By Madison Kitch
Sometimes, the movies that win awards just absolutely do not deserve them, like Crash; there are also movies that deserved to win Best Picture like She’s the Man. From family-friendly comedies to stories from the early 19th century, here are some underrated classics that deserve(d) more time on the big screen.
Set in a small Delaware town, Empire Records tells the story of a local, independently-run record shop (unsurprisingly named Empire Records). When one employee loses his company’s entire savings by gambling, the store owner (Anthony LaPaglia) has to figure out how to not lose his business, especially with the industrial record-selling chain company moving into town. Between the constant will-they,won’t-they romance, the pressure not to ‘sell out’ and the stellar soundtrack (find it on Spotify), this teen comedy will have audiences laughing. Also, this movie is extremely quotable, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself talking about Rex Manning Day.
Not to be dramatic, but I would cut off my right arm to get a peek at director Jim Henson’s brain. Most people know him for his imaginative creation of The Muppets (1976-1981) or even Fraggle Rock (1983-1987), but his work really shines in Labyrinth. In this story, 15-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is babysitting her little brother. She makes the grave mistake of wishing he was gone, and she gets her wish. Sarah has to save her brother from the Goblin King (David Bowie), but first she must venture through a labyrinth filled with obscure creatures and new companions to help her on her journey. There are so many twists and turns (literally) in this movie, it’ll keep viewers of all ages on their toes. Unsurprisingly, this movie also has an amazing soundtrack; much of it is done by Bowie, but composer Trevor Jones deserves credit too.
Clueless (1995) is probably the most popular and well-known adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen, but EMMA. is a close second. This movie tells the age-old tale of Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy), an upper-class English girl who tries to play matchmaker with her friends and family, but she can’t seem to figure out her own love life. EMMA. follows its source material well, but unfortunately for director Autumn de Wilde, it wasn’t given its time in theaters. EMMA. was released last February, right at the beginning of quarantine; not many were able to truly appreciate its masterful storytelling and stunning visuals because most movie theaters are still closed. It’s currently available on HBO Max and Hulu (with the HBO add-on).
This movie is unlike any other movie on this list; partly because it’s not in English, and partly because it’s a zombie movie. The Korean horror film Train to Busan (2016) tells the story of a very busy working father (Gong Yoo) and his small daughter (Kim Soo-Ahn), who only wants to see her mother, who lives in Busan, South Korea, for her birthday. Her father grudgingly obliges, but the pair mistakenly gets on a speed train with an infected zombie on board. As you can guess, the zombie disease spreads through not only the train but South Korea as a whole. This movie has a multitude of complex characters, but the real story is the heartbreaking relationship between father and daughter. Do not be deceived though– this movie has plenty of horror in it, too. If you don’t speak Korean, put on subtitles, and enjoy this movie free from Tubi or Crackle.
Based on the board game of the same name, Clue tries to solve the mystery of murder at a dinner party. A dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) goes awry when he turns up dead; it had to be one of his dinner guests, all of which have colorful aliases. Clue was initially hated by critics, but it’s developed a small and loyal fanbase since. Was it one of the six guests, or maybe a suspicious butler (Tim Curry)? Watch this movie with family and friends to find out.
There are so many unknown and underrated movies out there, but these are top-notch. Even if they were hated by critics in some cases, most audiences enjoy them. Sit back, and experience these hidden gems today.