The Most Underseen Films of 2013

And today we talk about the most underseen films of 2013.

This one is pretty simple — films I think ought to have a bigger audience than they got.

I’m not even necessarily talking about quality, either. I mean, sure, I happened to really like all of the movies I’m talking about, but in general, I’m saying that people ought to see them. I’m not necessarily saying you need to enjoy them, or that they’re necessarily amazing movies. I think they’re amazing movies, but I think the thing that separates this and underrated is the openness of it. When it’s underrated, I truly think more people ought to like those movies and talk about how good they are. Here, I’m just saying, “This movies needs more people to have seen it, so please see it. Think what you want, but just see it. Maybe you’ll like it enough to recommend it to more people.” That’s more what this is. I just want to get these movies to be seen by more people, whether those people like them or not.

So here are my choices for the most Underseen movies of 2013:

About Time

I wasn’t even able to see this until like, January 2nd. It quietly slipped into theaters here in the U.S., no one knew about it, and then it disappeared. No fanfare, no outstanding critical acclaim, no awards push — nothing. And this movie is incredible. We know Richard Curtis knows how to tell a story that we love. Love Actually is a movie we all love. Let’s not pretend like it isn’t. And The Boat That Rocked is a solidly entertaining movie, if not all that substantial, based on what it’s about. But this film — it has it all. It’s a perfect movie. The way I was introduced to this movie, after I finally found someone who had seen it, was, “If you have a father, you will cry.” I’m telling you guys — this is one of the absolute best, most underseen movies of the year. It’s now out on DVD, so there’s no excuse to not see this. It’s Richard Curtis, and we should all know and trust him at this point. Everyone needs to see this movie.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

This showed up on a bunch of people’s “Best of” lists this year. And, while I wouldn’t go that far, I would agree that this is a very good movie that remains woefully underseen. It’s a really nice, quiet movie that’s really well-made and features great performances. Most people consider this one of the best indies of the year, if not one of the best films of the year. Some have this in their top ten, some have it in their top 20. I have it in my top — 60. Either way, a lot of us consider this one of the upper echelon films of 2013. And I know not enough people saw this movie. And it definitely deserves to be seen by more people.

All Is Lost

Gravity got all the attention (and money… and probably Oscar nominations, which we’ll find out in about a week), but this movie is essentially the same thing and just as riveting. Consider this the yang to Gravity’s yin. It’s the same story — person gets stranded in the middle of nowhere, and has to figure out how to survive. It’s absolutely incredible, and no one saw this movie. And if you liked Gravity (which, based on the nominations and box office, you did), there’s no way you won’t also like this movie. And even if you don’t, just see it. You saw that one. This is the same thing. This needs more people to see it. It’s an incredible movie.

Before Midnight

Just on principle. Everyone needs to have seen this trilogy. It’s absolutely beautiful. Unless this trilogy gets Iron Man type audiences, it’ll always be regarded as underseen by me.

The Best Offer

I loved this. Apparently I’m in the minority, of people who have seen it, since it didn’t get that great reviews. But I loved it. I thought Geoffrey Rush was superb, and I thought the movie was incredibly engaging and very well-done. The third act isn’t perfect, but whatever. I was engrossed throughout. And I just wasn’t expecting that. And this is a movie that was released in Italy (it’s the guy who did Cinema Paradiso and it was scored by Ennio Morricone), hasn’t really gotten much of a release here, and no one’s seen it. And all I’m asking is that everyone does go and see this. Whether you like it or not. It deserves an audience. It doesn’t deserve to live in obscurity. I want people to discover this now as opposed to in fifteen or twenty years.

The Book Thief

This is another beautiful movie that not enough people saw. It was poised for an Oscar push back over the summer when we started seeing previews for it, but then the reviews weren’t particularly kind, and instead of getting any kind of buzz, the movie just got left to be forgotten. And that is a real shame, because this is one of those movies that will touch a lot of people. It’s not going to elicit that raw emotion that other films with similar subject matter will, which is why this will never end up on the same level as those other films. But this is definitely a film that’s going to have a strong core of supporters over the years, and over time, I think this will start to get some merit as a really strong film. I’m just asking that people see this, just to see if they like it or not. Because this is definitely one of those where — either you’re going to respond to it very strongly, like I did, or you’re going to go, “Nope, not for me,” and put it aside. All I’m asking is that you get into a position to make that decision. The movie doesn’t deserved to be unseen.

Don Jon

I mentioned this yesterday as one of the most underrated movies of the year. It’s also one of the most underseen. More people (paid) to see Scary Movie 5 than this. The screeners allowed this to (hopefully) get a bigger audience than that, but still — it’s not enough people. This is a very good movie. And I know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is starting to get a bunch of people who like him and like his movies. (My parents are now part of that. They saw 50/50 on cable and really liked it. So now they look out for when he’s in something. More people are starting to be like this.) This movie is going to find its audience. It’s going to be considered a really great movie. It’s just a matter of time. So what I’m saying — get on the bandwagon now. It’s gonna pull away. I’m just saying get on it now so we can speed it up and not make this film have to wait a couple years to find its audience.

Enough Said

It’s a sweet little indie film, with great performances, and just is an overall likable movie. And, most importantly — it’s James Gandolfini’s final film. (There’s one more, but for all intents and purposes, this is the last one.) More people need to see this on that alone. We need to see just how good this man was. And while we’re at it, we need to watch a few more of his more underseen films that feature great performances by him: Killing Them Softly, Not Fade Away, Violet & Daisy, Where the Wild Things Are, In the Loop, The Man Who Wasn’t There, The Mexican — it’s not just now. The man’s been doing this for years. And not enough people noticed. And now the only way everyone will notice is in a bittersweet way. And that’s a shame. But everyone should see this movie as a tribute to him. Because it’s actually a good movie on top of that. So you’ll get a double treat.

Escape from Tomorrow

Because it’s too unique and too brilliant to not have an audience. Everyone needs to see this movie once. This should be required viewing from here on out for every film student and film fan. This is one of the most unique films to ever be made, and on top of it, it shows how ingenuity and a great idea can help you make something, even in the most difficult of situations. This movie, I imagine, is Werner Herzog’s wet dream. This is a dude who went to an airport and pretended to be a veterinarian just so he could procure monkeys for his movie. He teaches his students to be guerilla filmmakers. And that’s what this movie is. I mean, they shot an entire movie in Disneyland without anyone at Disneyland knowing! And the movie features a dude going crazy and Disney princesses acting as high class hookers for Japanese businessmen. And they shot the whole thing at the park, under the noses of everyone, and managed to obscure all the copyright infringement and show this movie at a major film festival and release it into theaters without being sued by the most litigious studio there is! That alone means everyone needs to see this movie. It’s about a fucking dude going crazy at Disneyland! A man becomes mentally unhinged at the Happiest Place on Earth. Everyone needs to see this movie.

Her

It can get all the critical acclaim and internet acclaim and Oscar nominations it wants — but outside of that little sphere of people, no one will have seen this movie. The regular public won’t have any idea about this. And that’s why this is on this list. This movie still won’t have a proper audience ten years from now. You know how I know that? Being John Malkovich and Adaptation still don’t have proper audiences, and both of those have been out for about 15 and 12 years now. And I’m not sure how to get this movie the proper audience, but I’m gonna start by putting it on this list. I doubt there are many people who will read this who don’t know how good this movie is, or what it is. It’s those other people we need to get to. They need to see this.

The Kings of Summer

This movie is awesome. My favorite indie of the year. It’s so good. This is that movie that you don’t know about that someone will show you that you’re gonna love because it’s so goddamn likable. This is a hidden gem of the first order and everyone needs to see this movie. This is a movie that I can guarantee more people than not will love this movie. It just needs views.

Labor Day

I guess this is supposed to get a wide release in January, but I still know not enough people will see this. This will be the forgotten movie of Jason Reitman’s filmography. (Though maybe Young Adult will take that cake.) I’m still not sure what I think about the film, but I still think it needs people to see it. Jason Reitman has nothing but solid movies on his filmography (Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult), and this movie is already underseen, and it’s not even technically out yet. So see it. He’s earned it.

Out of the Furnace

Because it’s such a powerful movie, and not enough people saw it. If I told you there was a great movie with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker and Sam Shepard that you didn’t know about, wouldn’t you see it? My point exactly. Not enough people saw this, and this is already one of the biggest hidden gems of the year.

Philomena

It’s just a beautiful, quiet little movie. That’s what I love most about it. It’s a small, contained story. Some people might but Nebraska in this spot, but I’m putting this. Since people seek out Alexander Payne’s films. Can most people even list five Stephen Frears movies? (If you could, you’ll know that he has a really strong filmography.) This one’s not gonna necessarily have people looking out for this one in five years, which is why I felt it was more important to show it some support. It’s a really great little movie.

The Place Beyond the Pines

This one has some strong supporters, but there still aren’t enough people who have seen the movie to know whether or not they like it. This was one of those indie movies that got released early on in the year, so it won’t get a resurgence of support now, except from those who’ve remembered it, and it’ll basically be relegated to being forgotten. It’s a “love it or hate it” type of movie it seems, but there’s no denying not enough people saw this, regardless.

Prisoners

Because this is actually one of the best movies of the year and no one knows about it. it’s disgusting how overlooked this movie is. This is going to be better than half of the Best Picture nominees, and will be looked at as one of the “how did we miss this?” films of 2013. It has to be that no one saw this and knows about it, because that’s the only explanation. I’m telling you — this is the Zodiac of 2013. And it’s not going to have David Fincher’s name attached to it, so it won’t find an audience as easily as that movie did. This is the #1 most underseen movie of 2013, and everyone should see this now, because when this finds all its acclaim in ten years, you’re gonna be late to the party.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

It’s not making any money, the reviews weren’t that great, and it was set up for people to have seen it. And it’s such a sweet movie with such a great message behind it, and it’s a real shame that not enough people have seen it. I thought for sure this one was gonna go another way.

The Spectacular Now

There really aren’t that many “feel good” movies that are made anymore. But this one qualifies as that. This movie makes you feel good. The line they put on the poster that I love is “Hits you like a shot in the heart.” This movie is so beautiful, and so touching, and this really needs a much bigger audience, because this movie is way better than The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and that movie found its audience almost immediately. This one still hasn’t, and that’s a shame and a half.

Spring Breakers

Say what you will about this movie — it’ll stay with you. Love it, hate it, don’t care about it. Whatever. Just see this movie. This is one of those movies that deserves to be seen, whatever you think about it. And there are so many off the wall moments in it that you almost have to see it for those alone.

Warm Bodies

Because it (somehow) breathes life into the (appropriately, I guess) dead romantic comedy genre. This is a really engaging little film about a zombie falling in love with an alive person. It’s not a perfect movie, but the premise is great, and it works. And not enough people even know this exists. Do me a favor. Skip two episodes of The Walking Dead and watch this instead. It deserves it.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow, I’m going to go over my favorite movie trailers of 2013, in preparation for Sunday, when the Golden Globes are happening.

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One response

  1. Happy to see appreciation for The Best Offer. it probably wouldn’t appeal to a mass audience, but I loved it too, and it made my top 12 of 2013

    March 28, 2014 at 2:40 am

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