I've recently been told by a friend that I appear to loathe films that everyone seems to be fond of. I must admit this is sometimes the case (Les Miserables, The Avengers), and maybe this is because I become decidedly more aware when a property grows increasingly "main-stream". It wasn't long until I started thinking about films that I do indeed enjoy, but not necessarily movies that the public has a positive attitude about. In a way, most of these 5 films that I will be discussing have a certain negative stigma attached to them for whatever reason, whether it be bad press, poor advertising, or maybe even too much color -- because we all know how sensitive eyes can be (yeah right, critics).
I don't normally enjoy horror flicks, but this one is just fun enough to capture my attention for the entire running time. Most of the cast is great (excluding the nonchalant Peter Sarsgaard), especially the creepy little girl who plays Esther, the suspected evil force that drives the film. The twist is as appropriately insane as one in a thriller should be, but it feels believable and darkly satirical on the genre itself.
The Help (2011)
For me, there will always be a defense for this movie. I think it might have been brushed off by many as just another Sunday afternoon book adaptation melo-fest, but there's a lot to love about this wonderfully crafted tale of rebellion and deceit. Viola Davis should have won the Oscar (Let me be one of the first to say that Meryl Streep already had one too many), but I'm glad that Octavia Spencer took home the gold in her category in 2012.
Speed Racer (2008)
Back to the "excess of color" issue. Speed Racer is a very fun movie -- not a great movie, not a well written or acted movie, but it is an exceptionally well change of pace from most of the boring sludge I might be forced to wade through each and every year. The brightness of the film's special effects doesn't bother me; in fact, I think it's a nice way to let it stand out as a different experience. But it really gets on my nerves when critics complain about it hindering their film-going experience; it's just the movie's style, and I happened to not mind it. Overall this is a stylized and exciting Wachowski (director team behind the Matrix and 2012's Cloud Atlas) flick that gets me energized every time I watch it.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
This one is not so much critically underrated as it is just plain unpopular. Not very many have seen this Will Ferrel gem about a man hearing a narrator who's writing him right into a tragedy which happens to end in his untimely death (it's not a spoiler, trust me!). Other co-stars include Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Queen Latifa. It is one of my personal favorite films, but it got lost in its opening weekend, thanks to Casino Royale and Happy Feet opening alongside it in North America.
Tron: Legacy (2010)
This one might get me in some trouble. I can simply say that I didn't hate this film for three reasons: 1) The production design and special effects were nothing like I'd ever seen before, a new frontier if you will. 2) The Daft Punk soundtrack kept my blood pumping throughout the entire film. And 3) I saw it in IMAX, and it was awesome. I can recognize that the worst aspects of the movie lie in its acting and script, but when a film keeps me that entertained I can't banish it to the depths of mediocrity.