Underrated and overrated films (and other general filmy chat)


I was disappointed with Avatar. We did go watch it in 3D but I found the graphics not as exciting as I wanted them to be. The blueness was interesting, but not really anything that couldn’t have been done with regular film processes.

Okay, for underrated movies, I’ll put in some animation pieces because I’m an animation junkie:

  • The very first fully digitally animated short, Tin Toy, by Pixar is to my mind as important a piece of film history as Disney’s Snow White “the movie that started it all.”

  • Could not believe just a few short years later Pixar produced the home run full length digital animated film Toy Story which still is one great movie despite the technology advancements in digital animation since it was released.

  • Anything Directed by Hayao Miyasaki should be viewed and for underrated Studio Ghibli picks I will toss in The Cat Returns and Panda Go Panda (his partner’s movie, not his).

  • The Princess and the Frog, the only recent Disney movie that was hand drawn, and they nailed the New Orleans kid friendly music plus they had a great story - not sure why this was not more popular except of course that the characters had the wrong skin color (green, lol).

  • I still think the Be My Guest scene from Beauty and the Beast is worth watching the rest of the movie for.

  • Anastasia - these former Disney animators gave Disney a run for the money with some really neat glittery special effects that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

  • And if you only see one thing on this list, do, do, do look up The Cobbler and the Thief Recobbled on You Tube which attempts to reconstruct the greatest animated film that never got released. Story of its production history is of Icarus trying to fly too high: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thief_and_the_Cobbler


Totally agree!

Another animated film that is an absolute must-see, but only under the right circumstances, is Grave of the Fireflies by Isao Takahata (also from Studio Ghibli).

The right circumstances are that you understand this is not a sweet family movie. Roger Ebert called it one of the most powerful anti-war films he ever saw.

When it was released, it was released as a double feature with “My Neighbor Totoro”, which has to be the single worst double feature ever shown in the history of the planet. Do not show this film to small children until you’ve seen it first to determine whether or not they can handle it.

Someone – I’m not going to name names – had young children who loved Miyazaki and the film was mislabeled in someone else’s movie collection as being “by Miyazaki” so we watched it without any prior warning. Only time the entire family has cried together.

But OMG you have to watch it. Just, bring tissues.


I own that movie and it seems because we accidentally bought it from Blockbuster when we couldn’t remember to return it. I don’t think I ever watched the whole thing - maybe we started it and it wasn’t kid friendly is why; my daughter was very young then. So since you said to now I will watch it

Miyasaki did a movie called Pom Koko which shift back and forth between anime style animation and more realistic, Beatrix Potter style animation; it’s very eco-conscious in a nice way.

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Watership Down is a great cartoon for kids. Nice friendly movie about cute bunny rabbits. Rated U for Universal.


While we are on the subject of underrated kid’s movies - this movie, Paulie, is so good - I mean, Gena Rowlands AND Cheech Marin??

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Our list so far


Aliens3 (daneel)
Alien Resurrection (possibly) (daneel/Steampunk Banana)
The Last Action Hero (daneel)
The Cable Guy (deneel)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (daneel)
Kentucky Fried Movie (Steampunk Banana)
Hudson Hawk (Steampunk Banana)
Rat Race (DioBurns)
Stranger Than Fiction (2006) (ActionAbe)
The Matrix (ActionAbe)
Wet Hot American Summer (codinghorror)
The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Ignatius)
Brazil (Ignatius)
City of Lost Children (Ignatius)
Miller’s Crossing (Ignatius)
Thirst (Ignatius)
But I’m A Cheerleader (Ignatius/Donald_Petersen)
Mystic River - (Ignatius)
Speed Racer - (Ignatius)
City of Lost children (Donald_Petersen)
Burn after Reading (pour_la_tete)
Wrath (ActionAbe)
Transformers (ActionAbe)
Hudsucker Proxy (Donald_Petersen)
The 13th Warrior (KarlS)
Jennifer’s Body (Mindaysan33)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (IronEdithKidd)
Hot Tub Time Machine (IronEdithKidd)
Moon (IronEdithKidd)
Dark City (Donald_Petersen)
Big Fish (WearySky)
Map of the Human Heart (noahdjango)
Out of Sight (noahdjango)
Chameleon Street (noahdjango)
Everything Must Go (noahdjango)
Five Easy Pieces (miasm)
Starship Troopers (miasm)
Stalker (miasm)
The Fountain (miasm/noahdjango)
Tin Toy (ChickieD)
Toy Story (ChickieD)
All Studio Ghibli/Hayoa Miyazaki films - highlight on The Cat Returns and Panda Go Panda (ChickieD)
The Princess and The Frog (ChickieD)
Beauty and The Beast(ChickieD)
Anastasia (ChickieD)
The Cobbler and The Thief Recobbled Cut (on You Tube) (ChickieD)
The Watership Down (daneel)
Paulie (ChickieD)


Crash (daneel)
Shakesspeare in Love (daneel)
The King’s Speech (daneel)
Lost in Translation (ActionAbe)
Little Miss Sunshine (ActionAbe)
All Wes Anderson after The Royal Tenenbaums (ActionAbe)
Lord of the Rings (Ignatius)
Spiderman (Ignatius)
Anchorman (Ignatius)
Alexander (Ignatius)
Monster’s Ball (IronEdithKidd)
E.T. (Donald_Petersen)
Titanic (Donald_Petersen)
James Cameron’s entire opus (Mindaysan33/IronEdithKidd)
E.T. and all other Spielberg family friend fare (IronEditKidd)
Anything with Kevin Costner (IronEdithKidd)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (WearySky)
Avatar (daneel)
Tarantino post-Pulp Fiction: Vertigo, Brazil, Metropolis, and The Red Shoes (bwv812)
Star Trek Reboot (miasm)
The Hurt Locker (miasm)
The English Patient (miasm)
Apocalypze Z (peregrinus_bis)
All Disney moviews (noahdjango)


I don’t know Panda Go Panda, but every Miyazaki film that I’ve seen has been outstanding. All of these are very worth watching:

Spirited Away
Princess Mononoke
Nausicaa (of the Valley of the Wind)
A Cat Returns
The Castle of Cagliostro
Porco Rosso
Howl’s Moving Castle

I’m sure that I’ve seen a couple of others, too, but basically what I’m trying to say is that Miyazaki is an incredible director, and Studio Ghibli is a really fantastic animation studio.


YES! I tried clicking the heart 20 times and it just went on and off; did not create 20 hearts.

Here’s Panda Go Panda info on Ghibliwiki:



Apparently his new (last?) one is controversial. I just know I want to see it.

I love Spirited Away & (particularly) Princess Mononoke. My DVD of Howl’s Moving Castle never played properly. I always wondered how it compared to the Welsh book it’s based on.

I thought Ponyo was charming, but it did seem a little aimed towards a younger audience.


I know that I’m jumping into the discussion pretty late, but I’d like to add my two cents.

@ChickieD, thanks for putting the list together. I think it’s really missing Bubba Ho-Tep though. I’m a big fan of Bruce Campbell, so I could throw some more of his movies on the underrated list, but this is a must. It’s just so damn ludicrous. Absurdity to the point of hilarity. But it does take a particular sense of humor to really love a movie about Elvis (not dead, but in a nursing home) and JFK (same, plus he’s black) hunting down a mummy.


No problem; I figured discussion would go on. Just figured I’d put it together so far.

We can keep talking and then I’ll update with new additions after a fair number more accumulate or thread dies natural death.

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Yes, I heard the controversy. Still can’t wait for it!!!

Howl’s Moving Castle is really my fave; my daughter prefers Spirited Away. I’m not sure how Howl’s Moving Castle compares to the book but my daughter did try to read it after seeing the movie; think they were very different.

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It looks like The Wind Rises is a great movie, and I’m sure that I’ll enjoy it. I don’t care if it’s about someone on Japan’s side in WWII. It looks like a good story.

Princess Mononoke is definitely my favorite. I thoroughly enjoy that movie every time I see it. However, I just realized that I forgot about Castle In The Sky! I have that on VHS back home - I’ll have to get a new copy on DVD. As I recall, that was a really good story, too.


And now, in my opinion, the greatest hand drawn animated scene, ever (y’all said spoilers were okay)




We’ll never know, since he wasn’t in the reboot.

For someone who apparently has a lot of love for Hayao, I’ve got to say I would probably find your opinion more credible if you could spell ‘Miyazaki’ correctly.

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ugh, I even Googled it and still got the spell wrong! I will update the list!

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In my first reply I took ‘underrated’ to mean ‘relatively well-known, but often not that well-regarded’. If we include the reverse, then one movie that comes to mind is The Fall.

Here is the trailer, but it is a bit spoilerish if you are very sensitive to that kind of thing.


That was great! At 1:22 I kinda expected him to be interrupting a performance of The French Mistake.


I had a few others in my post?

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