The Most Underrated Films of 2012
According to me. I feel I should preface all these lists with that, because there’s always some asshole who is like, “But what about (this)?” Well I’m not making a list that stands for everyone. I’m just saying shit that I think is underrated.
That said – there are always a bunch of underrated movies. And since I have Hidden Gems lists now, and am soon going to write up what I think are the most underseen films of 2012 – I should probably figure out just how I’m going to define “underrated” for this article.
I guess it’s going to have to be – films that I feel most people know about/have seen, that I think are getting a bad rap, or are misunderstood, or aren’t quite properly recognized as being as good as they are. This is of course bordering on what I define a Hidden Gem as, but it’s different in two regards. Hidden Gems for me deal with films that are underrated and underseen, and more importantly require the passage of time. I’m making snap decisions based on the short term, which is how most opinions in this day and age are formed anyway. Films are dismissed or embraced immediately based on the first few weeks. (Which is why this list, and tomorrow’s list – the most overrated films of 2012 – are being posted.)
So my definition of underrated is going to be a film that people know about and probably have opinions of that I think are better than those opinions. (For the most part. I mean, if your opinion of the films is really high, then – well, actually, if your opinion of the films is really high, chances are you’ll agree with me that it’s underrated.) Of course, some people might think the films I put on this list are actually overrated, and some people might think the films I put on this list don’t belong here because people do actually think they’re good – I don’t care. I’m just going by what I think. As you are. If this were objective fact, this blog would get a lot more hits than it does, and my opinion would be worth so much more than it is.
So here are the most underrated films of 2012, according to me (in alphabetical order. Nothing more):
– – –
- It’s not getting too great reviews. And I don’t understand why. This is a movie that shouldn’t be interesting. Who doesn’t know this story? And Joe Wright decided to do something big and bold with it, setting it on a literal stage and doing something visually interesting and innovative. And I don’t understand why people haven’t respected that. And I mean critics, mostly, since at this point, unless a film is one of those hugely promoted movies, the critics are usually the one driving the initial reaction to a film for the first few years, until people start actually (re)discovering it (like Speed Racer). But, this was one of those films that was originally thought of as an Oscar film, didn’t get the reviews, and therefore, is considered a piece of shit. I’m being extreme, but that’s seemingly how these things go. All the films that don’t end up getting those “Oscar” reviews have this aura about them that’s — “not good.” And I don’t get it. I thought this was great. I loved how he shot this, I loved the costumes, the colors — I think this is one of those stories that’s hard to shine any new light on, or make the characters particularly deep, so enhancing the artifice of it all is really the only way to keep it interesting. I thought they did a terrific job with this and think the mediocre reviews (to be fair — the people who did like this movie did really like it, but still) are gonna keep some people from thinking this is good/seeing this. Even so, I think it’s a crazy underrated movie and should probably be nominated for more Oscars than it’s going to be nominated for.
2. Cloud Atlas
- I saw this one coming from a month or so out. This probably would have made this list even if I didn’t like it. This is one of those movies people just weren’t destined to understand. And that always makes it “shitty” to people. Shitty is a strong word, but you know what I mean. It has that air about it that makes people think, “I don’t want to see that/I’m not gonna like that.” Which is a shame, because few films made me as engaged or as interested or think as much as this one did. And this has the added bonus of being thought of as a big bomb. And it’s a shame that people aren’t gonna see this, because it’s a really great movie. I sure as shit hope this one goes the way of Speed Racer and gets rediscovered in a few years.
- Another movie that’s a bit — obtuse — for audiences (and maybe critics), and that led to some mixed reviews. I really enjoyed this movie. Had no fucking clue what it was about, but I really enjoyed it. And that’s the point. I don’t need to “get” movies, and neither does the audience. I feel like a lot of the negative reviews talked about how not cinematic this movie is and how it’s not really about anything — isn’t that the point? I feel like that’s the complaint with most of these movies — either they’re not about enough or they try to hard to be about something. What the fuck do critics want, then? I don’t know what this movie was trying to say, if anything (and I think it’s not anything), but I do know that I was with it almost all of the way and was engaged. Add to that the fact that a director like David Cronenberg made it — I think this is a movie that people need to stop thinking about and just let it work on them. Just watch it and let it do what it does. I think this movie is better than what the people who jumped to the “too talky, didn’t get it, didn’t like it” people would have you think. Decide for yourself.
- I think this has some respect, but I think people overlooked just how solid a movie this was. The structure was incredible. And it’s one of those movies that’s so overly complicated in its plotting that it becomes simple. And I love how they manage to run through all these famous people and give them screen time and all of that. I think this is one of the best action movies of the year and is gonna end up (and is. It simply is) being overlooked in favor of Magic Mike — which is cool. I really liked that movie too, and I have nothing against that. But I think all the love for that movie has only served to make this movie even more underrated.
5. Man on a Ledge
- Those who read the blog know I’m a sucker for the B movie and those movies that remind me of all the movies I went to see in the theaters when I was growing up. And this is both. It’s a thriller that doesn’t aspire to be anything more than a fun movie. And the concept is terrific. It reminds me of movies like Fourteen Hours, where it’s simple and allows for you to add other shit to it. But honestly — this is just fun. And I feel like most people were pretty dismissive of this. “Oh, it’s about a man on a ledge, meh meh meh.*” (*Actual quote.) People didn’t see it or saw it and were like, “Yeah, all right, whatever.” I won’t abide that. I think this is awesome. This movie is simple and it’s one of those movies you enjoy from cover to cover like a cheap paperback. I said it after I saw them — going in I would have expected to like Safe House more than I liked this. But what happened? I loved this so much more. Dude on a ledge, heist movie, twists and turns — just fun all around. Very underrated movie, since most people are apt to go, “Meh, whatever,” or say it’s terrible, because that’s what you’re supposed to say about a movie like this.
6. Mirror Mirror
- Because I feel like people think this is a disaster. Hell — I thought this was gonna be a disaster. And I saw it — it was fine. It was totally fine. It had some good moments, it had some bad moments. But the way I went into this, I thought it was gonna suck. So I think that makes this underrated, since I feel like a lot of people haven’t seen this, either because they don’t think it’s gonna be good or they don’t care about it. (Underrated doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great movie. I just mean — people expect one thing, and I think it’s better than that. Here, I think most people think this movie is terrible, and I’m saying it’s surprisingly not so. And also, at the moment, I couldn’t really find a movie that made sense as a #10. I didn’t have anything that I liked enough and was high profile enough to call underrated.)
7. The Raven
- I knew about this movie. I had a feeling that this wasn’t gonna be liked very much and that I was gonna think it as pretty decent. And that’s what happened. It’s a pretty decent and watchable mystery film. It’s not complex, and it’s not world class cinema, but it’s an entertaining little movie. It’s underrated in the sense that most people either skipped this, thinking it was bad, or saw it and thought it was bad either because most other people thought it was bad or because it was just easier to not like it. (Of course, thinking it was bad is acceptable too. I’m just saying. There’s a prevalence of people going along with opinions and listing certain films as the “worst” movies of the year, just because most people are also listing certain movies as the worst movies of the year.) I enjoyed this for what it’s worth.
8. Total Recall
- Another one I thought was gonna be terrible. Well, not terrible, but more like — it was dumped in August, they spent a lot of money on it — it wasn’t looking good. And I really enjoyed this. It was a really solid movie that I know a lot of people are gonna say was terrible just because it’s easier to say this was terrible than to like it. I thought this was well-made and was really enjoyable and didn’t change what the original is (or isn’t) at all. It’s just an entertaining action movie. I’m a fan, and I think it’s very underrated because I know this is gonna show up on a lot of people’s lists of the worst movies of the year, and I think that’s totally unfair. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.
9. Premium Rush
- Again — B movies and movies I grew up with. This is both. I was destined to love this movie, and I did. This was fucking terrific, this movie. Bike messengers, corrupt cop, chases through the city over the course of a day — wall to wall action. And not the action you think of when you hear that term. I heard a lot of people (and I’m talking first hand — I’ve spoken to these people) who just out and out didn’t like this movie, which I think is weird. They talk about it being bad like it was trying to be Les Mis or something. It’s just a B movie that wants to be a fun time at the movies. And it is. I enjoyed the shit out of this and love these kinds of movies. I think it’s underrated because a great time at the movies is always underrated. Plus I know this movie has its share of detractors. But mostly — I think it’s underrated because it’s fun and I think there are people who haven’t seen this because they think, “Well… why should I waste my time?” Because it’s fun as shit and who the fuck wants to sit through This Is 40 again? (Nothing against that movie, I’m just saying — it’s long. You have to work through it.)
10. Killing Them Softly
- I already see this one falling through the cracks. I know this is gonna end up being a hidden gem for the year once enough time has passed. People just don’t get this movie. It didn’t make money, and no one really understands what it’s about or what happens (though my favorite is all the reviews that say, “…film by Andrew Dominik, who made the masterpiece The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” … where the fuck was that shit when that movie came out!?), and they go, “Well nothing actually happens here.” This is almost like No Country for Old Men in the sense that — “Well what was actually the point of all that?” And I think that was awesome. And I think that people are not really giving this movie the respect that it deserves for being what it is. I’m trying not to say so much because it’s kind of fresh and maybe some people haven’t had time to see it, but — I really think this movie is so underrated. It’s gonna get ignored by the Oscars and not seen by too many people, and that’s wrong. This movie is so underrated.
– – – – –
So those are my underrated movies of the year. Tomorrow, I do the overrated movies. Which will be fun. Since it’s not hard for shit to be overrated. Mostly it’s big movies. But I’m excited. I can’t wait for whatever negative feedback I’m gonna get. Since the best part about that is when they defend the movie by attacking others, as if that changes things. Can’t wait.