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. 

Foxcatcher (2014)

From the director of Moneyball, Foxcatcher is a true-story-based thriller centered around Olympic wrestlers and brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and multimillionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell). When the latter invites both brothers to move to his estate and train there, with seemingly patriotic motives, only Mark accepts. As training for the 1988 Olympic Games starts, and Du Pont's motives become clearer, tragedy hits. This film is a slow-burning celebration of the exceptional talent it features, both Ruffalo and Carell received Oscar nominations for their roles.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Actor: Anthony Michael Hall, Brett Rice, Channing Tatum, Guy Boyd, Joe Fishel, Mark Ruffalo, Samara Lee, Sienna Miller, Steve Carell, Vanessa Redgrave
Director: Bennett Miller
Rating: R
The Big Sick (2017)

A revelation of a movie, both in filmmaking and commercial success. While little-known abroad, it has made more than $42 million in US Box Office revenue out of a tiny $5 million budget. Kumail Nanjiani, stand-up comedian and star of the show Silicon Valley, tells his own story of romance with his now-wife Emily V. Gordon (who co-wrote the movie). Because it is based on a true story, and because it is the product of the love of both its writers and stars, this movie is incredibly heartfelt. It is also timely, addressing heavy themes such as identity, immigration, and family relationships. Not to mention it is absolutely hilarious. And it's produced by Judd Apatow. Trust me and go watch it.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Adeel Akhtar, Aidy Bryant, Anupam Kher, Bo Burnham, Celeste Arias, David Alan Grier, Holly Hunte, Holly Hunter, Keilly McQuail, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Patten, Linda Emond, Matthew Cardarople, Ray Romano, Shunori Ramanathan, Zach Cherry, Zenobia Shroff, Zoe Kazan
Director: Michael Showalter
Rating: R
99 Homes (2015)

Andrew Garfield is a single father living with his own single mother in their family home. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, they find themselves evicted from their home by a businessman - Michael Shannon in a role as intriguing as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, if not more. Desperate for work, Garfield’s character starts working for the same businessman, ultimately evicting other people. A star-packed, gritty and sobering tale on capitalism and our the lengths to which we’re ready to go to save face - while at the same time risking our most important relationships.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, Michael Shannon
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Sorry to Bother You (2018)

In the year of the Netflix TV Show Maniac, another absurdist title stole critics’ hearts. Sorry to Bother You is a movie set in an alternate reality, where capitalism and greed are accentuated. Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) is a guy called Cassius who struggles to pay his bills. However, when at a tele-marketing job an old-timer tells him to use a “white voice”, he starts moving up the ranks of his bizarre society. A really smart movie that will be mostly enjoyed by those who watch it for its entertaining value, and not so much for its commentary. It is like a Black Mirror episode stretched into a movie.

Genre: Comedy
Actor: Armie Hammer, Danny Glover, Jermaine Fowler, Kate Berlant, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael X. Sommers, Omari Hardwick, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews, Tessa Thompson
Director: Boots Riley
Rating: R
Beautiful Boy (2018)

Steve Carrell delivers an amazing performance here. Beautiful Boy is a movie that is based on a true story that first appeared as a best-selling serialized memoir. It’s about a son’s journey through drug abuse and how his relationship with his father evolves. The son is played by Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Carrell is the dad. As you can probably guess, the themes of drug addiction and family are made to induce tears, which this movie manages to do in a lot of ways. It can come across as somewhat emotionally manipulative at times. In those moments, it helps to remind oneself that it is based on a true story. The performances and the exploration of the limits of the father-son relationship remain the reasons why you should consider watching this movie.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Amy Forsyth, Amy Ryan, Andre Royo, Jack Dylan Grazer, Kaitlyn Dever, LisaGay Hamilton, Maura Tierne, Maura Tierney, Stefanie Scott, Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Timothée Chalamet, Timothy Hutton
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Rating: R
Love, Simon (2018)

An easy yet original coming-of-age story about Simon, a high-schooler with great parents, great friends, and one big secret he's not telling either. It's not a particularly complex movie, and it may not be one you'll remember forever, but it's very easy to have a pleasant time watching it. And if you're OK with that, its takes on finding one's identity and the negative impact of keeping secrets from our loved ones might surprise you in their depth. Love, Simon is a reminder that movies don't have to be religiously realistic to get a heartfelt new story across. It's entertainment with a message, the same way Juno or The Perks of Being a Wallflower were.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Alex Sgambati, Alexandra Shipp, Cassady McClincy, Jennifer Garner, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Josh Duhamel, Joshua Mikel, Katherine Langford, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Miles Heizer, Nick Robinson, Sean O'Donnell, Talitha Bateman, Terayle Hill, Tony Hale
Director: Greg Berlanti
Rating: PG-13
A Hidden Life (2019)

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) is back in full form with this three-hour movie based on a true story. His creation has one of the most beautiful depictions of happiness ever seen in film, portraying the simple yet joyous life of a farmer in the Austrian mountains. You'd have to see it for yourself to understand, but how Malick depicts this character's love for his wife (and her love for him), their children, and even their farming rituals are nothing short of cinematic wizardry. 

This peaceful existence changes when World War 2 intensifies and this farmer is called to serve for the Nazis. He refuses to enroll out of principle and puts himself and his family at great danger and alienation from their village. The question at the center of the film is one that other villagers and the church ask him a lot: what good can his actions do? And the title of the movie is taken from A George Eliot quote: "The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

Genre: Drama, History, War
Actor: August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Dimo Alexiev, Joel Basman, Johannes Nussbaum, Jürgen Prochnow, Karl Markovics, Maria Simon, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Nyqvist, Nicholas Reinke, Sophie Rois, Tobias Moretti, Valerie Pachner
Director: Terrence Malick
Rating: PG-13
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

This unique romance is set during a time when a man would be sent the painting of the woman he was to marry before the wedding could take place. Héloïse, secluded with her mother and a maid on a remote island, doesn't approve of her upcoming wedding and refuses to be painted. Her mother sends for a new painter, Marianne, to try to paint her without her noticing. Marianne has to take on this near-impossible task when she starts having feelings for Héloïse. This makes for a riveting romance where Marianne has to choose between her heart and her art while keeping a huge secret from her love interest.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Noémie Merlant, Valeria Golino
Director: Céline Sciamma
Rating: R
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)

Get ready for one hell of a journey. From the writer of City of God, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is a poignant and powerful action-packed movie. Set in Brazil, the film follows two seemingly opposed characters (one a police officer, one a professor) as they both work to treat the systemic social ills that corrupt the country. As much a social commentary as it is an action-packed drama (think The Departed and The Wire), Elite Squad will take you on a whirlwind journey that will leave you considering the larger issues of poverty, crime, and "doing good" in the world.

(Andrew Ninnemann)
Genre: Action
Actor: Andre Mattos, André Ramiro, Caio Junqueira, Irandhir Santos, Maria Ribeiro, Milhem Cortaz, Pedro Van-Held, Sandro Rocha, Seu Jorge, Taina Muller, Wagner Moura
Director: José Padilha
Rating: Not Rated, Unrated
The Florida Project (2017)

Every once in a while there are movies that expand the definition of quality film-making. This is one of those movies.

Here is an incredible, yet delicate film that follows three children from poor families who are stuck living in subpar motels. Their lives and friendships are portrayed with honesty and precise aesthetics. It’s a story that at first seems as plot-free as life itself.

It succeeds in capturing an innocence that is usually reserved to a child’s imagination: a precarious living condition full of adventures and fun. It’s hard to describe it beyond that; it’s the kind of film that must be seen to be fully understood.

And it ends on a very high note.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Aiden Malik, Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Caleb Landry Jones, Christopher Rivera, Jim R. Coleman, Josie Olivo, Karren Karagulian, Macon Blair, Valeria Cotto, Willem Dafoe
Director: Sean Baker
Rating: R

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