Top 5 Underrated Films

Okay, so maybe some of these might not be in my top 5 (and I’m positive on the order), but they’re five films that I find get either too much hate or aren’t as appreciated as they should.

1) Crossroads

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Crossroads tells the story of three teens who have just graduated from high school. They were best friends as kids, but grew apart as they got older. But a chance road trip with the rumored bad boy ends up bringing them closer together again as they deal with issues they face in their lives they never knew about each other.

This movie came out when Britney Spears was at her biggest. So what better time for her to star in her first movie? In all actuality, Crossroads proved that Britney is actually really good actress. Not Oscar worthy, but had she continued acting, she would have done well. There’s a scene in particular in a bathroom where after she finds out from her mom (whom she hadn’t seen since was 3 or so, and traveled across the country to meet) that she [her mother] never wanted her and said she was a mistake. She reveals this to her love interest (played by Anson Mount) and breaks down crying. Britney was so incredible in this moment and came off as very believable. Along with this, it’s a really good coming of age story that deals with some pretty real issues including teen pregnancy (sure, been there, done that, but it handles it very well here), being blind in relationships, insecurities, and learning to let go of the past or things holding you back. It’s actually a really strong drama, and the rest of the cast does just as great of a job as Britney. We have Taryn Manning and Zoe Saldana in  essentially their breakthrough roles. Manning played the outcast and pregnant Mimi, and Saldana plays the pretty and popular girl Kit. Both actresses provide great insight to their future talents, especially their scene together at the hospital towards the end. Britney and Anson Mount also have great chemistry together. And of course it wouldn’t be Britney movie without a Britney soundtrack, which features 3 of her hit songs from her album “Britney”. I honestly don’t get the hate for this movie. It might be considered tired or predictable to some, but it’s a much better film than a lot like it. Or maybe it’s just the Britney haters who succeeded in bringing it down for others.

2) Enough

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Enough stars Jennifer Lopez as a woman who discovers that the man she married isn’t the one she thought he was. It turns out he’s an abusive monster who has more power than she knows. So when she decides to take her young daughter and leave, she’s often on the run due to the connections her husband has that can track her down. She decides the only way to stop it all is to fight back.

While this movie can resemble the Julia Roberts film Sleeping With the Enemy in many aspects, it captures a side of domestic abuse that isn’t shown too often. It shows her quickly jumping into the relationship with a man who appears charming, he ends up abusive, she leaves. But now there’s a child involved. We see what can happen when the abuser can have a great mask around others, and when the authorities are no help, and especially when there’s no real mean of escape. Some instances are farfetched, yes, but more than anything it should bring a sense of satisfaction and empowerment to women by showing this wife who does what most don’t, and that’s defend herself. So when the final confrontation happens and she fights back against her husband, we have flashbacks to everything he’s done to her and it only fuels her anger and power against him. I have read that some consider the ending controversial in what ultimately happens, but you know what? He had it coming and she fought against him almost death. And that’s something you don’t see in movies about domestic abuse, you never see them fight back and always playing the victim and having someone else save them. On top of this it has some really thrilling and suspenseful moments. Besides her role in Selena, I feel this is Jennifer Lopez’s best performance and she does a fine job of showing different sides to her character from when we first meet her, to her married and abused life, and all the way to the strong woman she becomes. Billy Campbell plays Lopez’s husband in the movie and he does a great job of making you hate him in his villainous role.

3) Red Eye

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On a red eye flight back from a funeral, a young woman discovers the man sitting next to her has a partner outside of her father’s house ready to kill him unless she does exactly what he says. With little help, and the clock ticking she must figure out how to save herself, her father, and another target.

The thing about Red Eye is that it’s not hated, but it unfortunately doesn’t get enough attention as it deserves. I’ve been surprised that so many people hadn’t actually seen this one, especially when it came out at the time when Rachel McAdams had a big year for films. After the Scream series, this is my favorite Wes Craven film. It has a short run time, but never once does it feel rushed or boring. It does a fine job of building the initial encounter between Lisa (a fantastic performance by Rachel McAdams that proves she should do more horror/thrillers) and Jack (a creepy performance by Cillian Murphy), and leading to the reveal about his character. From there it’s pure intensity all the way to the end of film involving a cat and mouse chase for the last 20 minutes of the film. Every time I watch this it’s always a fun thrill ride, but the first time I saw it in the theater was one hell of an edge of your seat experience. Just when you think the intensity is over once the plane lands, it actually only gets more intense than ever. When the final few moments happen (which provides a very cheer worthy and hilarious line) it’s the perfect way to end the film on a satisfying and well-earned note for McAdams’ character (whom I might add shares powerhouse chemistry with Murphy).

4) The Skeleton Key

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This horror film actually came out the same year as Red Eye and like that film it’s super underrated in that it doesn’t get enough love. It tells the story of a Hospice nurse who gets a job to care for an elderly man in the bayous of Louisiana who is also under the watchful eye of his rather erratic wife. As she stays there she begins to learn the secrets hidden within and about the house of the elderly couple.

This movie really blew me away when I saw it in the theater. It was super original, very creepy and atmospheric, a great story, and various twists and turns all the way to its shocking ending. Much of the content involved is really creepy and disturbing but in a very psychological sense. It’s also a nice change in genre for Kate Hudson whom, like McAdams in Red Eye, shows she’s capable of doing more than romantic comedies. The late John Hurt does an incredible job in his mostly silent role as the elderly man she cares for, a lot of his great performances comes physically and in his facial expressions and the look in his eyes. But the real show stealer here is Gena Rowlands. My god, I never thought this woman could ever be considered creepy or psychotic, but holy shit she is amazing here. Especially in the final act when all hell breaks loose. I remember constantly making people watch this when it came out on dvd and I succeeded fairly well, but it’s one that doesn’t get talked about enough.

5) Monster-In-Law

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A ex-talk show host and alcoholic is released from rehab after being fired from her job to find that her son she constantly pampered and was over-bearing with is no engaged to a woman she believes is completely wrong for him. Now she is hell bent on driving his new fiancee insane and trying to break the relationship. Unfortunately, his fiancee has a few tricks up her sleeve as well.

This is one comedy that gets so much hate it’s ridiculous. Every time I watch it, I always laugh my ass off. Jane Fonda is incredible as the mother and she is so devilishly hilarious, and Jennifer Lopez shows she can surprisingly do comedy really well with the right role, cause is pretty hilarious here too. Fonda and Lopez also play off of each other so perfectly and their scene together are a riot. But I’d be lying if I said the real player of the movie is Wanda Sykes as Fonda’s character’s wise-cracking assistant. Every scene she’s in (especially one involving walnuts) leave me from hardcore belly laughs to almost on the verge of laugh tears. The comedy aside it eventually has some charming and heartwarming moments to it by the end.

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