You know with the hundreds of films that come out each year, and have come out in years prior there’s a TON that fall under the radar each and every year. With that I have assembled another fifty films that deserve your attention. They run the gambit of decades, genres, and narratives! These are the films after which you’ll feel cool talking to your friends about, wanting them to share in this joke, or secret however you view the film. In some cases the film was just too obscure, or understated. Others just failed for some reason or another either way, they’re on our list! So enjoy! If you’d like to check out the first fifty films list check out the article titled Fifty Films You Haven’t Seen But Should!. Through the next five weeks I’m going to discuss 50 films (ten each week) that deserve more attention!
Title: Orange County
Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Schuyler Fisk
Why You’ll Love It?: Colin Hanks is really good as a young man trying to escape his dysfunctional family. He hopes to go to Stanford and become a writer. When the wrong transcript is sent in to the college, he has to deliver it personally, and is driven there by his stoner brother. It’s funny and it’s an early naughties master stroke that never got the credit it deserved. Jack Black shines here as Hanks’ stoner brother Lance. He takes his girlfriend (played by Schuyler Fisk) along for the ride, and insanity ensues. This one is a true hidden gem, and I’d suggest you all watch it immediately.
Title: Ed Wood
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette
Why You’ll Love It?: This is Depp and Buron at their weirdest, but the oddest thing is that it’s based on stuff that actually happened. Director Ed Wood was known for never needing a second take. Not only that but he would often wear woman’s clothing (which at the time was illegal) and was obsessed with aging horror actor Bela Lugosi (here played by Martin Landau, a role for which he won Best Supporting Actor) this is a director and his muse in perfect harmony. It’s also a film you have to check out, especially all you cinephiles out there.
Title: The Door in the Floor
Director: Tod Williams
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Mimi Rogers
Why You’ll Love It?: Seduction, melodrama, and solid acting are all really good reasons to like this film. None of the characters are very likable but for me that’s a sign that they’ve at the very least drawn out some sort of emotion. Basinger in particular serves up enough ennui to break your heart and Bridges is especially engaging. Jon Foster though stands out here as a young man entering a world he doesn’t exactly understand. A world he wasn’t prepared to be a part of. It’s the systemic disassembly of a relationship that moves the narrative along, and what a job it does.
Title: I’m Still Here
Director: Casey Affleck
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Antony Langdon, Carey Perloff
Why You’ll Like It?: It’s Joaquin Phoenix at his absolute weirdest and craziest. I’m sure most of you have seen or heard about his altercation during Late Show with David Letterman in which Phoenix showed up to the show in complete disarray. To make matters worse we get to behold the rap skills of the talent, yet enigmatic actor. Actor turned director Affleck really makes this feel like it’s a “real” documentary. You aren’t sure what the hell is going on with Phoenix either, but it’s an enjoyable trip. Aside from one unfortunate scene involving bed sheets that you won’t believe!
Title: Margot at the Wedding
Director: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black
Why You’ll Like It?: Noah Baumbach steps outside his normal quirk zone and deals with issues like sibling rivalry, and family. Secrets get exposed like raw nerves in a fresh cut, and they seem to hurt just as much. As seen above the performance are real and emotional, and just excellent. Of note is Jennifer Jason Leigh going crazy all over the place. This is a story of families and the secrets they hide, it also explores why they should stay hidden. This is definitely one to check out if you haven’t, and I’m sure most of you haven’t. Warning be prepared for a roller coaster of familial emotion.
Director: Tony Kaye
Starring: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden
Why You’ll Like It?: I could very easily point out that this movie stars Academy Award winner Adrien Brody and is directed by the man who brought us the brilliant American History X Tony Kaye. That alone should interest most audiences but it isn’t simply the names in this film that make it worth a watch. The story revolves around a substitute teacher who never seems to stay very long. This detachment as the movies title implies seems to be deeply seated in Henry’s psyche. One day Henry begins to feel attached to a class of students he’s teaching, and this comes after a drifting young lady enters his life. This one is currently available on Netflix Instantly.
Title: Upstream Color
Director: Shane Carruth
Starring: Amy Seimetz, Frank Mosley, Shane Carruth
Why You’ll Like It: Raise your hand if you liked Primer? Yeah I anticipate there’s either a ton of hands, and those not raising them haven’t seen it. Eiter way it’s great and this is Carruth’s follow up. The story well where do I start. A young woman is hypnotized by an organism given to her by a thief, the thief then proceeds to take everything from her. When she awakens from this her life is in shambles. Years later she meets a man who may have had a similar experience. Sounds weird? It is! This one is currently available on Netflix Instantly.
Title: The Immigrant
Director: James Gray
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner
Why You’ll Like It?: Did you read that starring list? Those are some great thespians right there! Also given director James Gray’s history with Joaquin Phoenix having directed him in both 2007’s awesome We Own the Night, and 2008’s Two Lovers which was also pretty good. The story revolves around 1921, and a woman tricked into life as a vaudevillian, and burlesque performer. When a young man tries to save her from this life a conflict arises that will nonetheless change her life. This one is currently available on Netflix Instantly.
Title: The Station Agent
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale
Why You’ll Like It: When a man born with dwarfism (Dinklage) is left all on his own following a friend’s death he moves to New Jersey to live out his days alone. However when he runs into an equally screwed up woman (Clarkson) and a jabber jawing hot dog vendor (Cannavale). With it’s wry witty humor this is a film that will catch you off guard with how funny it is. Somehow it seems to pack an emotional gut punch with it though and it will certainly leave you thinking after all is said and done. This one is currently available on Netflix Instantly.
Title: Force Majeure
Director: Ruben Ostlund
Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren
Why You’ll Like It: Coming all the way from Sweden this Academy Award nominated film goes into how one event can shape the fabric of an entire relationship. When a father leaves his wife and young children behind when a disaster strikes it changes the entire dynamic of their lives. Will they ever be the same again? I know that not everyone is a fan of subtitles, but this is one that is certainly worth your time. In addition there is an upcoming American remake starring Veep’s Julia Louise Dreyfus. This one is currently available on Netflix Instantly.
Well that’s part one! What do you guys think? What underrated movies do you think will show up in the other four parts? Let me know in the comment section below! I’ve already listed my fifty, but maybe some of your suggestions will supersede my list that I have. Share this with your friends and let’s start a conversation on films people need to see but have not.