This topic came to mind when I was watching some clips of one of my favorite underrated films, “The Majestic” starring Jim Carrey. So here are a few films, IMPO, which are underrated but will make your movie tastes a little more awesome.
“The Majestic”. Released in 2001 it is Carrey’s first major non-comedic role in a film (you could count “The Truman Show”, but seeing as that had comedic elements and this is a true drama, I’m not). Set against the backdrop of the Red Scare of the 1950s, the black listing of Hollywood writers and directors, Carrey plays a writer who has been accused of being a communist and has to testify in order to clear his name. But not before a car crash gives him amnesia, and he spends the rest of the film mistaken for a soldier who went MIA during WWII. The speech he finally does give at the climax of the film always gives me chills. It’s one of those types that fill you with the best parts of patriotism. Carrey is amazing but made all the more so with an all star cast of giants like Martin Landau, Jeffery Demunn, and James Whitmore. They help elevate Carrey and help him break from the funny man image he had built up until now. I feel like this is part of Carrey’s filmography that gets missed and it really shouldn’t.
“12 Angry Men” starring Henry Fonda. Ok, it’s not an underrated movie, it’s actually a classic in every sense of the word. However, since it was released in 1957, I feel like it is less known by people in my generation or younger, unless you came across it in a film history class or you are a huge cinephile. Based on a play, it depicts a jury who is charged with deciding the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of murdering his father. The whole movie takes place in one room, for the most part, and the acting is nothing less than phenomenal. The dynamics between the actors, the debates, and the moral and ethical issues that ring true today as much as they did in the 1950s. If you have never seen this gem, take a moment and enrich your life.
“Dark City” starring Rufus Sewell is as mind bending as they come for pre-Matrix era films. Sewell plays John Murdoch, a man who wakes up in a strange hotel, without his memories, but being accused of multiple murders. In his journey to find the truth he discovers an even darker and surreal one. This film has got so much wrapped into it, film noir, mystery, sci fi, and horror. This film was the Matrix in it’s weirdness and mind blowing reveals a full year before The Matrix was released. Some of the effects haven’t aged quite as well but it is still soooo good.
“Constantine” starring Keanu Reeves. With the golden age of comic book movies in full swing this is one from the early days that has slipped into the background, I think, especially with the fan love of the short lived NBC series based on the same character. Reeves plays John Constantine, a cynical, chain smoking exorcist with mystical abilities who tries to help a detective, played by Rachel Weisz, uncover the truth behind her sister’s suicide. Yes there are fan boy gripes about the movie, but I thought it was a great adaptation of the character. Reeves needs to play more assholes, he’s got a knack for it. Also Peter Stormare is one of the best Lucifers to ever grace the screen.
Those are just a few to get you started. If you have any of your own you want to suggest, let me know! I’ll do another list in the future.
Happy father’s day everyone!