The Five Most Underrated Movies of 2013

Photo Credit: Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Magnet Releasing,
January 11th, 2014

From movies that performed poorly at the box office to movies that were panned by critics, every year has movies that don't seem to live up to expectations, and 2013 was no different. Sometimes, the critics and box office receipts are wrong, and a great movie is hiding underneath all the hype. Here are the five most underrated movies of 2013, in no particular order. If you are looking to curl up on the couch with a good movie, give one of these often-overlooked gems a try.


"The Great Gatsby"

Starring Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, and Carey Mulligan, the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name got very mixed reviews from critics, although it did fairly well at the box office. The story follows the lavish life of Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) and his neighbor Nick Carraway (Maguire), who had recently moved to Long Island. Set in the Roaring Twenties, the plot takes a look at decadence and idealism and is often seen as a cautionary tale of the downsides of the fabled American dream. The film was directed by Baz Luhrmann in his customary style. With lavish sets and costumes, the film is visually stunning and worth seeing for this reason alone. Reviewers have criticized the film for lacking the emotion of the book, with one going so far as to call it "a spectacle in search of a soul," but the film is a fun, beautiful retelling of the classic story and is well worth the watch.



"The Lone Ranger"

"The Lone Ranger" got negative reviews from critics and flopped at the box office, but this movie deserves another look. Starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, the movie is a fun Western with iconic characters, a couple of funny moments, and truly excellent action sequences, including a climactic train ride that will leave you breathless. The film had a budget of around $225 million—and a further budget of $150 million for marketing—yet only grossed $260 million worldwide. The negative reviews might have held the box office receipts down, with critics finding fault with everything from the length of the film to the action sequences. Still, this movie is worth a watch for anyone who likes action films or Westerns.


"Jack the Giant Slayer"

This family-friendly fairy tale tells the story of Jack, played by Nicholas Hoult, who inadvertently opens a gateway to another world and must rescue a princess from a race of giants. The movie has all the makings of a great family film, complete with a two-headed giant, magic beans, a magic crown, a beautiful princess in need of rescue, and a happy ending. This movie is also the victim of false expectations, with audiences expecting a "Lord of the Rings"-type movie and getting a fun and light-hearted adventure story. Although the movie performed poorly at the box office, with estimated losses of $125 to $140 million, it is a fun adventure story that appeals to both the young and old. This film would be a great rental for family movie night.



"Europa Report"

Although it made a low $125,687 at the box office, the "Europa Report" is a great choice for any science-fiction lover. Chronicling the first manned mission to Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, this film tells the story through found footage, much like "The Blair Witch Project." After losing all contact with Earth, the crew encounters several deadly situations and mysteries. The film is crafted brilliantly and got generally positive reviews from critics. The film strives to be as scientifically accurate as possible—filmmakers used data from both JPL and NASA. Give this movie a watch, and you'll be unable to look away, fearful that you'll miss something.




"Best Man Down"

Rounding out the list of 2013's most underrated movies is a film many people may not have even heard of. This dramatic comedy made just $1,938 at the box office and was only released in three cities over two weekends. The movie follows two newlyweds, played by Justin Long and Jess Weixler, who put their honeymoon plans on hold to deal with the death of their best man, played by Tyler Labine. When they fly back home to deal with funeral arrangements, they learn some interesting things about their recently deceased best friend. The film was director Ted Koland's debut, and with authentic characters and a touching storyline, this movie is a great watch and a perfect date-night movie.