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Must-See Underrated Movies

It's time to expand beyond the blockbusters.

There are movies that are widely promoted, highly anticipated, and largely grossing in the box office. Then there are all the other ones. So rare is it that a common person who isn't obsessed with movies knows of any films that haven't made the biggest impression at the theaters, if any at all. I set out to change this because more often than not, I've found, the underrated and non-publicized movies are some of the best I have ever seen.

'The Lobster' (2015)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

The Lobster is one of the most glum and strange movies I've ever seen yet ever since I watched it, I never stopped thinking about it. Set in a dystopian society, single people must find a mate within 45 days or they are transformed into the animal of their choice. It speaks on the harsh reality that the societal pressure of finding a soulmate can lead to rash decisions. It is highly original and will leave you thinking about what love really is and what it means in a modern world. 

'Upstream Color' (2013)

Directed by Shane Carruth

If you have a hard time paying attention to details in movies, stay away from this one. Shane Carruth wrote, directed, produced and starred in this science-fiction film about two people whose behavior is affected by a complex parasite that they know nothing about. This movie can't really be put into words but I will try my best. It is skin-crawling, paranoid, dreamy, illogical and all around mysterious.

'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' (2017)

Directed by Yargos Lanthimos 

You might recognize this director's name but he must be added twice because the creator of The Lobster made yet another amazing movie. The Killing of a Sacred Deer tells the story of a young man and a cardiac surgeon who have an odd friendship. Barry Keoghan will be a force to be reckoned with in the movie industry once his talent comes to light. He is so terrifyingly awkward and creepy, I almost wanted to cringe but in the best way. This movie is extremely unsettling and will poke into your subconscious the way all movies should but rarely manage to do so well.

'Isle of Dogs' (2018)

Directed by Wes Anderson 

Being such a fan of Wes Anderson's previous movies, I was excited for this one but hesitant because I don't particularly enjoy stop-motion animation movies. I respect the amount of effort put into stop animation but I never seemed to find a movie that put it together flawlessly until this one. Wes Anderson tells the story of a 12-year-old boy named Atari who sets off to rescue his dog that has been taken to Trash Island, a dumping ground where the remainder of dogs live due to an outbreak of dog flu in Japan. With an all star cast voicing the dogs, laugh out loud humor and so much heart, Wes Anderson has done it again. 

'Good Time' (2017)

Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie

The Safdie brothers make amazing movies and this one is no exception. In one of my favorite movies of 2017, Robert Pattinson stars as a bank robber on the run with his mentally disabled brother. It takes place all in one night and the action never stops. I had no idea what was going to happen next and I was anxious the entire time, which is my favorite thing about thrillers. This movie gives me hope that Twilight Rob Pattinson will be forgotten and intense actor Rob Pattinson can emerge. 

'A Ghost Story' (2017)

Directed by David Lowery 

Even I am surprised that a movie about someone wearing a sheet with eye holes cut out of it has made it's way onto my list. A Ghost Story is technically about a ghost but it's much more than that. It's a love story and a science-fiction tale about time travel and time loops. There's a loneliness and denial hidden in the narrative and the silence of the movie makes you anxious and at times, even uncomfortable. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara both star and will make you question everything you think you know about life after death.

'The Master' (2012)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

I should start by pointing out that I am not only Joaquin Phoenix's biggest fan, but Paul Thomas Anderson's as well. Putting my unbiased opinion aside, this movie is fantastic. Joaquin plays Freddie Quell, a traumatized Navy veteran who finds comfort in a therapeutic cult led by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Even though Phoenix always puts his all into the characters he plays, he puts his everything into this one. His performance is so cold, scary, and angry that I was engaged from the beginning to the end. It's quirky, smart and goes down as Anderson's most compelling work of all time. 

'True Story' (2015)

Directed by Rupert Good

This movie having terrible ratings shocks me every time I think about it. True Story revolves around a New York Times reporter meeting an accused killer who has taken on the reporter's identity. Entertaining and absorbing, this film left me angry and frustrated but wanting more nonetheless. James Franco gives a chilling and tension filled performance that has stuck with me since I saw the movie years ago.