it crazy.

26.  The Score

I found this to be as entertaining, or MORE entertaining, than any of the Ocean’s Eleven movies.

25.  The Prestige

One of those movies that gets over analyzed for some reason, I guess if you want to take logic into a movie about magicians, you might ruin it for yourself.  Regardless, I was undeniably entertained.  I assume most people don’t even realize Christopher Nolan directed this.  TWO ROINGS OF SOL-EH MEH-ULLL.  EEOOO WAHHNTS TA SEE A BUHH-LET TROICK?

24.  The Devil’s Rejects

The only good movie Rob Zombie has made thus far.  A “sequel” to House of 1000 Corpses it technically was.  But it transcended the mediocrity of its predecessor.  I won’t deny that it was fairly uneven, and Zombie included several sequences of unnecessary crappiness.  But the worthwhile scenes vastly outweigh the crap.  And it has an ending that should be touted.  It captured the mood it wanted to capture perfectly, and it never tried to be more than its supposed to be.

23.  The Quick and the Dead

Little known (among non film fanatics) Sam Raimi western starring Sharon Stone and a young Leonardo DiCaprio about a quick draw tournament.  How cool is that?!

22.  Hot Rod

Definitely considered crap by most, the jokes are there if you’re willing to take the stick out of your ass.

21.  Bug

Such a great build up to madness.  Michael Shannon rules.  This might be the best thing Ashley Judd has ever done.  I just don’t think that many people acknowledge Bug’s existence.

20.  Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers

Yes, this is Bruce Springsteen’s sister. (not joking)

This pretty much encompasses every great aspect of 1980s horror films.  Gratuitous nudity.  Gruesome violence.  Annoying teenagers.  Did I say gratuitous nudity?  Oh, the boobs!  They are a plenty.  Greatest slasher film of ALL TIME.

19.  Cars

Often thought of as Pixar’s lone disgrace, I happen to be under the theory that MOST people haven’t even seen Cars.  They just ASSUME it’s bad.  It’s really not.  I mean, it might be Pixar’s worst movie, but it’s better than most other animated films.  It’s even got some of the classic Pixar emotion in it.  Small town sympathy much?

Also, to explain all your crappy criticisms about why the cars have their own society without humans:

18.  Funny People

The prophecies are coming true! Youtube “Jack & Jill”

By the time Funny People came out, people were ready to hate it upon its release.  Especially in the comedy genre, success = hatred.  The fact that Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan (not even mentioning Sandler) were huge hits at the time, people just naturally start to hate what once was recently funny.  It’s called being a JERK.  It happens to basically every comedian.  They’re the greatest thing one year, then unfunny jerks two successful films later.  Nobody likes to be mainstream, they want to be the guy who laughs at all the poo no one else knows about, and it’s annoying.  I realize the irony in saying that while making this post.

But the film specifically, I understand the criticism towards the 3rd act, and yes it may have been overlong and slightly unnecessary, but overall I think this was a great film.  It’s funny, dramatic and entertaining.  Would I have liked the entire thing to have been about the rise of Rogen and rebirth of Sandler, and the whole mentor/protege relationship?  Sure.  But I’ll take the whole thing for what it was, and I think it’s an underrated script that people poop on unfairly.


17.  Caligula

It’s basically the Citizen Kane of porno.  Don’t try and think of it as any more or any less.  It has balls, give it that.  Both literally and metaphorically.

16.  Eastern Promises

I felt too many people overlooked this great crime drama about the Russian mob.  Too often we have to be subjected to Italian crime.  I like the Rusky angle!  And ladies:  lots of gratuitous shots of Viggo Mortenson’s cock!  (don’t worry fellas, it’s during a brutal knife fight in a sauna).

15.  Watchmen

I know it may be confusing for people who haven’t read the graphic novel (though, is it really?), but I thought this was about as good as anyone could possibly make a movie based on Watchmen.  Maybe a little more modern and stylized than one would have hoped, but it’s mostly got it’s heart in the right places.  And frankly, I liked the changed ending they put into the movie, as opposed to the giant alien squid thing that appeared at the end of the novel.

14.  Youth in Revolt

Fell victim to the “Everybody Hates Michael Cera” movement of the late 2000s.  It’s a shame, because it’s a great movie, WITH a great performance from Cera.  An ode to French New Wave as well, if you care.  Ahhhh nevermind, I take it you probably hate Michael Cera and skipped this paragraph.  I could write anything here and no one is reading it.  Hitler was fashionable!  The dinosaurs invented soccer!  Paris Hilton > Jonas Salk.

13.  1408

Amidst all the lame torture porn that we’ve been subjected to by the Saw movies, and Hostel, and well, every other horror movie of the last 10 years, we finally got a straight up great supernatural/haunted house/ghost movie, and no one cares…  Cleverly told, only a mild amount of BS, and a great performance from Johnny Cusack.

12.  Death Proof

I eat Tarantino dialogue up, and this was full of it.  A true throwback to the grindhouse films of the 70s (much more so than Planet Terror/Machete was, screw you Robert Rodgriguez), Death Proof was cinema gold for anyone who cares about that era.  Maybe trash to the rest, I don’t know.  But, AT THE VERY LEAST, to deny the greatness of the final action sequence is basically saying that you don’t like movies.  I went there.

11.  The King of Comedy

Definitely overlooked as both a great Scorsese film and a great DeNiro performance.  If you like either of them, check this out.  Also, Sandra Bernhard = not terrible?  Yeah, it happens in this movie.

10.  Adventureland

One of the best, most unseen coming of age/post college films in recent memory.  Hate Kristen Stewart?  well…  yeah, you might still hate in this, but she’s more bearable than usual.  Smart, witty script + great performances = Adventureland.

9.  Back to the Future Part 3

I like it better than the second one.

8.  Jackie Brown

Tarantino’s only “true” adaptation (since it was based directly on a book), though he Tarantinofied this as well.  I love this movie, I think it’s great, full of great characters and sequences.  Too bad it’s basically the forgotten Tarantino picture.

7.  The Aviator

I know it got a fair share of awards recognition, but I still feel like most people just considered it “Oscar bait” and didn’t watch it.  It’s phenomenal.  Ranks up there as one of DiCaprio’s best performances, one of Scorsese’s best period pieces, and one of the best biopics I’ve ever seen.

6.  Zodiac

How did so many people not see this?  Such an awesome crime movie.  David Fincher!  Robert Downey Jr!  Jake Gyllenhaal not being lame!

5.  Wet Hot American Summer

You taste like burger… I don’t like you anymore…

The fact that I’ve met people who don’t know what Wet Hot American Summer is makes it underrated.

4.  Black Dynamite

Well, I think most people who actually have seen this movie find it to be amazing, but I think not enough people have seen it.  I feel like this should be considered one of the great comedy spoofs of this century.

3.  Observe and Report

I’m sickened that people don’t like this movie.  Again, I feel like it suffered from a similar disease that Youth in Revolt suffered from, except this is “I hate Seth Rogen because he’s been around too long” syndrome.  Unless you hated Seth Rogen from the very start of his career, I hate YOU for eventually turning on him.  The complaint that Seth Rogan always plays Seth Rogen is COMPLETELY NEGATED BY THIS MOVIE.  Screw you for not seeing this movie.  And eat poo poo for not liking it when you did see it.  It’s one of the greatest dark comedies of all time. It’s a comedic version of Taxi Driver!  Danny McBride (who you probably hates by now, because he’s been around for more than 2 years) delivers this scene to perfection.  I  love this movie.  And hate you for not loving it.

2.  The Cable Guy

I can’t express how much I love this movie.  Easily, EASILY the most underrated comedy of the 1990s.  It’s something special.  And after the release of the 15th anniversary Blu-ray, and I listened to the commentary by ben Stiller (director), Judd Apatow (producer) and Jim Carrey (his first commentary EVER), and they expressed how much they loved the movie and how proud of it they were, it just made me love the movie that much more.  I mean, Apatow asks Carrey if he resents the film because people jerks called it the start of the decline of his career, and he basically said “No way, I love this movie, it one of the great achievements of my career.”  To the cynical jerk who just said “huhuhuh, pinnacle of his lame career?  Oh wow, yeah, maybe it was better than Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, pffffffft”  GO SUCK SOME MARBLES.  I HATE YOU.  For the record I started drinking when I started making this post, and now I’m drunk and I don’t feel like writing anymore, so I’ll wrap this up.

1.  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


[redacted out of embarrassment]

37 thoughts on “30 Criminally Underrated Films

  1. lainosaur says:

    I wanna see adventureland now. THANKS A LOT.

    Also funny people woulda been good if it was 2 movies or shorter. I seriously was confused when it kept going.

  2. G says:

    I’ve only like seen two or three of these…hi-larious writeup, though. BUT THE LADY IN TEMPLE OF DOOM WAS ANNOYING!!! INNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDYYYYY, I’m on an elephant! INNNNNNNDDDDDDYYYYYY, they’re going to tear my heart out! Should’ve let them do that.

  3. geoffrey says:

    you should write more for yourself, and consider other people’s opinions less. it makes it annoying to read your voice, and it just makes the whole list come off as “whiney”. Good list, but seriously, quit it with the generalizations about what you think the public thinks. its just annoying.

    • scottodactyl says:

      In response, three things:

      1) I was drinking/drunk when I wrote this, hence the whiney yelling.

      2) I have to talk about other people’s opinion in a list of underrated films, that’s what being underrated is essentially about, being rated lower than it should by most people. Also, I don’t see the problem in making generalizations, it’s impossible to characterize EVERYONE, obviously. In GENERAL, most people don;t consider these movies to be that great. Dude, everyone generalizes on the internet, that’s how it works.

      3) Honestly, fuck you if you don’t like Temple of Doom.

  4. MatthewGaydos says:

    I love that all of the comments are like, “I agree with you about everything, except for this one thing i don’t, FUCK YOU FOR THAT ONE THING!!!!”

    way to stay open-minded guys

  5. Drock says:

    You had me until Watchmen. It has a lot of flash that doesn’t keep it from being the worst movie ever made. Every movie Zack Synder touches turns to shit but Watchmen is easily the worst.

    • scottodactyl says:

      Worst movie ever made? That’s pretty bold. I know you’re over exaggerating, but well, I don’t know, have you ever seen a Katheryn Heigl movie? You like Uwe Boll? Paul W.S Anderson?

  6. Joe Fiore says:

    I agree with most on this list — mostly all great movies.

    Except Funny People was crap. It wasn’t funny. That is not acceptable for a comedy film.

    And Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom was indeed the worst of the 4. By a lot, too.

    Also there are a lot of movies on this list that almost everybody agrees are great movies. Movies like Back to the Future III, Zodiac, and Aviator. Most people like those movies. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t

    • scottodactyl says:

      Underrated in the scheme of things, I guess. People do generally like The Aviator and Zodiac when they see them, but I feel like they get left out in overall modern film talk.

      Also, Temple of Doom worse than Crystal Skull…? Get the fuck outta here! That’s treason. I’m gonna go eat some monkey brain soup in honor of a lost soul.

    • Steve says:

      “Except Funny People was crap. It wasn’t funny. That is not acceptable for a comedy film.”

      Sounds like your expectations are to blame more than the film itself. It may have “funny” in the title, but it was clearly intended to be a dramedy, which it nails.

  7. test says:

    Holy shit, this list is amazing. I’ll be forcing it upon my friends immediately. A lot of these are my absolute favourite films (Zodiac, King of Comedy, Prestige, Cable Guy) and others I wholeheatedly agree with your assessment (1408, Sunshine, Funny People and Watchmen especially).

    I will now promptly watch Summer of Sam and Bug.

    Also, thanks for making me feel better about my own alcoholism. The write ups make a lot more sense once you get to the explanation.

  8. Alex Graham says:

    Thankyou for putting Observe & Report up there!! I love that movie, and I’m so disappointed few people do (although it was one of Tarantino’s fave films of 2009). Temple of Doom is also my fave Indy film, although I must disagree with you on Cars. I’ve definitely given that movie a go, I’ve watched it about 3 times, yet I still can’t find much outside the animation that I actually like about it.
    Also thanks for some recommendations (and what’s up with your disdain towards Robert Rodriguez?)

  9. Dusty says:

    The movies I’ve seen, I agree with. The Movie’s I’ve missed I want to see. Bookmarked for the next time my Xbox is on w/ netflix.

  10. Pal says:

    I agree with most of this, but Observe and Report sucks (in my opinion) and Wet Hot American Summer is a gigantic, gigantic piece of shit (and that’s not my opinion–its just true).

  11. seven says:

    Thanks for putting this list together. I’ve seen 9. I might have seen a few others, but can’t quite remember… This gave me a few to put on the queue.

  12. David says:

    Good list. I think we generally share taste in film and there’s a couple here I hadn’t seen so I’m on it. Couldn’t get down with Observe and Report though (sorry), I was and still am a Seth Rogen fan, but the quasi rape scene for comedic purposes was just a step over the line for me and lost me. I know, I know, dark comedy, but I literally didn’t get over that joke and it sour me on everything after the second pinch point.

    Adventureland, Jackie Brown, Death Proof, Youth in Revolt, 1408, Cars, Funny People, The Score, The Quick and the Dead, Hot Rod are all on the money for this list … I didn’t think the Prestige was in anyway underrated though. I was working for a movie theatre company when it came out (still am) and it did huge numbers at the Canadian box office and the concensus seemed to be that it was fantastic. I would say that from that same year, of the two magician movies, The Illusionist with Ed Norton and Paul Giamati was far more underrated (and might actually be better than The Prestige … maybe).

  13. english bob says:

    Very well done, it’s interesting what some people deem underrated while others don’t. I’ve seen and like (and own most of) over half of these but you’ve given me 4 or 5 to bookmark, Observe & Report, Wet Hot Summer, Youth In Revolt i will check out. Man I need to rewatch Baseketball thats a damn funny movie, got to love the psychouts! Props on Cable Guy and King of Comedy, underappreciated gems I’ve owned on dvd since they came out. Check out my list here: http://www.imdb.com/list/lMVXoM4JBDM/

  14. K-Man says:

    Several interesting choices. Save the personal attacks, please. Pelople can disagree and dislike without being ^&%)(*$ &^%@C%$() *^&%. Your profanity grew tiresome, and soiled some thoughtful comments.

    • scottodactyl says:

      Yeah, upon rereading it like the NEXT day I thought it was rather profane. But I was bored and drunk at the time, and I started to get angry at why people didn’t appreciate these films. DRUNK GUY YELLING AT HIS COMPUTER ARRRRGGGG

    • Adrian says:

      I disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed the growing hostility and insults. Even when the insults were directed at me (as a person that didn’t like a few of these movies). Profanity is often just another form of comedic expression if you don’t take it personally. 🙂

      In any event..

      scottodactyl – thanks for the list. You helped me pick out a few decent-looking movies to help kill an otherwise boring night.

  15. casandrews says:

    i agree with mostly all this except didnt like funny people at all and although your clearly passionate about temple of doom, despite all the elements of it, was just boring and definately the worst of the bunch, still a good movie but not a patch on the rest!!

  16. TheDude says:

    Dude TOD was awesome, probably not the best Indiana but it was nowhere near as bad as The Crystal Skull Ancient Aliens bullshit. Watchmen shouldn’t be on this list because it never should have been underrated in the first place, easily the best comic book to film adaptation. TDK was damn good, but Watchmen hit the nail on the fucking head.

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