The Underrated, Undiscovered and Unappreciated of 2014

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: VERY LONG LIST AHEAD. No, still no sign of THE Top Ten yet (that is..my Top Ten Favorite Films of 2014.) But in the meantime to balance out my hater lists of the worst and the unwatchables, I've decided to celebrate the good films of 2014 that got the shaft for one reason or another. Whether critics gave them a bad rap (the underrated), audiences failed to connect with them and/or forgot about their existence (the under-appreciated), or people just plain never heard about or saw these films (the undiscovered)


THE GIVER. The Giver had a LOT to live up to, both in my expectations and thousands of others who held this book dear to their hearts. For many, the problem was liberties that were taken with the book. For others, it was that this was a movie that did too much pondering and contained not enough action. But for me? I think there's a lot to really like about this movie. For one thing, it's got some really nice cinematography. I loved the gradual introduction of colors to the palate we see. Yes I wished some of the dream sequences were a little less lazy and more like the first couple we see... but that doesn't change how great those first few memories were. Personally, I felt it was a respectful adaptation with much of Lois Lowry's wonderful themes on full display. Yes, I wish some things had been explored in more depth no doubt, but was it deserving of its incredibly low score on Rotten Tomatoes? Absolutely not. RT SCORE: 36% EMILY RATING: 7/10

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Original review HERE Poor unfortunate movie. Critics hated you, and audiences didn't seem to like you much either. Yes, you made a lot of money, but now your studio is shaky on your future and this Andrew Garfield Spider-man loving girl couldn't be more depressed. I've heard the complaints. The villains weren't as strong as they could have been. For the record.. Dane DeHaan was great and I didn't mind Jamie Foxx's campy take. At least they were memorable villains and had some personality. You can't say the same for the last 5 Marvel movies (save Loki only...) but who said superhero movies were only about villains anyway? This film has such great human characters! We have a superhero with a pulse and a sense of humor... but somehow no one can appreciate it. Heaven forbid it's a superhero movie that tries to have its own personality instead of conforming to the Marvel formula. RT SCORE: 53% EMILY RATING: 8.5/10

ROBOCOP. Original review HERE. I saw this last winter expecting it to be truly awful. To my surprise, it was actually incredibly entertaining. Maybe expectations are everything... but I have a hard time thinking anyone expected this to be SO GOOD that they were actually disappointed. It explores interesting ideas of its premise and makes the most of them. It features a great supporting cast and some awesome special effects. For an action film, it goes down easy and doesn't make you feel TOO stupid afterward! RT SCORE: 48% EMILY RATING: 6.5/10

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT. Perhaps coming off of the fantastic Blue Jasmine, a breezy comedy like Magic In the Moonlight was destined to disappoint. But it's a shame in my book because I found this movie to be absolutely delightful. I was constantly laughing, smiling and enjoying every minute. But besides that, the movie had some good things to say from old Woody Allen about what he considers the mysteries of life...and if there is, in fact, any magic to it. I thought it was a charming film and very undeserving of its mixed reception. RT SCORE: 51% EMILY RATING: 8/10

WORDS AND PICTURES. With this film, I expected a light fluffy romantic comedy with a touch of drama. I think that's what other critics expected too. Instead, it was actually quite drama heavy, and kind of romance light. Even though it wasn't what I was thinking it would be, I always found myself engaged. I didn't know the focus would be on what a mess these two people are (one in particular...) but as a person who enjoys character studies I dug it. RT SCORE: 42% EMILY RATING: 6.5/10

WISH I WAS HERE. Poor Zach Braff. His first project in nine years was killed by critics before it could reach its arrival. I don't know anyone who actually saw this because of the word of mouth. Curious that the critics were being a tad too harsh I went and checked it out on my own and found I was right. I always find it a little funny when films get criticized for being sentimental.. why is it so wrong to get some kind of sentiment from a film?! Don't we want movies that can touch us and make us feel something? Not that I'm saying this is a perfect film by any means... but I absolutely appreciated some of the things that Braff wanted to say and a lot of it really resonated with me. RT SCORE: 46% EMILY RATING: 7/10


THEY CAME TOGETHER. This film was critically well received, but you wouldn't know it from it's poor IMDB rating of 5.4/10. This satire is silly from start to finish and I can see how it wouldn't be EVERYONE'S cup of tea... but not how it could be as hated by some as it was. There is an audience for this movie, but unfortunately they didn't really get to see it (probably due to the fact that this movie was rated R when they should have shot for a PG-13.) Remember this post I wrote about fake movies in movies? They Came Together is basically like getting a hold of a full copy of one of those movies and watching it. It may get a little old in stretches but I couldn't help but smile at the endless rom-com tropes it blows through with ease. EMILY RATING 7/10

BIG EYES. Original review HERE. I really enjoyed this movie... and most of the people who saw it have for the most part too. Critics and audiences have been generally favorable.. but their comments are usually qualified with some type of restraint. "Oh, it was good but..." This film has a lot going on in it and I'm not sure how many people realized or appreciated that. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10

WHAT IF. Original review HERE. Okay I realize that I myself had a few reservations about this movie when it came out (truth be told I still do.. they just don't matter as much to me anymore.) This movie is definitely the best romantic comedy to hit the screens in 2014, yet it has been mostly forgotten by those who actually did see it. Many people didn't take the opportunity to see it as this film made hardly a thing.. but I'm surprised it hasn't really received much love from anyone while reviewing the year. EMILY RATING: 8/10 (originally) now bumped up to 8.5/10 

BEGIN AGAIN. Begin Again is a breezy, pleasantly heartwarming story about how a song saved two peoples lives. It was both critically and publicly well received... but again seems to be largely forgotten in a year full of some great movies. This film was incredibly amiable with its easy listening tunes filling the soundtrack. The fact that it had two incredibly likable leads in Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley didn't hurt either. EMILY RATING: 8/10


THE ONE I LOVE. There are maybe 5 people on this earth that know about the existence of this movie and two of them stumbled upon it while searching Netflix. This movie is pretty much like an episode of The Twilight Zone, but a pretty freaking good episode. A couple in marriage counseling go to a secluded cottage to work on their marriage.. and instead find idealized versions of each other there. The question becomes, can I accept my spouse as they are or do I want to be with the PERFECT version of them. This movie was fascinating and trippy all at once. I really enjoyed it. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10

BELLE. This was an elegant film with a great story and a nice little romance. I remembered seeing comparisons of it to a Jane Austen story when it came out and after seeing it I have to agree. While not the exact same era, the rules are still the same with regard to women's place in society and how they were expected to find a husband. But there's more to the film than that as the attitude toward race at the time is examined at length. This film is incredibly engaging and we're given a likable lead to guide us the whole time. EMILY RATING: 8/10

GOD HELP THE GIRL. I saw this film last year at Sundance, but did the rest of the world ever get that opportunity?? Very few of them it seems. I love this movie. From the music, to the characters (yes even the biatchy Eve,) the choreography, costumes and everything going on in the story... to me it's all great. It may have taken a few viewings for everything to come in focus in terms of my appreciation for it... but I just can't help but find this movie entirely likable even though unfortunately few others have gotten to experience it. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10

LAGGIES. This movie was purely on my radar since I follow films that go to the Sundance Festival. Otherwise? I don't think I ever would have heard of it. There was virtually no advertising for it and I'm not even sure when it actually hit the theaters here. I finally got to see it once it reached VOD and while I wished that one storyline in particular wasn't rushed, I found the rest to be pretty good! Maybe I can just relate with the main character ten years out of high school interacting with high schoolers and evaluating her life. Some of her discoveries resonated with me and everything else just entertained me. Plus I REALLY like Sam Rockwell... Keira Knightley and Chloe Moretz are also favorites of mine as well, but that Sam Rockwell I just like that guy. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10

ENEMY. Wow this movie is a TRIP. Very similar to the Sundance film I saw last year called The Double, this movie explores some similar territory. This time though we switch out Jesse Eisenberg for Jake Gyllenhaal. I'll be honest... once the movie was over I was incredibly confused and I had to watch a subsequent youtube video interpreting the movie before I went "whoaaaaaaa okayyyyy." Haha. So keep in mind this is a movie you have to absolutely be willing to interpret and go with and if you do you'll be rewarded. Or just watch it and be dumbfounded, then search for the answers on youtube. EMILY RATING: 9/10



Amelia said...

Um how is VAMPIRE ACADEMY not on this list??? I can easily think of 10 non-vampire life lessons I learned from watching that movie.

Also, I want to watch all the things.

Emily said...

Haha yes Amelia we loved that movie.. but we both know it's awful.

Johanna said...

Now I really want so see some of these. Which ones are you willing to watch again? The One I love?

Sarah said...

Well, since I have seen hardly any new movies this year (new for me is older than a year at the very least), I can't add to this list. However, you have some very intriguing movies listed here. There are some really interesting plots described here.

Ally said...

Yes! Ioved the Giver and Belle. They were both such refreshing movies to me. And im so glad you liked Magic in the Moonlight. Everyone scared me away from seeing it but now im going to watch it!