The 100 Must-Watch Movies You Haven’t Yet Seen

Far too often, cinematic masterpieces get overlooked –– and it’s us cinema lovers who suffer the loss. While some can’t seem to draw crowds upon their box office release, others simply don’t get the critical attention they merit. Whatever the reason, the result is that the streaming landscape is overflowing with hidden treasures that deserve to be unearthed, enjoyed, and duly celebrated. From political thrillers to quirky romances and everything in between, we’ve rounded up the top 100 underrated movies that are on their way to becoming cult classics. 

Begin Again (2013)

John Carney, who directed the critically and commercially successful Once, may be the world’s best captor of charm. Begin Again tells the story of a broken-hearted singer who gets discovered by a failed showbiz executive. Their ideas and love for music are all they have to face their failures and bring their creativity to life. The original songs are charming and from Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo to Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Adam Levine, and Cee-Lo Green, the cast generate sparkling chemistry and portray the story beautifully. Begin again is a sweet and effortless watch, yet far from being your classic rom-com.

(Tyler)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Adam Levine, Catherine Keener, CeeLo Green, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, John Carney, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Mos Def
Director: John Carney
Rating: R
Like Crazy (2011)

See, low budget films do work! Like Crazy schools other romantic films on what they should all be: cute and sweet but also frustrating and nerve-wracking. Felicity Jones is absolutely fantastic here, she stars as a British girl who falls in love with an American, Jacob, while in college. On a whim, she overstays her visa to be with him, and then return to England to face the consequences. The intimacy this film explores really distinguishes it from others and makes for an authentic experience, as it is based on its writer/director's own 8-year long-distance relationship. A great option if you're in the mood for the type of suspense that pulls at your heartstrings.

 

Genre: Romance
Actor: Alex Kingston, Anton Yelchin, Ben York Jones, Charlie Bewley, Chris Messina, Drake Doremus, Felicity Jones, Finola Hughes, Jamie Thomas King, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Muirhead
Director: Drake Doremus
Rating: PG-13
Another Year (2010)

This is a very nice movie about a lovely older couple named Tom and Gerri. It follows their lives for an entire year, as they work at their jobs, invite friends over for dinner, and work in their garden. They live modest but fulfilling lives, and they seem mostly happy and very much in love, a rarity in the movies. This probably sounds horribly boring to most people, but since Mike Leigh is the director, the film is instead a touching and realistic portrayal of love and how people spend their time together. We should all be so lucky as to live a life as charmed as the central couple in this film.

(Tara Goe)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: David Bradley, Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Karina Fernandez, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage, Meneka Das, Michele Austin, Oliver Maltman, Peter Wight, Phil Davis, Ralph Ineson, Ruth Sheen
Director: Mike Leigh
Rating: PG-13
Hello, My Name is Doris (2015)

Doris Miller is an unassuming sixty-something office worker whose life takes an unusual turn after her mother passes away. We find out over the course of the film that Doris' life was put on hold early when she had to give up her dreams and ambitions to take care of her mother. Something is awakened in Doris though when she falls head over heels for John, a much younger co-worker, and Doris dives head first into the world of social media, electro-pop, and Brooklyn hipsterdom. Sally Field is an absolute delight here -- her Doris is sweet, lovable, and tragic in equal measures. And the chemistry between her and John is palpable; you can see why they eventually strike up a friendship. In many ways this is a late in life coming-of-age story, and while there are moments of uncomfortable humor, you will find yourself rooting for Doris to come out of her shell and embrace her new life to the fullest.

(Tara Goe)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Amy Okuda, Beth Behrs, Caroline Aaron, Edmund Lupinski, Elizabeth Reaser, Isabella Acres, Jack Antonoff, Kumail Nanjiani, Max Greenfield, Natasha Lyonne, Norma Michaels, Peter Gallagher, Rebecca Wisocky, Rich Sommer, Roz Ryan, Sally Field, Stephen Root, Tyne Daly, Wendi McLendon-Covey
Director: Michael Showalter
Rating: R
Love is Strange (2014)

Love is Strange is an even-handed drama about a Ben and George (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina), a loving couple who marry after 39 years of companionship, only to face a series of unexpected consequences of their decision. George is fired from his position as a music teacher, they’re forced to sell their home, and they find themselves living separately with various friends and relatives. The story revolves largely around their time apart, as they struggle in their separation while creating unintended commotion in the lives of their hosts. It’s a warm, wryly amusing and ultimately very touching film about the bonds of love and dedication. It may seem slow at times, but to watch it through to the end will lead you to realize how truly special it is.

(Jamie Rutherford)
Genre: Drama
Actor: Alfred Molina, Charlie Tahan, Cheyenne Jackson, Christian Coulson, Christina Kirk, Darren E. Burrows, Harriet Sansom Harris, John Cullum, John Lithgow, Manny Perez, Marisa Tomei, Olya Zueva, Tank Burt, Tatyana Zbirovskaya
Director: Ira Sachs
Rating: R
Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)

A calm and cute story about a manic-depressive father in late 70’s Boston taking care of his two daughters. Starring familiar-face Mark Ruffalo in the lead. The film is inspired by its director’s own experience as one of the two daughters, which added to the amazing performances, makes for a movie made and filled with love. But as it manages to keep a smile on your face most of the time, it also doesn’t shy away from hard and moving sequences. A Sundance movie filled with heart.

(William)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Ashley Aufderheide, Beth Dixon, Imogene Wolodarsky, Keir Dullea, Mark Ruffalo, Wallace Wolodarsky, William Xifaras, Zoe Saldana
Director: Maya Forbes
Rating: R
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

A wonderful, witty teen comedy—possibly the best the genre has known in a long time! In a powerhouse performance, Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine, a high school junior at peak angst and awkwardness. Her roller coaster journey through family, friends, lovers, or lack thereof, gives her that all-too-common impression for people her age that life is unbearable. Things get more complicated when Nadine's dad passes and her only friend hooks up with an unexpected person. Her temperament and humor will help her see past her demons to understand what's important in life, putting you in privileged spectator mode to this highly smart and exciting coming-of-age story.

(Alex)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Alexander Calvert, Ava Grace Cooper, Blake Jenner, Chris Shields, Christian Michael Cooper, Eric Keenleyside, Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Hayden Szeto, Katie Stuart, Kelly Fremon Craig, Kirsten Robek, Kyra Sedgwick, Laine MacNeil, Lina Renna, Meredith Monroe, Nesta Cooper, Woody Harrelson
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Rating: R
Blindspotting (2018)

It’s hard to pin point exactly what makes this movie so good. It’s an all-around “movie” movie. I think it can be called a buddy comedy because it is about two best friends who are also movers. It’s about their day-to-day, their families and their relationships. They’re both from the underclass of Oakland, and one of them is black, the other is white. And that’s where it stops being a comedy and becomes a more hard-hitting film. It illustrates gentrification better than any other movie I’ve ever seen. It has relevant and striking commentary on the main characters’ race, upbringing, and identity. But at the end of the day, it has a great plot, and for the most part it’s an easy-flowing movie. It’s half entertainment, half social commentary, and both parts are equally well-done. It’s like movie unicorn, and it’s perfection. One of the two friends is played by Daveed Diggs, who you might know from Hamilton.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Carlos López Estrada, Daveed Diggs, Ethan Embry, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Jon Chaffin, Kendra Andrews, Nyambi Nyambi, Rafael Casal, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Wayne Knight
Director: Carlos López Estrada
Rating: R
Mid90s (2018)

It wouldn't be too far of a reach to evoke Kids (1995) while diving into Mid90s. But instead of taking on the HIV crisis, Mid90s is a much more tender, poignant reflection on coming of age in 90's skate culture. Jonah Hill, writer and director, examines the complexities of trying to fit in and the difficult choices one has to embrace individualism. From an opening of physical abuse to scenes of drug usage and traumatic experiences, Mid90s is a meditation not only on culture, but also a subtle examination of what it means to be human, to reach emotional and physical limitations, and to seek acceptance. Filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio, Mid90s doesn't concern itself with grandiose filmography, but instead the aspect ratio almost reflects the tonal and metaphorical aspects played out on screen. With a smaller dynamic range of color and the familiar dust/scratches, the 16mm film compliments gritty and emotional moments of Mid90s. The emotional range of the film will take the audience from the depths of empathy to laughing out loud, but there is no compromise to the weight of each moment. Jonah Hill's directorial debut is beautiful in every sense of the word.

(Jeremy Flick)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Alexa Demie, Fig Camila Abner, Gio Galicia, Jonah Hill, Katherine Waterston, Liana Perlich, Lucas Hedge, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin, Sunny Suljic
Director: Jonah Hill
Rating: R
A Most Violent Year (2014)

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac star in this slow-burning but impeccable crime thriller.

Abel Morales (Isaac) owns a fuel distribution company in 1980s New York. His competitors are violent and corrupt, and the feds are after him. The temptation to resort to unlawful methods is high, especially that his wife (Chastain) is the daughter of a mobster.

A Most Violent Year is about how this temptation of corruption unfolds and whether Abel will surrender to it or not.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Actor: Albert Brooks, Alessandro Nivola, Ashley Williams, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Christopher Abbott, Daisy Tahan, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Marvel, Elyes Gabel, Glenn Fleshler, Jason Ralph, Jerry Adler, Jessica Chastain, Lorna Pruce, Matthew Maher, Oscar Isaac, Patrick Breen, Peter Gerety, Robert Clohessy, Taylor Richardson
Director: J. C. Chandor
Rating: R

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