I don't usually do lists, but a movie came on the other day that no one ever talks about, but it is freaking awesome. And I don't really know what "underrated" means as far as movies go, but this film is as good a definition of it as any.
I remember watching it for the first time ever on cable, probably 15 years ago at least, and being completely blown away by it. It's always cool to find something that's great that you've never heard of before, but then I inevitably get annoyed that no one told me about it. Anyway, the movie I'm referring to is:
1. "Defending Your Life" - It stars Albert Brooks, who also wrote and directed it. Meryl Streep is, of course, terrific as the leading lady. It's funny cause as good as she does all that weepy stuff, she might be even better at comedy. But for some reason no one likes to give credit to comedy (see: Oscars).
Albert Brooks has had his good moments and his bad moments, and some may consider him a genius. If he is, then his "Annie Hall" is "Defending Your Life". A perfect movie...that no one ever says is a perfect movie.
2. "Malice" - All you need to know about "Malice" are 2 things: It was written by Aaron Sorkin and Scott Frank (who wrote "Out of Sight" and a million other great things). And the second thing is that Alec Baldwin gets to say this:
"I have an M.D. from Harvard, I am board certified in cardio-thoracic medicine and trauma surgery, I have been awarded citations from seven different medical boards in New England, and I am never, ever sick at sea. So I ask you; when someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn't miscarry or that their daughter doesn't bleed to death or that their mother doesn't suffer acute neural trama from postoperative shock, who do you think they're praying to? Now, go ahead and read your Bible, _Dennis_, and you go to your church, and, with any luck, you might win the annual raffle, but if you're looking for God, he was in operating room number two on November 17, and he doesn't like to be second guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God."
3. "The Girl Next Door" - This is the movie that probably no one will agree with me on. But I love it. LOVE IT. It's seriously one of my favorite movies. I own only 5 DVD's or so, and this is one of them.
I think it got lost in it's release, and critics dismissed it as the "high school kid dates porn star" movie. But it's more than that, and it wasn't taken seriously. I really believe that if this was Judd Apatow's next film, written by Seth Rogen, etc., it would be heralded as a comedy classic. But it didn't have that pedigree, and so it was ignored.
As you'll see in the coming years, Emile Hirsch (the main character) is a star. And he's great in it. But even if you hate this movie and think I'm an idiot right now, you have to admit that Timothy Olyphant is GENIUS in this movie. He takes it to another level that "Superbad" didn't have.
4. "Out of Sight" - This is one of my favorite movies ever - Steven Soderberg's best, J. Lo's acting peak, Steve Zahn's comedy apex, Don Cheadle doing a funny, fast talking black guy, and Cloooney being Clooney. If you haven't seen it, you need to.
5. "EdTV" - Why does this movie get so little respect? It's not a classic or anything, but it's pretty darn good. Yes, Jenna Elfman AND Ellen DeGeneres are in it, but let's try and look past that. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson play brothers, and I think they actually are brothers. It's very strange. McConaughey is so good in this movie that I've given him a free pass on his subsequent 10 shit ass movies (yes, even that one with Sarah Jessica Parker and Terry Bradshaw. Terry Bradshaw?).
6. "The Cable Guy" - This thing got hated on because Jim Carrey was the first actor to get $20 million bucks to do it. Why do people care how much the actors are paid or how much the movies costs? Is it your money? No? Then shut up and enjoy it and thank God people will spend this much money to make a movie about a Cable Guy!
Every time I meet a person who says it sucks, I go:
Me: What about the basketball scene?
Them: That was funny.
Me: What about the Medievil Times scene?
Them: That was really funny.
Me: What about Owen Wilson?
Them: That was funny.
Me: What about the karaoke jam?
Them: Pretty funny.
Me: What about the porno password scene?
Them: That was hilarious.
Me: But the movie sucked?
7. "Bring It On" - You all know my feelings about this movie at this point.
8. "Under Siege" - The greatest ever "Die Hard on a ..." movie. Plus, Tommy Lee Jones' performance sparked the "Tommy Lee Jones must be in every movie made" law enacted in the mid '90's.