Fall and winter mean one thing to me: movies! Every year my friends and I create a poster of all the movies we want to see and cross them off once we’ve seen them. Then in January and February we compete to see who can predict the winners of the Oscars, Golden Globes and SAG awards. Not to brag, but I usually win.
In spite of my winning streak I rarely agree with what films win (or even get nominated), so I thought I would share some underrated films I really enjoyed this year!
By far, my favorite film of the year is Mommy. The French-Canadian film was directed by the remarkable Xavier Dolan. While it definitely has very dark undertones, the characters are completely unlike any others I’ve seen on film before. The cinematography is so sumptuous I could watch the film on silent and still be mesmerized. But don’t do that because the Dolan’s use of music is phenomenal! Don’t miss the montage towards the end of the film- it is one of my favorite film sequences I’ve seen.
Inherent Vice is a bumbling, hazy film that confuses its characters as much as it confused me. Even though it has a pretty long run time, once you’ve settled in you feel like you are an accomplice to the film’s antics. Paul Thomas Anderson, the film’s director, has an incredible way of subtly hypnotizing you into experiencing the same things as his characters. The colorful cast is peculiar, often times offensive and strangely loveable. The plot is almost indiscernible which usually is frustrating, but in this case it’s more about the experience than the destination.
If you still have a hankering for a scary movie after Halloween, check out It Follows. The film’s premise and soundtrack evoke classic horror films from the 70s and play with tons of classic horror film tropes. I loved a lot about this film but one of my favorite aspects of it is the sense of timelessness it creates. The design is nostalgic and futuristic at the same time. It has a creeping, oozing feel that might not seem super scary at the time, but will make you look twice if someone is following you on the street.
Amy is a documentary about Amy Winehouse and is an indictment of the media’s (and media viewers’) schadenfreude. This film really reminds its audience what an incredible talent she was and how our culture’s obsession with sensationalism led to Amy’s downfall. Something I really liked about this film is that although the filmmakers interviewed Amy’s family and friends, they only use the audio tracks from their interviews and use footage of Amy to keep her at the forefront of the film. I appreciate the opportunity for audiences to see Amy’s talent, and not to just see her as a punchline.
A Most Violent Year got a little traction during awards season last year, but in my opinion not nearly enough. The best films transport you right out of the theater and this one really brings 1980’s New York City to life, and not just in design but in the aura and essence of the film. The slow burning plot really sizzles so by the end an explosion feels imminent. This film thoughtfully explores the “American Dream” in a time when it started to evolve into something new.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is a weird, quiet film based on an urban legend. A Japanese woman believes the Cohen brothers’ 1996 film Fargo to be true and travels to Minnesota to find the lost money from the film. The gloom and greyness of the film is very unsettling and the filmmakers really give depth and humanity to the story. Rinko Kikuchi is incredible as Kumiko, and her loneliness is absolutely palpable. The color and art direction make everything pop and truly shows the liveliness of the film’s world.
Dope is pure joy with a little social commentary on the side. It follows a nerdy, whip-smart high schooler as he accidentally gets pulled into the Southern California drug trade. The quick comedy comes with a side of nostalgia for adolescence. It also has a subtle social commentary reminiscent of early Spike Lee films like Do The RIght Thing. This is the kind of film that makes you want to be back in high school again!
I’m sure this list will change in the upcoming months. I’ll keep you updated!
My name is Nic Morden and I am a member service representative at the Wallingford branch and an intern with the marketing department. I started with Verity in early 2015 and although I am new to the credit union industry, it feels like a great fit! I graduated from the University of Washington in 2012 with a degree in theater and in my spare time I am a managing producer and actor at my theater company, The Horse in Motion. My theater company particularly focuses on experimental processes and spaces to deconstruct classic works of theater. I find the combination of working full time at Verity during the day and creating theater in the evenings to be surprisingly complementary and incredibly fulfilling. I also love seeing films, jogging and spending time with my roommates in whatever time I have left.