The 5 Most Underrated Films of 2013

By December 18, 2013
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2013 is almost over, and if you’re a regular reader of entertainment websites, you know what that means: it’s list time. As the year comes to a close, it’s an excellent time to reflect on some of the movies, music, comics, and television shows we’ve consumed over the past 12 months and try to spread the word about some of our favorite pieces of media. First up, I take a look – in no particular order – at what I consider to be five of the most underrated movies of the year.

Place Beyond the Pines 2

The Place Beyond The Pines

This film hit theaters early in the year and earned some decent reviews, but I don’t think enough people outside the critical community gave it a chance. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in Derek Cianfrance’s sweeping family drama, and because of the way it shifts perspectives between three different protagonists as the film goes on, it could almost be argued that it feels like three movies in one. Cianfrance swings for the fences with this one, and while he doesn’t completely knock it out of the park, he connects well enough to deliver an audacious, emotional, stylized tale of fathers and sons, of actions and consequences, and of the connections of family. The performances are top notch, and while it runs a bit long, there’s a lot to like about this one.

Charlie Countryman 1

Charlie Countryman

Despite star Shia LaBeouf’s recent escapades with plagiarism, he remains a talented young actor; look no further than Charlie Countryman to find out how he’s much more comfortable in smaller, personal projects than when he’s just a cog in a massive blockbuster. Fredrik Bond’s directorial debut is bursting with energy and passion, and LaBeouf’s performance guides the audience on a breathtaking trip through Bucharest that is populated with dangerous gangsters (Mads Mikkelsen and Til Schweiger are absolutely terrifying), drugged-out parties, and crazy notions of love. This is a love story at heart, but it’s unlike any I’ve ever seen on film.

Europa Report 2

Europa Report

Aside from GeekNation’s own Scott Weinberg, I barely saw anyone championing this low budget sci-fi thriller when it came out earlier this summer. The film takes a mostly realistic look at what could happen when an expedition to a moon of Jupiter takes an unexpected and disastrous turn, and like this year’s other much more successful space thriller, Gravity, Europa Report captures the cold aspects of the silent, deadly vastness of the beyond. It has a cast of mostly lesser-known actors and a found footage angle that many may find played out at this point, but I thought director Sebastian Cordero did a nice job building and releasing tension throughout. This isn’t one of the best films of the year, but it deserves to be seen and discussed.

Snitch

Snitch

Dwayne Johnson has made a career of acting in large scale action movies, but Snitch is a different kind of project for him. It’s a smaller movie that actually requires him to do some real acting, and he more than lives up to the task. The trailers made this one look like a generic action film, but it’s actually a small family drama that only has a few action sequences in it. Instead of becoming sort of numb to the action – which occasionally happens in even the best movies (The Raid comes to mind) – Snitch spreads out the high impact moments, which makes them feel much more real in the context of the (surprisingly true) story.

You're Next 1

You’re Next

Unconventional, funny, and destined for horror cult classic status, You’re Next takes a familiar premise and twists it into something extremely enjoyable for anyone who knows the typical tropes of horror cinema. It’s this year’s The Cabin in the Woods, and those who loved Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s spin on the genre should feel the same about Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s home invasion thriller. It’s the type of movie that makes you want to cheer with how it subverts conventions, and Sharni Vinson’s physical performance anchors the entire story. Even if you’re not a huge fan of traditional horror films, I’d say this one is worth seeking out.

What are some movies that came out this year that you feel haven’t gotten enough attention? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.