Looking back at the 2010s, it’s no secret to say there have been some great movies out there. Whether it’s the mega-blockbusters or Oscar-winners, they certainly made an impact in the entertainment world. Though it isn’t easy for some of them to be get lost in the shuffle when it comes to any box office results or critical reception, these are the kinds of movies that not a lot of people have seen or even heard of in passing.
Trying to come up with this list wasn’t too hard since these are the ones that I talk about the most and consider them what they truly are: Underrated. These are also my personal opinion that some might not consider them this way, and I haven’t seen the ones that might be in this category. Putting together this top 10 list allows me to share what I believe to deserve attention. The kind that didn’t get any a ton of Oscar love; the kind that you defend; and the kind that are unique in their own way.
10) Sing Street (2016)
RT Score: 95%/ Box Office: $3,237,118
John Carney loves to make movies about people being influenced by music and striving to be someone, as shown in Once and Begin Again, respectively. But his 2016 coming-of-age drama Sing Street is the best one yet. The simple premise of a teenager from Dublin starts a band to impress a cute girl is enough to be enjoyable for all. Not enough people have heard of Sing Street, and they should give it a shot if listening to some catchy, original songs are your thing and contains a heartwarming story on following your dreams. Probably one of my favorite scenes involves Jack Reynor and this deep conversation with his brother.
9) The Guest (2014)
RT Score: 91%/ Box Office: $332,890
Adam Wingard’s filmography after The Guest can be seen as a letdown with what he has done later on. Even back in 2014, I haven’t heard of this until Chris Stuckmann reviewed it, and he loved it. The Guest came out of nowhere, and it blew me away by how unpredictable it came to be. I didn’t even watch the trailer. This throwback to 80s horror/ thrillers with a true breakout performance from Dan Stevens as David, who visits this family after their son died in a war in Afghanistan, that’s unpredictable and tense. Trust me when I say you should go into this blind, knowing nothing about it. Such a massive shame this didn’t come out everywhere.
8) Super 8 (2011)
RT Score: 81%/ Box Office: $127,004,179
Super 8 was the perfect film to come in the summer, and though it did well at the box office, this J.J. Abrams-directed/ Steven Spielberg produced sci-fi blockbuster doesn’t get enough attention nowadays. Outside of having an amazing train crash sequence and great performances from Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney, it brings together Super 8 with engaging storytelling, real emotions, and wonderful characters. Feeling like some classic adventure films most kids who grew up in the 80s. The ending alone, combined with Michael Giacchino’s score, is enough to fully love it.
7) The Nice Guys (2016)
RT Score: 93%/ Box Office: $36,261,763
Just talked about The Nice Guys in my list of the best comedies of the decade, and it applies here when it was absolutely the most underrated movies of 2016. Shane Black’s buddy cop comedy never had a boring moment and that adds up nicely thanks to its smart writing and dynamic chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. The fact that we haven’t gotten a sequel truly shows we can’t have nice things when it comes to original movies in Hollywood.
6) Steve Jobs (2015)
RT Score: 86%/ Box Office: $17,766,658
At least with Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, it was leagues better than that Ashton Kutcher’s flop-fest. To this day, how is it that nobody saw what we should call a riveting drama about the late Apple creator? Not enough buzz? Slow weekend? Whatever the case may be, everything worked ceremonially with nearly every scene was elevated by its stellar performances, including Michael Fassbender as the titular genius, and Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant screenplay that was snubbed for an Oscar (Strange how he won the Golden Globe). It’s the definition of a three act-structure that’s important much as taking a peek into Jobs’ personal life.
5) Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
RT Score: 90%/ Box Office: $100,206,256
If there’s one Tom Cruise action movie from this decade that might be better than Mission: Impossible- Fallout, that would go to Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow. This is what you call a fun sci-fi, time-loop film that gets fresher every time I catch it on television. The reason why it’s underrated is that it didn’t perform that well at the box office, and I think it was the word of mouth and home media sales that made it more popular. Side note: Throwing in the “Live Die Repeat” business seems a bit pointless. It felt like an original film despite it being based on a Japanese light novel. This was one of those times where Cruise’s character gets smarter as he progressively gets killed each time and knowing what’s about to happen on the battlefield when re-living the same day. I adore Emily Blunt a lot, and this might be the best performance as Rita Vrataski proving herself to be an action star. Edge of Tomorrow was undeniably a blast through and through. This is also one of the movies that I hope for a sequel to come out very soon.
4) The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)
RT Score: 79%/ Box Office: $21,403,519
The Place Beyond the Pines is definitely for those who are huge fans of Bradley Cooper and/or Ryan Gosling. Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to 2010’s Blue Valentine examines how certain events in our lives can impact a family and ourselves. My mom actually saw this first, and she really enjoyed it. I caught it later that year, and it took me by surprise. This is an overlooked drama that took an unexpected turn and just stayed with that feeling until the end. It takes the viewer through three interesting stories without any of them falling flat.
3) The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
RT Score: 86%/ Box Office: $17,742,948
How did Summit Entertainment not put this in a wider release? Because those felt like an outcast while in high school should watch a movie like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Writer/director Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of his own book perfectly handles a coming of age dramedy that can be seen through Charlie (Logan Lerman)’s perspective surviving his freshman year of high school and gets the opportunity to join one with the cool crowd, which includes Sam (Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (the lovable Ezra Miller). For someone that considers themselves an introvert, this resonates with me that touching and just gets to your heart. Just great from start to finish with great fleshed out characters, a killer soundtrack, and a relatable story to get behind. Here’s a quote I’ll always remember: “We are infinite.”
2) The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
RT Score: 94%/ Box Office: $14,431,633
Yes, I do love my teen movies, and The Edge of Seventeen is one of them. Expected nothing from Kelly Fremon Craig’s comedy-drama about the difficulties that one comes with being an awkward teenage girl, but it ends up being much more than that. Hailee Steinfield’s Nadine is the kind of character that you get a sense of understanding where she’s coming from. Either that means being distant from her family or just wanting to feel free from the shackles of her own insecurities in her life. Why it’s underrated is that this only made $14 million domestically. Sad, I know. Because of this, Steinfield proved to be a great lead, and it’s all thanks to a brilliant script that left unnoticed by the rest of the world. Moving, hilarious, what’s there to miss?
1) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
RT Score: 81%/ Box Office: $31,524,275
In my humble opinion, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the pure definition of what can be considered underrated. Is there anything more awesome than a Edgar Wright feast for the eyes that contains elements of action, romance, comedy, bombastic music, and the titular bass-playing character challenging seven evil exes to win the heart of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)? I think not. This now has a cult following, but I still don’t think a lot have seen Scott Pilgrim vs. the World since it bombed at the box office in 2010. This adaptation of the popular graphic novel series ensues in a fast-paced environment that feels like a video game has come to life. There’s no one better to play Scott than Michael Cera. Dazzling and stylized action sequences, humor that hits at every corner, and just freakin’ awesome that jolts the brain. I’m in lesbians with this movie, and it’s the most underrated movie of the decade.
Honorable Mentions: The Dark Knight Rises, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Star Trek Beyond, About Time, First Man, The Adjustment Bureau, Warrior, Seven Psychopaths, Rush, Short Term 12, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Flight, The Hateful Eight