Most Underrated Movies of 2017


2017 saw an interesting change in the movie industry. Big Hollywood films with A list celebrities flopped (even Tom Cruise couldn’t save Universal’s effort to make the Mummy relevant again), while indie films like Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Ladybird showed longlasting box office results. Superhero movies went outside the conventional formula and transcended their genre, while horror movies gathered more audiences than any recent years. Every new year begins with movie fans listing up their favorite films of the previous year. From Margot Robbie’s Oscar contender I, Tonya to director Jordan Peele’s brilliant social horror Get Out, most people’s “top 10 movies of 2017 list” is definitely packed with great films. But instead of focusing on the year’s greats, I’d like to dedicate this for the year’s most forgotten, the overlooked, the most underrated films of 2017.

Ingrid Goes West

Actress Aubrey Plaza gives us what’s possibly her best role yet. Yes, even including April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation. Ingrid Goes West starts off like how one would imagine an indie comedy starring Aubrey Plaza to do soquirky, cute, and charming. However, the movie quickly turns into something much darker than that. Plaza’s character Ingrid is mentally unstable, fragile, lonely, and addicted to social media fame. Her take on what could’ve been a generic character is essentially what differentiates Ingrid Goes West from other indie comedies. This movie is funny, uncomfortable, and honest. Expect to cringe, laugh, and cry all at once when watching this film.

A Cure for Wellness

Most people know director Gore Verbinski from the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies- basically before the franchise officially turned unwatchable. Say what you want to say about those movies, but one cannot deny his talent as a master of visual storytelling. In his latest fantasy thriller, Verbinski does exactly that- tells the story in the most visually stunning way possible. The backdrop of an isolated wellness center in the alps brings back similar eerie atmosphere as Kubrick’s the Shining. What holds this ridiculously high-concept story together is Verbinski’s odd, often terrifying visuals. While the 146 minute runtime might be a challenge, it’s definitely worth checking out.

It Comes at Night

Imagine the Walking Dead, but except for the zombies. If that idea sounds boring, then you can probably skip this movie. But if you’re looking for a tense, character-driven horror movie set in postapocalyptic backdrop, this is the film for you. Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo deliver some of the most heartfelt, intense scenes as they do per usual. The real standout star of the film is Kelvin Harrison Jr. His character Travis, the protagonist of the film, struggles to find himself and maintain purity in a world that has gone mad. Harrison Jr. delivers a subtle yet powerful performance; with this movie and another underrated jem from 2017 Mudbound, Harrison Jr. is shaping to be one of the most talented actors of the new generation.

Okja

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho delivers yet another film starring a gigantic grey monster running around the city of Seoul. But Okja is nothing like his previous take on the genre the Host, mainly because Okja herself is just one adorable superpig. Following Mija, a country girl from the outskirts of Korea, and her best friend/genetically modified super pig Okja, the film is full of adventure, dry humor, and brutal social commentary against big meat industries. With Hollywood stars like Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Steven Yeun in the mix, Okja is the most exciting thing you could watch on your Netflix right now (and yes, it’s a Netflix film, so now you have no excuse to not watch it).

American Made

To be completely honest, I went into this movie half-worried half-skeptical; the trailer seemed like yet another passable Tom Cruise movie. It seemed like a typical uber-nationalistic action movie that celebrates macho white men. In reality, American Made was everything I’ve just mentioned and so much more. The movie directl tackles those action movie tropes to make parallel with America’s immoral foreign policies and its involvement in South America during the 70s. Director Doug Liman made what’s essentially a meta film that questions Hollywood action movies as a whole. With energetic scenes and artistic editing, this movie is anything but generic.

Gook

In his sophomore film, writer/director Justin Chon tackles one of the most brutal race riots in modern America- the L.A. Uprising. Following brothers Eli, played by Chon himself, and Daniel, played by David So, Gook is a powerful drama that’s not afraid to tackle the subjects of police brutality, Asian marginalization, and black and Korean relations. With amazing performances from all actors and especially the starlet of the film Simone Baker, Gook is an experimental, bold indie drama that’s full of statements to make.



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