BOP's Top 50
Underappreciated Recent Films: Introduction

By Reagen Sulewski

Webster's Dictionary defines Underappreciated as 'a show on Fox'.

Every year, there are literally hundreds of movies released to theaters, so even the most active movie fanatics can't possibly see more than a fraction of these offerings. In addition to this, with the amount of attention that gets focused on the biggest hits of each year, like Spider-Man or Signs, many titles are necessarily going to fall through the cracks and be generally ignored. Inertia being what it is, once a film starts on its way to bomb status, it's difficult for it to reverse its course. The relentless rollout of new movies each week ensures that anything that isn't a success right off the bat will have little chance of creating a legacy. Even in the more forgiving venue of video rental, the going isn't always easy. After a brief run in the New Releases section, one copy of the film gets to collect dust in the seven-day rental section.

We at BOP would like to right these wrongs and to do so, we have compiled a list of our favorite overlooked films. To qualify for this list, a production must have earned less than $25 million in the North American box office. In addition, to add some focus to the exercise and make the box office restriction meaningful, we have limited ourselves to the last ten years of releases; titles on this list were all released January 1992 or later. There was also another element to consider, in that some flicks that started off slow really have become appreciated to their appropriate level; one qualifying film that you won't find on this list is The Usual Suspects, even though for some of our staff it's among their favorite films of all time. It made only $23 million in its initial run, but two Oscar wins and endless rentals and DVD sales later, it's in no danger of being forgotten.

That's still a huge selection of movies, though; even considering the fact that a lot of cinematic efforts deserved to earn less than $25 million, everyone involved in the creation of the list commented on the inherent difficulty of limiting themselves to just a handful of selections. Since we're a passionate bunch about movies and by definition this list is made up of underdogs and underachievers, it probably would have been easier for people to pick their favorite children rather than leave one of their favorite films off this slate. There were twice as many nominees submitted by our voters for this list, as compared to the recent horror films list. What made our voters so passionate about these selections? Possibly it's due to a slight idea of ownership; when you "discover" a flick that (relatively) few have seen and fewer liked, it tends to amplify your appreciation of that movie, like a secret that only you and a select group of people know about. All of our choices deserve a second chance at popularity, though, and that's what we're hoping to give them.

The selections on this list all have different reasons for slipping under the radar. Some didn't have big names in the lead, although they may be bigger names now; some were mismarketed or had the misfortune of getting lost in a crowded season; others are just far too strange or small to have caught on in the mainstream. The genres run the gamut from comedy to drama to animation to thriller to just plain freak show. What they all have in common, though, are enthusiastic fans who are fiercely protective of these orphaned masterpieces. In the list that follows, they're going to let you in on their secrets, but these are too good to keep under wraps.

Click here to read selections 50-46.
Click here to read selections 45-41.
Click here to read selections 40-36.
Click here to read selections 35-31.
Click here to read selections 30-26.
Click here to read selections 25-21.
Click here to read selections 20-16.
Click here to read selections 15-11.
Click here to read selections 10-6.
Click here to read selections 5-1.

Click here for an alphabetical list of all selections.



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Thursday, December 9, 2021
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