The Decade in Review: Top 10 Most Underrated

Sometimes there are movies that because of high expectations, don’t quite live up to the hype, therefore people and critics shrug it off as a failure. There are also some movies that people just pan or shrug off based on it’s cast or premise. Although there are some occassions where I’ve had such thoughts, I like to give every movie a chance. There are times when I regret it but there are times when there is a true gem that most people just don’t care for without even seeing it, or they just don’t like it for the reasons I’ve mentioned.

My list is compiled of movies that “failed” due to high expectations as well as those that most think are truly horrible. I love all of these movies and I don’t feel ashamed for doing so.

Here are my top 10 most underrated movies of the decade.

10. Australia

Baz Luhrman | 2008

I guess that after the greatness of Moulin Rouge! there were high expectations for Lurhrman’s next project (mine were definitely like that). When it was announced that he would do an epic romance, I guess people thought that he was going to try to bring back the sub-genre, when in fact it was just an homage to those movies. Most people didn’t see it as the latter, which is why they hated it. However, there were a few of us who saw it for what it was and we loved it. The romance is great, the cinematography is amazing, the score fits the story, and the performances are great. Yes, the script had problems, but they can be easily forgiven thanks to the rest of the production.

9. The Fall

Tarsem | 2008

This movie originally played in the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006 and it was panned, with most critics calling it an inferior copy of anther festival darling from that year, Pan’s Labyrinth. Two year later, it was released independently to bad reviews. There were a few critics like Roger Ebert who actually saw it for what it was, a visual treat supported by a small story. It is a gorgeous movie filled with  remarkable images and featuring great performances by Lee Pace and Catinka Untaru. It may not have a very deep and thought provoking story, but the story confined with the magnificent production makes for a great experience.

8. Across the Universe

Julie Taymor | 2007

Most people who dislike this mostly complain about how “misused” the songs by The Beatles were, about how little story there is to support those historic lyrics. I guess their love for the songs did not allow them to see the beautiful production, the great direction, the great performances, the good arrangements of the songs. They missed out on all the fun.

7. Knowing

Alex Proyas | 2009

Nicolas Cage had not had a good decade. For every Lord of War ,The Weatherman, and Adaptation there are two National Treasures, one Next, one Bangkok Dangerous, one Ghost Rider, and one The Wicker Man. So I guess that when this came out the presence of Cage made most people dismiss it as another one of his attempts to become an action star so late in his career. However, the movie is not just Nicolas Cage. It was directed by one of the most interesting directors out there, the script, despite it’s huge flaws, had some interesting ideas that Proyas takes the most advatage of, and it also features Cage’s best performances since 2005 when he had both Lord of War and The Weatherman

6. Memoirs of a Geisha

Rob Marshall | 2005

The book on which this is based is amazing, so there is no way that the movie was going to live up to it. Despite that, I believe Rob Marshall did a great job in translating the story visually into the screen it is one of the best produced movies of the decade. Yes, the script is rather bad, but the behind-the-scenes people and the actors rise above the material. Should you expect a fast-paced movie? No, you should expect a slow-burning experience and take everything in to enjoy the great ending.

5. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zizzou

Wes Anderson | 2004

It may not be Wes Anderson’s best, but I’d say that it is his most interesting, visually, and it has some really funny moments, as well as plenty of heart felt ones. Plus, it sports Bill Murray’s best post-Lost in Translation performance, Angelica Houston, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, and a song by Sigur Ros. What more can you ask for?

4. Monster-in-Law

Robert Luketic | 2005

Does it have the most original story? No. Is It well written and directed? No. So why do I think it is underrated? Well, it is because of the actresses. Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez have great chemistry together, and that alone makes almost every joke work. Plus, there is the always-reliable Wanda Sykes and the always reliable assistant ready with a one liner for every situation.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Garth Jennings | 2005

Based on the books by Douglas Adams, I think the movies does a great job of translating the humor, which is not the humor that most people are used to. I does not have jokes that give you belly laughs, but the kind of humor that makes you go, “that’s funny.” Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, and Sam Rockwell are perfectly cast and make everything work.

2. Speed Racer

The Wachowskis | 2008

“It looks like a videogame and it has no story” was the biggest complaint I heard about this movie. This was never supposed to be the next Matrix, it was supposed to be a movie for the whole family to enjoy. And that was what we got. It has a simple good vs. evil, family always sticks together story, combined with great, groundbreaking visual effects, and good performances to boot.

1. The Fountain

Darren Aronofsky | 2005

I guess the main reason why most people don’t like it is because of it’s non-linear narrative. I loved it from the first time I saw it, and has only gotten better with repeat viewings. Hugh Jackman gives what is his best performance to date, and Rachel Weiz is also quite good. Some parts are off-putting and you do wonder what part is actually happening, but that is only part of the beauty of it. This is definitely one of the best movies of the decade.

There are my 10 most underrated movies of the decade. Feel free to offer your opinion in the comments section.

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