Here’s our picks for some of the most under-watched and under appreciated films of the past two decades
By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak and Joe Ramey
The Kings of Summer follows three unhappy high school friends who decide to run away from home and live out their high school summer in the middle of the woods. This 2013 coming-of-age comedy has a stellar cast, a creative and genuine script, witty humor, and is quite possibly one of the most underrated films from the past decade. While the film contains incredible leads such as Nick Offerman, Nick Robinson, and Moises Arias, the true star of the film is its comedic, yet heartfelt script.
Screenwriter Chris Galletta creates a story that will have you laugh in some scenes, and on the verge of tears in the next. The main protagonists Joe, Patrick, and Biagio are likable characters in that they are perfect representations of different high school archetypes.
While the film is unrealistic, it provides insight into many social problems people face today, covering topics like innocence lost, parental death, love, brotherhood, and growing up.
The score and soundtrack fit the film’s comedic and dreamlike tone and provides some extra humorous moments throughout. A scene in which a guy tries to serenade his father-in-law is especially amusing. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts utilizes a unique style that makes the film seem as if it is a dream
rooted in reality. The lighting, camera angles, and quick editing all contribute to this beautiful effect.
The Kings of Summer had all the elements lined up to be this generation’s Stand By Me; however, due to poor marketing and distribution, the film only grossed $1.3 million at the box office.
In the increasingly crowded coming-of-age genre, The Kings of Summer provides one of the best films in recent memory. It does everything that it needs to accomplish perfectly, knowing exactly what kind of film it wants to be. Rarely is a film ever able to accomplish this. The Kings of Summer is a must see, and is one of the most under-watched and under appreciated films of all time.
Domestic Gross: $1,315,590
Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides is based off of the best selling 1993 novel by Jeffrey Eugenidas. The film is a deliberate collision of both masterful and intriguing sights and sounds. The 1999 film revolves around five sisters in 70’s Michigan, displaying a story of young relationships and turmoil. The story coincides beautifully with the film’s use of lighting and cinematography techniques that gives it a pseudo-ghostly feel. The light colors and tones mixed with the strong acting and subject matter convey a mood of joy and apparent melancholy all at once.
The story follows five sisters: Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilia. They are from a strict family that shuns the idea of rebellion and off color interaction. The girls find themselves creating worlds for themselves, branching off from their innate tendencies and finding themselves through different mediums of social interaction. The sudden change in the girls’ lives is observed by a group of neighborhood boys who childishly lust for the Lisbon sisters. They watch as the girls transform and approach the idea of finding themselves.
Beyond the cinematography, the acting of the young cast really separates this movie from others, in regards to the caliber and difficulty of the roles. With the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett among the cast, the movie is full of (then) young talent.
The movie was well-received by critics and fans, however, that years box office was dominated by other blockbusters (Star Wars: Episode 1, The Sixth Sense, and The Matrix), earning the film only 10 million dollars to its 6.4 million dollar budget. This film was overshadowed, forgotten amongst titans of the film industry. It is a movie worth watching and studying because of its intricate and complex themes. It’s many positive attributes allow it to stand out amongst other films in the drama genre. This movie is highly underrated but by no means a passover movie.
Domestic Gross: $4, 906, 229