Leo’s Top 5 Underrated Films

Written by Leo Panasyuk October 14, 2013


Movies are like flavours of ice cream – some are good, some are not so good. Then there’s those that are so out-there and so uncanny that you’re almost afraid to try them, thus never experiencing their impeccable, unmatched goodness. Underrated movies are like those flavours – they’re brilliant, special and unique – but sadly they are underappreciated despite their marvels and have a difficult time standing out among the more popular titles they’re seen around. Though they are hidden, they are certainly not forgotten. Underrated films are a treasure unto themselves and most times, once you watch them, you’re absolutely befuddled as to why they’re so underappreciated!

5. “Friday” (F. Gary Gray, 1995)

Two of the friendliest faces in the 'hood.

Two of the friendliest faces in the ‘hood.

“How the hell you get fired on your day off?!” This classic 90s gem features Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, the legendary Bernie Mac and a bevy of other memorable characters in a story of two friends, some marijuana, and all the crazy antics that can occur on that one day between Thursday and Saturday. The film is probably one of the funniest stoner-comedies I’ve ever seen and the back-and-forth dialogue and friendship between Ice Cube and Chris Tucker is something that has to be seen to be loved. With great performances by John Witherspoon, DJ Pooh and Tommy Lister, Jr., this film is definitely one of the most underrated films to come out of the good ole 90s.

4. “From Dusk till Dawn” (Robert Rodriguez, 1996)

The handsomest criminal duo since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The handsomest criminal duo since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Before vampires were reduced to glittery, emotional and boring shadows of their former selves, there was a time where vampires were actually feared rather than fawned over – Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk till Dawn” is a film from that time. Written by and starring Quentin Tarantino, “From Dusk till Dawn” tells the story of the Gekko brothers (Tarantino and George Clooney) as they must spend the night in a seemingly innocent strip club/bar (as far as strip clubs go in terms of innocence) so that they can get paid for a bank robbery they committed before the events of the film. The true magic of this film lies in the writing as it is sharp, quick-witted and full of comedy in all the wrong places and once the sun sets, this film really… explodes. With a colourful cast featuring the likes of Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin and Tom Savini, this film is certainly one of Tarantino’s best writing credits and Rodriguez’ most underappreciated directorial gems.

3. “Snatch” (Guy Ritchie, 2000)

Gangsters, Pikeys and a dog.

Gangsters, Pikeys and a dog.

Before directing the Robert Downey Jr. iteration of “Sherlock Holmes,” Guy Ritchie made a film called “Snatch.” The premise is simple: stolen diamonds attract a swarm of flies (people, rather) of varying shapes and sizes and before you know it, the chase is on! Everything about this film is great – the writing and dialogue are comically genius, giving each scene a sarcastic and snarky vibe; the acting is memorable with great performances by Brad Pitt (good luck deciphering even a syllable of what he says), Jason Statham and Dennis Farina; and the soundtrack couldn’t be better as each song fits the scene so perfectly that it becomes difficult to picture any other song in its place. This beauty is definitely worth a watch.

2. “Rubber” (Quentin Dupieux, 2010)

The Michelin Massacre...

The Michelin Massacre…

Imagine this. Right now. A homicidal tire rolling around killing almost any sentient being it comes across with its powerful psychic abilities. While some of you may be laughing, questioning what you’ve just read or wondering what’s wrong with the world, let me tell you one thing – it exists and it’s awesome. It’s not real, however, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. “Rubber” is simply a film about a living tire trying to find its place in the world, all the while committing vile, cranium-combusting murders. The film is very self-reflexive as the tire’s journey is viewed by an audience who comment on the film’s progression as it rolls along. It’s a very interesting albeit odd premise but it’s certainly worth a watch if you’re looking for something odd and bizarre that you’ve never seen before.

1. “Mystery Men” (Kinka Usher, 1999)

Who you gonna call?

Who you gonna call?

There is so much I’d like to say about “Mystery Men” but I’ll try and keep it short. This film honestly doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves and is one of the best faux-superhero films out there. The film is heavily inspired by popular superhero films such as “Batman” and “Superman” and is even set in a city akin to the classic Gotham City as seen in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” The Mystery Men themselves are not your usual superheroes as they all have odd, rather regular powers – well, at least some of them. What makes this film incredibly awesome is the chemistry within the group as it ranges from camaraderie to contempt and everything in between. With a spectacular and varied array of heroes and villains and the acting talents of William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Ben Stiller and Geoffrey Rush, “Mystery Men” is definitely one of the most underrated films of all time and if you’re reading this now and haven’t seen it, go see it!

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About Leo Panasyuk

A fan of all things film, Leo never really lets himself get tied down to one specific genre. He's always interested in watching new and old films and especially loves the IMAX format. When he's not choosing which movie to watch next, he's studying Film and English at Western University.

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