ByGrant Hermanns, writer at
I know way too much about movies, my mind is like a walking IMDB, only not perfect. Don't forget to hit up my Twitter: @grantheftautho
Grant Hermanns

Abrams. Raimi. Tarantino. Boyle. Howard. Eastwood.

These are just a few of the big wigs in the Hollywood directing scene, each having multiple hits to cement their legacy in film history. But even among their big pictures, these directors have all made great films that go unnoticed and unappreciated in standing out from their other work. Let's take a look back at some of the best movies directed by these veterans that don't get the proper love from the public.

Quentin Tarantino — 'The Hateful Eight'

[Credit: The Weinstein Company]
[Credit: The Weinstein Company]
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Stars: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins
  • Box Office: $155.8 million ($54.1 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 75% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 76% from Audiences

This may seem like a bizarre movie to include, seeing as how it's still very recent, but The Hateful Eight is definitely Quentin Tarantino's most underrated picture in his filmography. Set some years after the Civil War, the film tells the story of eight people trapped in a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard and the mystery that at least one of them is a murderer attempting to save criminal Daisy Domergue from bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth.

The toughest thing to appreciate about many Tarantino films is the amount of dialogue in them, as his scripts are known for showing a focus on character development and conversations over action and events, and Eight is no exception. The reason this film succeeds in delivering so much tension in a confined space for three hours is due to the dialogue between all eight captivating characters, all of whom skillfully deliver comedy, suspense and drama. Once audiences can learn to listen closely to the dialogue and appreciate its slow burn, they will come to see how undervalued this gem is.

J.J. Abrams — 'Super 8'

[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Stars: Kyle Channing, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths
  • Box Office: $260.1 million ($127 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 82% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 75% from Audiences

I'm going to preface this one by saying that there's no denying Super 8 is basiclly a combo of E.T. and Cloverfield. However, this seemingly unoriginal combo is actually what makes this such a wonderful picture. Following a group of young teenagers as they witness the escape of a deadly creature and deal with the destructive aftermath, the film is a wonderful ode to the family adventures of the '80s, featuring some fantastic visual effects and some very light-hearted storytelling.

Though the marketing featured more mystery than the actual film, Abrams still did such a good job of developing the characters and showing technical style in his direction.

Wes Anderson — 'The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou'

[Credit: Touchstone Pictures]
[Credit: Touchstone Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Stars: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum
  • Box Office: $34.8 million ($24 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 56% from Critics, 82% from Audiences

Known as the master of quirk, Wes Anderson has burned his way into Hollywood's directing hall of fame thanks to his unique storytelling, off-brand humor and stylish direction. While all of his films are certainly well-loved by audiences, the one that is still often less appreciated is his first and only "big budget" picture: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Hitting every quirky note and bizarre height possible, the film remains Anderson's most unique film in regards to the more liberal blend of drama and comedy, and its featuring of large sets, grandiose effects and phenomenal performances, especially from lead Murray.

While its blend might not hit every note as strongly as the rest of Anderson's filmography, this is definitely a very eccentric and stylish adventure that deserves a rewatch.

Michael Bay — 'Pain & Gain'

[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shaloub
  • Box Office: $86.2 million ($49.9 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 49% from Critics, 47% from Audiences

The Man. The Myth. The Joke.

Universally recognized as invoking groans upon hearing his name, Michael Bay has certainly had a rough time keeping genuine fans of his craft in recent years, constantly being made fun of for his excessive use of explosions and lack of character development in his movies. However, one of his more recent films that not only worked, but is also one of his more underrated movies, is the semi-biographical crime comedy, Pain & Gain.

The film follows three bodybuilders who hatch up a scheme to kidnap a sleazy businessman in Miami and extort his assets using any means necessary. Though the film certainly changes quite a bit of facts from the true story, it's still certainly forgivable thanks to combination of great performances, stylish direction and effective comedy, Bay taking a more grounded approach than typically known for.

Peter Berg — 'The Rundown'

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Stars: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken
  • Box Office: $80.9 million ($47.7 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 70% from Critics, 66% from Audiences

Peter Berg's career has been like a classic Hitchcock film: Slowly burning its way into our minds before reaching an all-time high that stays with us for a long time, and it was during his early career that he directed one of his best, and most undervalued, films, The Rundown.

Following a bounty hunter who travels to Brazil to retrieve his employer's reckless son, the action comedy certainly featured a lot of tropes commonly seen in buddy action comedies, but it did so with enough intelligence and skill that it creates an unforgettable experience. Berg shows that, even if it was only his second picture, he had an incredible grip on his directing style and on delivering a thrilling and beautifully shot action film.

In addition to Berg's direction, the film featured one of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's first full-length feature roles, as well as his first stab at comedy, to which he excelled with hilarity and really performed well alongside comedy veteran, Seann William Scott.

Brad Bird — 'Tomorrowland'

[Credit: Disney]
[Credit: Disney]
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Stars: Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie
  • Box Office: $209.2 million ($93.4 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 50% from Critics, 49% from Audiences

I know this is a recent picture, but Brad Bird is a director who's literally only ever had one film under-perform critically and commercially, and that film is Tomorrowland. But no matter how harsh the critics were on this film, there was no denying just how much fun this film was, already making this his most underrated film in his career.

Taking its namesake from a section of the Disneyland theme park, the film tells two stories of brilliant young people who discover an alternate dimension that is in danger from their primary dimension. The film offered such a unique idea with both its storytelling and its sense of imagination and innovation, sparking a sense of creativity and wonder in audiences as they watch the film.

John Carpenter — They Live'

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Stars: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, Peter Jason
  • Box Office: $13 million
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 83% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 79% from Audiences

After cementing his name in Hollywood as a heavyweight with the original Halloween and The Thing, John Carpenter found a short story that he decided to turn into a passion project many don't know, but those who do have come to love: They Live. The sci-fi story follows an unnamed drifter discovering the major conspiracy that aliens have invaded the Earth and have taken over the upper class, blinding the population with its messages promoting materialism and greed.

The two reasons this movie is such an underrated gem that works so well is due to its incredible satire and a great lead performance from Piper. Carpenter took his distaste for Reaganomics, which began shortly before the film's production, and put it into the script, blending smart comedy and insightful concepts to get his message out there. The script was then expertly delivered by Piper, who at the time was a professional wrestler just trying to transition to films and did so in a big way with They Live, showing he had enough charisma and wit to hold his own.

Joel & Ethan Coen — 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

[Credit: CBS Films]
[Credit: CBS Films]
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Adam Driver, Justin Timberlake
  • Box Office: $32.9 million ($13.2 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 94% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 74% from Audiences

The ever-inseparable brother duo are known for making some of the most widely-acclaimed films over the past 20 years, as well as some of the biggest cult classics that still have large fan bases to this day. There's one movie, though, that neither flopped nor reached the same heights as many of their other works: Inside Llewyn Davis.

Inspired by both the East Coast folk scene in the 1960s and real-life folk musician Dave Van Ronk, the movie follows the titular musician as he attempts to re-discover his purpose in the musical world and deal with the various obstacles in his life.

The Coen Brothers show their strongest grip on blending dark comedy and drama in this film, delivering plenty of insightful and introspective soul-searching amidst an array of bizarrely funny and outright hilarious scenes. In addition to the fantastic script and direction, it's led by a stunning performance from Isaac, making his biggest leading role a smash and showing he's both a talented actor and powerful musician.

Wes Craven — 'The People Under The Stairs'

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Stars: Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, Ving Rhames
  • Box Office: $31.4 million ($24.2 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 61% from Critics, 58% from Audiences

The legend known for bringing one of the most renowned horror villains — Freddy Kruger — to life, Wes Craven is another director on this list who will forever live on in the horror film hall of fame. During the late 1980s, Craven's career began hitting a slump after delivering a few less-than-noteworthy pictures, but at the start of the new decade, signs pointed towards a promising return for the director, and The People Under the Stairs was a prime example that often goes overlooked by most people.

The film follows a young boy living in Los Angeles who becomes trapped in his neighbor's house with two local burglars after they discover the tenants' terrifying secret. The reason this film is so under-appreciated and deserves another look is the more grounded plot and characters — though many of the events are bizarre and slightly outlandish, by making the villains actually human instead of the supernatural, Craven delivered one of his most thrilling and genuinely creepiest films.

Clint Eastwood — 'Heartbreak Ridge'

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Stars: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Mario Van Peebles
  • Box Office: $121.7 million ($42.7 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 83% from Critics, 74% from Audiences

Known for both directing and starring in his own movies, there's no denying Clint Eastwood has made some of the most powerful and moving dramas in cinematic history, including Gran Torino and Million Dollar Baby. But one of his lesser-known and lesser-appreciated directing/acting combos is the 1986 war drama, Heartbreak Ridge.

The film tells the story of Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway as he is forced to train a group of undisciplined Marines as he nears retirement. Playing the same character type we've come to know and love from Eastwood, the grumpy and wiseass Sgt. Highway is one of the more under-appreciated Eastwood roles that does a great job of blending drama and comedy. This combined with the respect shown towards the military and the skillfully shot action sequences add this up to being one of Eastwood's best and most underrated pictures.

Jon Favreau — 'Zathura'

[Credit: Sony Pictures]
[Credit: Sony Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Stars: Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Kristen Stewart, Dax Sheppard
  • Box Office: $64.3 million ($29.3 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 75% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 51% from Audiences

Before he became the hit blockbuster director of the start of the Iron Man franchise and the live-action remake of The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau got his big-budget start with the big-screen adaptation of the popular children's novel, Zathura.

Featuring an ensemble cast of young actors making an early splash into the movie industry, the story of two boys propelled into space after playing a board game seemed like a perfect setup for success, the book being written by the same author as the similar fantasy novel, Jumanji.

Despite a similar plot, this movie has so many good aspects going for it that it deserves a revisiting with today's audiences. The comedy is light-hearted and clever, the action is nostalgic and fast-paced and the direction is stylish, resulting in a zany and very fun family adventure.

Ron Howard — 'Ransom'

[Credit: Touchstone Pictures]
[Credit: Touchstone Pictures]
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Stars: Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, Rene Russo, Delroy Lindo
  • Box Office: $309.5 million ($136.5 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 75% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 62% from Audiences

Having directed some of the most sweeping dramas in cinematic history, director Ron Howard has been in the film industry for a long time and will live on through history thanks to these accomplishments. But amidst his powerful dramas and larger-than-life adventures, Howard directed a grounded and pulse-pounding thriller that sits at the top of his most underrated movies: Ransom.

The film follows a multi-millionaire as he and the FBI play a cat-and-mouse game with the group who kidnapped his son, offering up the ransom money as a bounty for anyone who finds his son and brings him home alive.

While certainly not a completely unique story, what makes this film so captivating is both the performances and the stylish direction, Howard knowing how to truly capture all of the drama and action successfully in each shot, and Gibson delivering something not typically seen in his wheelhouse. With its fast pace, stellar direction and captivating performances, this is a movie that needs to become relevant again in people's minds.

Todd Phillips — 'Due Date'

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Stars: Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan
  • Box Office: $211.8 million ($100 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 40% from Critics, 52% from Audiences

A name most people recognize, but can't quite put a filmography too, the comedic director is known for giving us one of the most popular and successful comedy trilogies: The Hangover trilogy. Among his widely popular and successful hits, Phillips wrote, produced and directed a comedy that received a lot of hype and attention leading up to its release to help it become a financial hit, but has since been quickly forgotten: Due Date.

The story follows an uptight businessman and an aspiring actor as they travel halfway across the country together and must survive each other. The film is able to set itself apart from other road trip comedies in a positive manner by capitalizing off of Phillips' penchant for crude humor and fast-paced direction. The comedy was also supported by two astonishing performances from Galifianakis, a comedy veteran, and Downey, Jr., who continued to prove his comedic talents with this film.

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Sam Raimi — 'Oz The Great And Powerful'

[Credit: Disney]
[Credit: Disney]
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Stars: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz
  • Box Office: $493.3 million ($234.9 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 59% from Critics, 56% from Audiences

He's brought to life not one, but two of the most popular franchises to life, one being the first notable adaptation of the popular Marvel hero Spider-Man, as well as creating one of the most acclaimed horror franchises, The Evil Dead. Sam Raimi has been in the industry for 40 years and directed a number of big pictures, but his last big-screen production is easily his most underrated of them all: Oz the Great and Powerful.

Acting as a spiritual prequel to the hit fantasy novel and 1939 movie musical, the film tells the story of a young magician/hustler who is whisked away from 1905 Kansas to the magical world of Oz and is drawn in to a battle between the witches of Oz. What initially seems like a cheap setup for a plot is actually a brilliantly structured concept that is supported by a breezy fast pace, stellar visual effects, stylish direction and wonderful performances from its cast.

John Singleton — 'Shaft'

[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Christian Bale, Jeffrey Wright, Toni Collette
  • Box Office: $107.2 million ($70.3 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 68% from Critics, 40% from Audiences

Having hit the mainstream big with his 1991 directorial debut, Boyz n the Hood, John Singleton blew up and has enjoyed much success with audiences since on the big screen. But one of the films that received better reviews from critics than audiences and still doesn't get the proper respect is the 2000 crime thriller, Shaft. Neither acting as a reboot or a remake, the fourth entry into the franchise follows the exploits of John Shaft, the nephew of the original John Shaft (bizarre, huh?).

While the audiences who did enjoy the movie all agree that there was no better actor to cast than Samuel L. Jackson, they found the film as a whole to be too cheesy and too over-the-top, but they are straight up wrong. The point of the original Shaft was never to be too serious or grounded in reality, and the fourth entry did a wonderful job of capturing the original's blaxploitation feel while updating the pace and stylish direction for modern audience, making this Singleton's most undervalued movie in his filmography.

Steven Soderbergh — 'Ocean's Thirteen'

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino
  • Box Office: $311.3 million ($117.2 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 70% from Critics, 75% from Audiences

He's one of the most stylish and inventive directors of our time, being well-known for directing visually-arresting pictures that love to focus on the characters in the film more than the actions happening around them. His name is Steven Soderbergh, and he is, in my opinion, a director who is severely underrated.

Amid sweeping dramas such as Traffic and black comedies such asThe Informant!, Soderbergh tackled his second remake with the hit 2001 heist comedy, Ocean's Eleven, which was successful enough to earn two sequels, the third of which lands on this list for being the director's most underrated picture.

After the hectic events of the second film, the gang reunites to bring down hotel owner Willie Bank after he double crosses one of their own and nearly kills him.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

While it was a box office hit upon release and performed better with critics and audiences than the second entry into the trilogy, it still is one that's not nearly as appreciated as Soderbergh's other pictures, which is unfair. Not only is it easily his most stylish and most beautifully directed film to date, but it's also just a non-stop joy ride from start to finish, returning to the more simplified approach for the big con.

The Wachowskis — 'Speed Racer'

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Stars: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, John Goodman
  • Box Office: $93.9 million ($43.9 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 39% from Critics, 60% from Audiences

Well known for directing films featuring endless CGI and sweeping adventures, the Wachowskis have delivered some surreal pictures, including the classic Matrix trilogy. But the one film that flopped at the box office and is considered by many to be one of their worst pictures is actually just their most underrated movie: Speed Racer.

Adapting the hit anime and manga series of the same name for American audiences, the movie saw the titular hero racer facing off against rival drivers and the crooked owner of a racing corporation. What this movie lacked in unique storytelling, it more than made up for with its faithful adaptation of the original franchise in both its tone and its characters. The end result was a fast-paced, frenetic thrill ride packed with stellar visual effects and breezy comedy.

James Wan — 'Death Sentence'

[Credit: 20th Century Fox]
[Credit: 20th Century Fox]
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Stars: Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman, Aisha Tyler
  • Box Office: $17 million ($9.5 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 20% from Critics, 60% from Audiences

Known as the master of modern horror, James Wan has been blowing up the Hollywood scene for over 10 years now, finding major success with the first installments in the Saw and Insidious franchises, as well as delivering the last Fast & Furious movie, Furious 7. Though he's found success with nearly every film he's made, there's one that didn't see much success that definitely deserves a revisiting: Death Sentence.

The plot is pretty generic, but what really saves this film is the direction and lead performance from Bacon. Having only directed horror films prior, this was Wan's first venture into action-thriller, and he shows his intimate handheld work combined with the wide-craning pans work wonders for the genre, delivering a stylish and suspenseful thriller that true fans of the director should revisit.

Danny Boyle — 'Trance'

[Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures]
[Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Stars: James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson, Danny Sapani
  • Box Office: $24.3 million ($2.3 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 68% from Critics, 62% from Audiences

Often likened to a modern day Stanley Kubrick, director Danny Boyle has made a name for himself with his storytelling that features bizarre and unique visuals, as well as far-reaching stories, delivering such hits as Trainspotting and Sunshine. But one of his lesser popular films that deserves much more attention is the 2013 psychological thriller, Trance.

The story follows an art auctioneer as he works with a hypnotherapist to remember where he hid a lost painting from a group of thieves. The events that follow are some of the most mind-boggling and visually bizarre Boyle has directed in his career. What makes this film truly extraordinary is the stellar twist towards the end, the beautiful direction and phenomenal lead performance from McAvoy, making this Boyle's most underrated gem.

Terry Jones — 'Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life'

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Stars: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin
  • Box Office: $14.9 million
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 90% from Critics, 83% from Audiences

While the name might not initially spark recognition in everyone's mind, the work Terry Jones has done will never be forgotten, as he directed all of the comedy troupe Monty Python's most prominent big screen pictures. But his most underrated film is also the group's most underrated film: Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

In satirizing the many facets of life, the comedy troupe delivered its smartest and funniest film, which was told with a series of disconnected comedy sketches covering each stage of life. While the film was still considered a success at the time of release, grossing over $5 million over its budget and seeing very positive reviews from critics, it's still seen by many as the group's "worst" film.

Even if the film doesn't feel as strongly structured as Holy Grail or Life of Brian, there's so much more to this film than initially meets the eye that fans should really give this a second chance. The writing is intelligent and hilarious, the direction is superb, the performances are stellar and the visual effects work wonders. If fans can get past its disjointed structure and put a little thought into the messages in the film, they will come to better appreciate how undervalued this gem is.

Guy Ritchie — 'RocknRolla'

[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Stars: Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Toby Kebbell, Tom Wilkinson
  • Box Office: $25.7 million ($5.7 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 59% from Critics, 71% from Audiences

Easily one of the most popular British directors around, Guy Ritchie has made quite a name for himself with his gritty gangster comedies including Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. But the one crime comedy that didn't receive nearly as much attention as it deserved was 2007's RocknRolla.

In a story not so new to Ritchie, the film follows a group of ambitious small-time crooks who steal money from the wrong crime lord, who in turn was also stealing money from another crime lord, that all results in blood, bullets and laughter. Ritchie's directing style proved to be the most unique and slick effort, the script (though featuring familiar themes) was still very well-written and chocked full of humor and the performances were all fantastic, especially Butler and Kebbell, who was still a relative unknown at the time.

Ridley Scott — 'Matchstick Men'

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce McGill
  • Box Office: $65.5 million ($36.9 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 82% "Certified Fresh" from Critics, 74% from Audiences

Known for developing some of the most groundbreaking sci-fi films in cinematic history, Ridley Scott's pictures are always known for featuring a very atmospheric style that features a high concentration on the visual appeal. But amidst classic dramas such as Gladiator and sci-fi hits such as The Martian, there was one Scott pic that actually focused more on performance than style, but has been forgotten: Matchstick Men.

And to think, that was Cage just last Monday at Starbucks.
And to think, that was Cage just last Monday at Starbucks.

Based on the 2002 novel of the same name, the film centers on a con artist with multiple phobias whose world is turned upside down when he meets his 14-year-old daughter. The film earned rave reviews, but was ultimately a disappointment at the box office.

The film does such a fantastic job of engulfing audiences into the characters and focusing on their development versus the development of the con, it's an astonishing feat. There's never a dull moment, and the lead performance from Cage alone is an actually solid effort, delivering one of his most grounded and likable characters in his career.

Tony Scott — 'The Last Boy Scout'

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Stars: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Danielle Harris, Taylor Negron
  • Box Office: $59.5 million
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 44% from Critics, 68% from Audiences

Director Tony Scott was a major staple in the action genre prior to his death, delivering hits such as Top Gun. But the one film of his that received a lot of attention prior to release, and yet has gone under-appreciated since is the 1991 buddy action-comedy, The Last Boy Scout. The story centers around a down-on-his-luck private investigator and a former football star as they are dragged into a case involving an illegal gambling ring in the football industry.

Though the end result landed far from the original version of the script and saw a lot of edits, what was released was still a hell of a good time, delivering a funny, fast-paced, skillfully directed thriller that featured great comic chemistry between Willis and Wayans. Even still, the film didn't see great success at the box office and earned mixed reviews, becoming a cult classic upon home release, but still becoming Scott's most underrated picture.

Louis Leterrier — 'The Incredible Hulk'

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Stars: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt
  • Box Office: $263.4 million ($134.8 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 67% from Critics, 71% from Audiences

One of the few French directors whose films have had a lasting impact on American audiences, Louis Leterrier is a skilled director in the action film genre, delivering slick hits including The Transporter and Now You See Me. It would be Leterrier's first American movie, however, that would be his most underrated gem: The Incredible Hulk.

Following the lukewarm reception of Ang Lee's Hulk in 2003, Marvel bought the character's rights back and structured a loose sequel in 2008 that fit in to their burgeoning Cinematic Universe, rewriting the backstory for Banner. While the script still needed some work, it was overall a much better film than its predecessor, featuring a better actor in the lead role, stylish action and stellar visual effects.

Peter Jackson — 'The Frighteners'

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Stars: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Chi McBride, Jeffrey Combs
  • Box Office: $29.3 million ($16.8 million domestic)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 64% from Critics, 71% from Audiences

While currently known for bringing the Lord of the Rings series to the big screen, Peter Jackson initially rose to fame thanks to his work in the horror comedy genre, one of which is still his most underrated picture to date: The Frighteners.

The story centers around Frank Bannister, a former architect who now acts as his sleepy midwest town's resident ghost exorcist, as he fights against an evil spirit seemingly killing people at random. The tone did have a hard time in moments blending comedy and horror, but overall, it was such a fun and unique story told with insanely stylish direction, skillful visual effects and great performances from its cast, especially lead Michael J. Fox.

What do you think are underrated gems? Do you agree with the movies on this list? Let us know in the comments below!


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