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The Most Underrated Movies of 2013

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Only-God-Forgives-Screenshot
Critics shunned them, moviegoers ignored them, and award shows laughed at them. Still, despite all the negative press, some of the “worst” films of 2013 may actually be worth your time. Here’s a short list of “bad” movies that you should judge for yourself.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Directed by X-Men helmsman, Bryan Singer, this epic re-imaging of “Jack and the Bean Stalk” didn’t perform so well at the box office. Critics largely panned the film for its simple story and uninteresting characters. Admittedly, their criticism is accurate. Luckily, the movie still happens to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Showing off some of the greatest-looking CGI giants the world has ever seen, Jack the Giant Slayer is simple escapism at its finest. The epic battles, the poor-farm-boy-saves-wealthy-princess story, and the entertainingly-repulsive villain all add up to a good time, even if the film is admittedly not the smartest thing you’ll ever see.

Only God Forgives

Legend has it that Only God Forgives was booed and laughed at by many during the Cannes Film Festival press screening. When you sit through it, you can see why that may be. Honestly, I have no idea what the film was about and the characters are severely underdeveloped. But Only God Forgives does have one wonderful asset – style.

This is one of the best-looking movies of the year, sporting some of the most beautifully compelling photography I’ve ever seen. What it lacks in story and character, Only God Forgives makes up for with its unique pacing and clever direction. The movie feels methodical, with each slow shot meticulously crafted to perfection. Directed by the bizarre (yet extremely talented) Nicolas Winding Refn, this one is worth seeing for the visual flare alone.

The Lone Ranger

I can feel you getting mad at me in advance just for putting this one on the list, but hear me out. Yes, The Lone Ranger has been nominated for Worst Picture at The Razzies, and its dirLone Ranger Screenshotector, Gore Verbinksi, is also a nominee for Worst Director. But simply put, the damn Razzies are dead wrong about this one.

The Lone Ranger isn’t a great movie. But on a technical level – in terms of the visual effects, lighting, photography, costumes, makeup, and art direction – it’s nearly unrivaled. The movie is full of model sets, large authentic props, and real scenery shots. It represents a lost art. This is one of the best looking movies of 2013, displaying the talents of Verbinski on screen in glorious fashion. If you can get past the weak script, you’ll find The Lone Ranger to be a gorgeous, entertaining work of pop cinema that history will judge very differently in the long term.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

If you head on over to Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll see that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is rocking a 49% Rotten rating. Of all the entries on this list, the hatred for Walter Mitty confuses me most of all; this is an incredibly smart film, with rich characters and important themes about living life to the fullest. This movie speaks to your soul, pleading with you to take its message to heart.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a wonderful movie, flawed in only the most charming of ways. Its story is a little manic, and the dreams of its protagonist sometimes feel out of place, loaded with unnecessary CGI. But when Walter Mitty is hitting all the right notes, it comes together into a memorable experience, worthy of your attention and praise, regardless of what the majority of critics may say.

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About Chad Michael Van Alstin

Chad is an award-winning libertarian opinion columnist. He's done with that now. Having earned himself a B.A. in Mass Communication, Chad now spends most of his time as a wage laborer, killing the pain by consuming as many video games and movies as possible. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadVanAlstin
  • Victor Lana

    I agree with you on these choices, Chad. Most specifically, had not Verbinski and Depp messed with the Tonto character, the film would have been better received. Simply put Tonto is this year’s Jar Jar Binks. One character can ruin a film and he did.

    • Chad M. Van Alstin

      You’re exactly right on Tonto. Originally I loved the idea of him being the narrator, but Depp (and/or Verbinski) really take the character off the rails. He dominates the film and doesn’t mesh with the tone.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    That’s some fight scene in “Only God Forgives”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh45O6mcb-o

  • L

    Short Term 12 and The History of Future Folk