Feature Blogs

10 Overlooked & Underappreciated Films

Created on Tuesday, 08 May 2001 21:12
Written by Matthew Toomey
Roger Ebert recently held for the 3rd time in his home town of Chicago, "Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival".  Each year he assembles a variety of films that he loves but few ever got the chance to see.  The Castle was selected as one of the films he showed in 2000 and Rob Sitch even went to present the film.
All of this had me thinking, I've been doing this gig since 1996 and have reviewed almost 900 films, so just which films do I believe have been "overlooked".  So I decided to assemble a list of 10 films of my own.  Now these aren't my 10 favourite films but 10 films I rate very highly that most people haven't seen.  So if you're looking for a good weekly film in your local video store, try these as a guide.
1.  Election  -  A great satirical comedy about a high school teacher played by Matthew Broderick who rigs the school election to stop overachiever Reece Witherspoon from winning.  An incredible teen comedy that's also showing on Showtime and it's a must see!
2.  Office Space  -  Another comedy from the maker of Beavis & Butthead which looks at life in an office and is a must see for anyone who works in one.  It's the story of a guy who's had enough of his job and stops going so that he can get fired.  Instead, management see his slacking off as a sign of boredom and promotes him to provide bigger challenges.  Hilarious.
3.  The Last Days Of Disco  -  Forget 54, this film came out first and was heaps better.  Revolving around a group of yuppies in the early 80s who mould their lives around discos, it has a fantastic soundtrack and pokes fun at so many human characteristics.  It can also be considered as a lauching pad for the careers of Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale.
4.  Gattaca  -  "There is no gene for the human spirit" and this film was way ahead of it's time.  Starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law, it shows a society "in the not to distant future" where humans are engineered using DNA and their whole lives are mapped from birth.  Intelligent and will only become better as time reveals more of this topical issue.
5.  Go  -  Another teen film that shows 3 different stories which all come together in the end (ala Pulp Fiction).  Starring Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Scott Wolf, Taye Diggs, Sarah Polley and Timothy Olyphant, this film has laughs, surprises and action.  Very well made.
6.  Bulworth  -  My favourite of recent political films, Warren Beatty wrote, directed and starred in this daring piece that trashes everything about U.S. politics and I'm sure it didn't go down well with many.  It had to be told and just couldn't believe how funny Beatty could be with his rappin' tunes.
7.  Frequency  -  Time-travel movies aren't unusual but this one is for the emotion created between a father and his son who talk via a ham-radio despite being 30 years apart.  The many twists and turns show that there are still plenty of great thriller ideas that haven't been done to death.
8.  Meet Joe Black  -  So many critics hated this film and I cannot understand why.  It's a great story about a man (Anthony Hopkins) who is told he has 4 days to live and in that time, ties up the many loose ends.  Also, Death himself (Brad Pitt) is trying to woo his daughter (Claire Forlani).  Both romantic and touching.
9.  Breakdown  -  Who would have believed I'd like a Kurt Russell film but this one is a career highlight.  A great thriller about a man who stays by his car and lets his wife ride into town with a truckdriver for help after it breaks down in the desert.  When his wife disappears and the police have no clues, Russell takes matters into his own hands.  As the catchphrase says, "it could happen to you" and that creepy line epitomizes the thrills the film provides.
10.  Mother  -  Debbie Reynolds and Albert Brooks star in a wonderful comedy about a 40 year old writer who has "writer's block" and moves back in with his mother.  In doing so he learns a thing or too about how the elderly operate and not to mention how sexually active they are.
There you have it.  Don't even get me started on a list of overrated films because I could list over 100 off the top of my head.  Let's save that for another time.