Top 30 most underrated movies out there

by cmccartney257 | created - 18 Apr 2012 | updated - 18 Apr 2012 | Public

This list is subjective, of course. I have not seen THAT many movies, so as I watch more this list is subject to change over time. Also, these movies are not listed in any order; I feel similarly about all thirty of them.

These movies may be underrated either based on star ranking (Angels in the Outfield) OR based on the number of people, or lack thereof, that are aware of its existence (Snow Cake).

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1. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

PG-13 | 146 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards

Votes: 267,946 | Gross: $78.62M

A quality movie with an engaging storyline and a hard-to-watch ending. A lot of people didn't like the ending but I thought it was bittersweet and beautiful. Osment was great in this.

2. The Mist (2007)

R | 126 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

58 Metascore

A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher

Votes: 253,012 | Gross: $25.59M

The CGI was terrible and Mrs. Carmody's character was stereotypical and way over the top, but this movie did a nice job of building suspense and the ending was awesome. King has said that he prefers the movie's ending to the more open-ended conclusion of his book.

3. Angels in the Outfield (1994)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

44 Metascore

When a boy prays for a chance to have a family if the California Angels win the pennant, angels are assigned to make that possible.

Director: William Dear | Stars: Danny Glover, Brenda Fricker, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd

Votes: 25,480 | Gross: $50.24M

Sequels are nothing special, but I found the storyline humorous and the characters were awesome (especially the announcers..."less is more.") Not a masterpiece, but its star rating should be at least 1.5 higher.

4. The Langoliers (1995)

PG-13 | 180 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Most of the passengers on an airplane disappear, and the remainder land the plane in a mysteriously barren airport.

Stars: Patricia Wettig, Dean Stockwell, Tom Holland, Kate Maberly

Votes: 23,968

Another quality Stephen King adaption. It's a little long but the storyline is really creepy and they do a good job of keeping the secret of the Langoliers concealed for as long as they possibly could. To be honest, I would have preferred not seeing them at all. The Langoliers took its time and built suspense effectively without resorting to gore or jump scares. One of the top 10 King adaptions IMO.

5. Space Jam (1996)

PG | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

59 Metascore

In a desperate attempt to win a basketball match and earn their freedom, the Looney Tunes seek the aid of retired basketball champion, Michael Jordan.

Director: Joe Pytka | Stars: Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle, Manner Washington

Votes: 134,890 | Gross: $90.46M

People take this movie way too seriously. Jordan isn't a great actor but I found the cartoons to be quite fun. It's an effectively entertaining kid's movie that doesn't take itself too seriously.

6. Black Christmas (1974)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon

Votes: 25,907 | Gross: $4.05M

HIGHLY underrated, and one of the best horror films of all time. Like The Langoliers and Halloween, it built itself up on suspense and character development instead of gore and jump scares. It was funny when it wanted to be and Kidder & Hussey were awesome in this. It was nice to see characters that weren't cardboard cut-outs; Jess was literally the exact opposite of the virgin lead (she wanted to get an abortion...and got one at the end of the film. tee hee.) Excellent use of camera angles as well.

Don't even get me started on Billy. I loved the phone calls and how they escalated from "prank calls" to implied child murder. This film approaches these calls subtlely whereas many other films would have bashed its audience over the head with this. My one caveat lies with the weak redd was obvious from the beginning Peter couldn't have been Billy.

7. Stepmom (1998)

PG-13 | 125 min | Comedy, Drama

58 Metascore

A terminally ill woman has to settle on her former husband's new lover, who will be their children's stepmother.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, Jena Malone

Votes: 53,602 | Gross: $91.14M

One of those movies where people either love it or hate it. I like it and found it moving. Didn't like Susan Sarandon's character, but Roberts and Malone (who is criminally underrated) more than make up for it. This movie can be funny too. Can it be a tad sappy? Sure, but it's still a quality film.

8. Raising Helen (2004)

PG-13 | 119 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

38 Metascore

After her sister and brother-in-law die in a car accident, a young woman becomes the guardian of their three children.

Director: Garry Marshall | Stars: Kate Hudson, John Corbett, Joan Cusack, Hayden Panettiere

Votes: 33,413 | Gross: $37.49M

I thought it was funny, though the first half of the film is better than the second half. Not a lot of people like this movie, which confuses me.

9. Jaws 2 (1978)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror

51 Metascore

Police chief Brody must protect the citizens of Amity after a second monstrous shark begins terrorizing the waters.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc | Stars: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Joseph Mascolo

Votes: 61,036 | Gross: $102.92M

A pretty decent adaption to a great original. It loses steam during most of the second half and the mayor is even more annoying here than he was in the first film -- he's nothing more than a sheap catalyst for the plot -- but it was good. I enjoyed the opening scene, the final ten minutes, and Brody. Not a great movie, but should rank at least a half-star higher than it already does.

10. Piranha (1978)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

71 Metascore

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 16,383 | Gross: $6.00M

Haven't seen the remake, but this movie has one of the greatest premises in the history of cinema. Mutant killer piranha are locked in a laboratory under the ownership of a mad scientist. Why were they created, you ask? Why, as a part of Operation Razortooth (a secret plan to infiltrate Vietnamese rivers with these little buggers during the Vietnam War!) It's a lot of fun for the most part, though the hotel massacre wasn't great. Dante and Jaws creator Spielberg later created the solid "Gremlins." Spielberg told Dante this was his favorite Jaws rip-off.

11. Mulan (1998)

G | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

71 Metascore

To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroines in the process.

Directors: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook | Stars: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, BD Wong, Miguel Ferrer

Votes: 210,556 | Gross: $120.62M

An often overlooked Disney film, Mulan combined a strong female lead with a solid plot and funny supporting characters. Attila was deliciously over-the-top, and the scene where Mulan and her battalion find the burnt village is darn powerful.

12. Unbreakable (2000)

PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

A man learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark

Votes: 305,976 | Gross: $95.01M

Bruce Willis was great and I loved that his kryptonite was water. An effective all-around movie.

13. Signs (2002)

PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 304,736 | Gross: $227.97M

Like Piranha, I am willing to forgive a mediocre ending (again with that corrosive water!) because the rest was well done. I really like Mel Gibson and this movie had some legitimate scares. The atmosphere was terrific. M. Night produced some darn good movies early on in his career. I'm not sure what happened to him, though "Devil" wasn't completely terrible.

14. The Blind Side (2009)

PG-13 | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

53 Metascore

The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.

Director: John Lee Hancock | Stars: Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Jae Head

Votes: 257,412 | Gross: $255.96M

I'm a huge college football & Sandra Bullock fan, so seeing the two together was pretty awesome. Nick Saban is actually a pretty good actor as it turns out. Admittedly, putting this movie on this list is a stretch (it's fairly well-respected) but I honestly believe it's an IMDB top 250 caliber movie. Great story, great execution, and great acting.

15. Rat Race (2001)

PG-13 | 112 min | Adventure, Comedy

52 Metascore

A Las Vegas casino magnate, determined to find a new avenue for wagering, sets up a race for money.

Director: Jerry Zucker | Stars: Breckin Meyer, Amy Smart, Whoopi Goldberg, Vince Vieluf

Votes: 100,587 | Gross: $56.62M

I liked this film the first time I saw it more than the second time, but it was still good upon a second viewing. LOVED the Kathy Bates cameo and there are many memorable lines here. It's silly but effective.

16. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

PG | 142 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

82 Metascore

It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Griffiths

Votes: 461,955 | Gross: $249.36M

I feel it was the best book as well as the best movie, with the last one a close second. It actually feels more like a Crichton story than a Rowling story (not that Rowling is bad...she is really good). It feels less magical than the first two and more adult-like, which draws a neat parallelism to real life as the child actors were clearly starting to grow up around the time of this movie. I have a lot of respect for Rupert Grint by the way, even though he is the least talked about actor of the three former child stars.

17. Freaky Friday (2003)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

70 Metascore

An overworked mother and her daughter do not get along. When they switch bodies, each is forced to adapt to the other's life for one freaky Friday.

Director: Mark Waters | Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould

Votes: 111,291 | Gross: $110.23M

I have a higher opinion of Lohan than most people do. She's intelligent and is a decent actress...too bad that stardom and a bizarre personal life have taken its toll on her. I think she'll pull herself out of her funk once she calms down. This movie was well-done and is what "The Change-Up" should have been. The jokes and plot are not unpredictable, but that doesn't mean this isn't good.

18. The Parent Trap (1998)

PG | 128 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

64 Metascore

Identical twins Annie and Hallie, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, later discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.

Director: Nancy Meyers | Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix

Votes: 103,902 | Gross: $66.31M

Not as good as the original, perhaps, but it's still good. Disliked the sappy ending and the unfair treatment of Cameron Diaz's character, but other than that it was good. I loved both of the butlers...the female reminds me of the butler from "Fresh Prince of Bell-Air." Lohan does a good job here.

19. The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998 Video)

G | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

Simba's daughter is the key to a resolution of a bitter feud between Simba's pride and the outcast pride led by the mate of Scar.

Directors: Darrell Rooney, Rob LaDuca | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Neve Campbell, Andy Dick, Robert Guillaume

Votes: 50,640

I like this movie a lot, and liked the fact that it is based on "Romeo & Juliet." The original, of course, was based on Hamlet. Everything was good, except for a couple of the songs. The animation was solid and only a moderate step down from the original. Compare this to "Return of Jafar," which looked like it was drawn by a stoned spider monkey.

20. Holes (2003)

PG | 117 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

71 Metascore

A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.

Director: Andrew Davis | Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson

Votes: 67,723 | Gross: $67.41M

A really good adaption to Sachar's solid book. I loved the ending and loved that it wasn't afraid to get a tad dark. The male lead was very good while Sigourney Weaver is up there with Streep as one of the best female actresses alive today. Every character was distinguished and well acted.

21. Snow Cake (2006)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, Romance

54 Metascore

A drama focused on the friendship between a high-functioning autistic woman and a man who is traumatized after a fatal car accident.

Director: Marc Evans | Stars: Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Hampshire

Votes: 11,589 | Gross: $0.03M

Ripley meets Hans Gruber in...a love story??? A fantastic movie that not many people have even heard of, forget watched.

22. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

PG-13 | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church

Votes: 442,984 | Gross: $336.53M

Too many villains, but I actually liked all of them. I also liked the action scenes, which are incredible. The flaws (Parker's ridiculous "dark" persona, villain overload, character development) all hurt the movie, but it's not bad as a popcorn flick. A step down from Spiderman 2, but it doesn' deserve to get destroyed.

23. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

R | 109 min | Action, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

A cybernetic warrior from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a 25-year old drifter and his future wife from a most advanced robotic assassin and to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.

Director: Jonathan Mostow | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken, Claire Danes

Votes: 340,285 | Gross: $150.37M

See above. It's a joke compared to the first two movies, but on its's solid. The action scenes and one-liners are awesome. Didn't like the bleak ending (not appropriate for a Terminator movie IMO) and didn't liek the way Sarah Connor was handled, but this is not a bad movie.

24. The Land Before Time (1988)

G | 69 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

66 Metascore

An orphaned brontosaurus teams up with other young dinosaurs in order to reunite with their families in a valley.

Director: Don Bluth | Stars: Pat Hingle, Gabriel Damon, Judith Barsi, Helen Shaver

Votes: 70,667 | Gross: $48.09M

Includes this and the two sequels I have seen (4 and 5). Actually, 5 was probably the best of the lot, but all were solid and distinct from one another. Despite the ending, the unrelentingly depressing atmosphere was actually refreshing in an animated film.

25. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

G | 84 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Three pets escape from a California ranch to find their owners in San Francisco.

Director: Duwayne Dunham | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Alder, Ed Bernard

Votes: 37,848 | Gross: $41.83M

Amusing fun. I loved the cat. I can't remember much about the sequel, though I swear I've seen it at least once.

26. Cape Fear (1991)

R | 128 min | Crime, Thriller

73 Metascore

A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis

Votes: 147,214 | Gross: $79.10M

Has a bad reputation that it doesn't deserve. It's thrilling and atmospheric.

27. The Perfect Storm (2000)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

59 Metascore

An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane

Votes: 143,949 | Gross: $182.62M

It can drag, but it's intense and the special effects are awesome. The red herring with the eye of the storm was pointless but I still enjoyed this.

28. Phone Booth (2002)

R | 81 min | Crime, Thriller

56 Metascore

Stuart Shepard finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist's sniper rifle.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell

Votes: 230,778 | Gross: $46.57M

The original screenplay (found on imdsb) is even better, but Schumacher didn't screw this up. It's really good and claustrophobic. The sniper takes such delight in his work, and you cheer when the idiot pimp gets what's coming to him. This is an interesting concept executed fairly well. Like Misery or Rear Window, it would have been almost impossible to screw up in the first place but give credit to Colin Farrell for making the lay-up.

29. The Rookie (2002)

G | 127 min | Drama, Family, Sport

72 Metascore

A Texas baseball coach makes the major league after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the playoffs.

Director: John Lee Hancock | Stars: Dennis Quaid, J.D. Evermore, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez

Votes: 29,145 | Gross: $75.60M

Well done sports movie that no one really remembers.

30. Independence Day (1996)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

Votes: 481,655 | Gross: $306.17M

See Spiderman 3 and Terminator 3. The action was awesome, even if the dialogue was pretty mediocre. Guess what? I'm not watching a movie where the cover features an alien spacecraft blowing up the white house for its social commentary.

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