by: Matthew J.R. Kohler
Do you love a movie that is not loved by the masses? Here is a list of films I think need to be watched by everyone, and that I think are underrated.
10.) Prisoners (2013)
Prisoners stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film explores themes of how much people are willing to sacrifice for those they love, and what they are willing to give up to protect them. One of the most intriguing things about this film is its intensity. I’ve never been a movie theater where the audience is breathing as one, until I saw this film. Prisoners keep you guessing and keeps you asking, “Would I do this?” I still can’t answer the question. I consider it a must watch for anyone who or hasn’t seen it.
9.) Rumble in the Bronx (1994)
After Rush Hour came out, people didn’t pay attention to Jackie Chan’s early 90s films that got him into Hollywood. One of these films is Rumble in the Bronx. It is about an ex-martial arts champion who visits his uncle in Bronx. Realizing how rough the underground gangs are, Chan’s character must stop an elite group of thugs with his fists! The story is not really the point of the film. The action is what sets the film apart. Not only does he jump from building to building, but there are several fight scenes in which Chan is surrounded by multiple people, and must fight his way out. Chan’s fighting techniques are impeccable. Each move happens so quickly that it is no wonder why he is one of the best fight choreographers.
8.) Robocop (1987)
Robocop might be the greatest misunderstood movie ever (which is part of the reason why some people leave it alone). Directed by Paul Verhooven, this satire science fiction film delves into corruption of corporations, and is set in the inner streets of Detroit. One thing I really like about this film is how well it has aged. It is just as relevant today as the year it was made. If it wasn’t for the mediocre sequel and the god-awful third movie, I think Robocop would have more acclaim.
7.) Batman Returns (1992)
I don’t think anyone was prepared for this movie. Batman Returns did many things that made us question Burton’s sanity. Batman is different than we’ve ever seen him before. The character kills relentlessly. There is virtually no color palette other than black. The villains, Danny “The humping Penguin” Devito, and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck are also quite a departure. I did not mind most of these changes. If you remember that in Batman, the caped crusader killed Joker, one of his main enemies. His next move logically seems to kill his enemies, instead of turning them in to the police. I felt Burton wanted to make Batman more alone than ever and the only thing that keeps him “normal” is a psychotic Catwoman. I think that for the best viewing experience, viewers should probably leave a lot of their preconceived notions of the character behind, as this film is not a typical presentation of the Batman mythos.
6.) The Longest Day (1962)
In 1962 this was a big deal, but since Saving Private Ryan came out, interest has seemed to decline. The Longest Day starred everyone famous from the 1950s to the early 1960s (Even Sean Connery had a little role in this film). It even had three directors from three different countries so as not to skew the different points of view. The film tells the story of the American landing on Normandy Beach on D-Day. Not only does it have some awesome action set pieces, but it really drives home why people were fighting. To me, this is the original Saving Private Ryan.
5.) Back to the Future Part II (1989)
I know Back to the Future is insanely popular, but a lot of people believe the second film is not as great. Back to the Future Part II is not only a lot darker than the first film, but it is a lot more complex. The thing I love most about this movie is the alternative 1985 era. One of the best scenes in the trilogy comes from Doc Brown and Marty in the Brown’s garage. The film also has one of the most talked about sets, the future 2015, which I love because the directors blew most of it out of proportion.
4.) Unleashed (2005)
At this point in his career Jet Li had been a staple in American theaters, but none of his American films really packed the punch as his Eastern films until Unleashed. Not only does it have some of the best fight scenes, but some of the most heartfelt moments Li has put on the big screen. Alongside Li was none other than Morgan Freeman. Freeman plays a blind piano player who aids Li’s character in becoming his own person. The piano music helps Li’s character remember who he used to be. If you haven’t seen this amazing film, I recommend to any moviegoer.
3.) The Warriors (1979)
It’s safe to say that The Warriors is more known for its video game than from its movie. However, I consider the film to be a true classic. The film is about a gang who is framed for killing the Gang Leader. Throughout the film the Warriors are on the run to head back to their home turf before its they are killed. Not only does The Warriors have really iconic lines: “Warriors, come out to play!” and “Can you dig it?”, but it also had a unique look to it. Before the term gritty existed, movies in the 1970s had a lot of the same elements that we now associate with a gritty film: chaotic violence, realistic characters, drugs, and lighting schemes. The only thing that makes The Warriors a stinker is the ending.
2.) Clue (1985)
This film is a true cult classic. I have never met a person who’s seen this film and hated it. The only problem is that many people haven’t seen it! Starring Tim Curry, Christopher Llyod, Michael McKeen, and that one guy from Jingle All the Way, Clue puts seven people in one mansion trying to solve “Who killed Mr. Body?” This is a film that you can either take seriously, or laugh all the way through. One of the best things about the film is when Tim Curry retells the entire movie in Act III.
1.) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Yes, this movie did go to theaters, and yes, this is the best Batman film ever. In 80 minutes, the filmmakers are able to tell a better story than Christopher Nolan did over three movies. Starring Kevin Conroy as Batman, Batman: Mask of Phantasm is a story about Bruce Wayne’s first love, and about him becoming the Batman. It leads to the final confrontation between Batman and The Joker (played by the great Mark Hamill). The film brings in the best elements from the 90s show, and contains (possibly) Mark Hamill’s best performance as The Joker. If you love great cinematic experiences, then this is the perfect movie for you.