15 Overlooked Movie Gems People Insist You Need To Watch

knight and day

There are too many movies that aren't appreciated or given the chance they deserve. Movie fans on a popular online forum discussed underrated or overlooked films that are worth checking out. Here are 15 overlooked movies you shouldn't miss out on.

1. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

miss pettigrew lives for a day
Image Credit: Focus Features.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a pristine example of a little gem of a movie that is very under-appreciated. Set during the onset of WWII in London, the story follows Miss Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), a widow unceremoniously fired from her job and on the brink of desperation. She sneakily takes a job meant for someone else as social secretary for socialite Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). Thus begins a non-stop, madcap day as Miss Pettigrew helps the sweet but flighty Delysia through her day of juggling three men, attending a fashion show, and throwing a cocktail party.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day is a light and breezy film that feels like a glass of pink champagne. But there are also touching and poignant moments that drive home the message of following one's heart and seizing the day. This superb film co-stars Lee Pace, Ciarán Hinds, and Mark Strong.

2. Stardust (2007)

Claire Danes and Charlie Cox in Stardust (2007)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Stardust is a romantic and effervescent fantasy film that deserves more praise. The plot centers on a sweet man named Tristan who wants to prove his love for the town's beauty by retrieving a fallen star from a bordering magical realm. But this task is not easy.

Tristan must contend with others seeking this star, including evil witches and corrupt princes. And the most significant obstacle beyond those threats is that the fallen star is actually a woman named Yvaine, who is feisty, self-assured, and refuses to be treated shabbily.

As Yvaine and Tristan evade capture, we see that love is much more complicated than either knew. Stardust is a beautiful and funny film that glows as brightly as the star herself and bolsters an impressive cast that includes Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, Peter O'Toole, Henry Cavill, and Rupert Everett.

3. Airplane! (1980)

Airplane! Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Graves
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Airplane! is the film that began what I call Leslie Nielsen's second career as the lead of wacky parody comedies. And this film is indeed as silly as they come. A take-off of the movie Airport, the plot of Airplane! involves nearly everyone on a flight falling ill, including the pilots. And it's up to a doctor (Nielsen) and former fighter pilot (Robert Hays) to save the day.

Airplane! is not mentioned as often as similar comedies. Still, it's side-splitting hilarious, with sight gags galore and deadpan live delivery. Parody films are not for everyone, but if you enjoy them, it's impossible not to laugh at this 1980s classic.

4. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

sky captain and the world of tomorrow
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a movie that pays homage to classic serials and adventure films of the 1930s and 40s but in a unique and revolutionary way. The story follows a spirited reporter, Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), who stumbles upon a plot involving disappearing scientists and giant robots. Reuniting with her former flame, pilot Joe Sullivan (Jude Law), the two embark on a dangerous mission of cataclysmic heights.

Sky Captain is such a creative film because its look results from an almost entirely computer-generated world. These effects give the movie a richness and unique quality. Moreover, the cheeky and old-fashioned tone gives the film charm and appeal. This nostalgic movie also stars Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, and Michael Gambon.

5. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

bend it like beckham
Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

Bend It Like Beckham is a funny and inspiring British film following an Indian girl ready to enter university who cares more about playing football or soccer than Americans. Being from a very traditional family, Jess (Parminder Nagra) hides her playing with a local team with the help of her new friend Jules (Keira Knightley) and develops feelings for her Irish coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).

Bend It Like Beckham is a very uplifting film that deserves much more praise. The performances are terrific. And the story is fun and poignant as it explores cultural expectations and clashes with authenticity, humor, and heart.

6. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

arsenic and old lace 1
Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Director Frank Capra collaborates with actor Cary Grant for this zany, dark comedy. The plot is outlandish, which makes it all the more enjoyable. On the eve of his wedding, a famous writer named Mortimer Brewster visits his two elderly aunts, discovering their minds and logic aren't quite right. And that is because they have been poisoning older men, thinking they're being merciful.

Add in a cousin who believes he's Theodore Roosevelt and a sadistic brother who's escaped prison and his reasonably impatient new wife, and Mortimer has his hands full.

Arsenic and Old Lace is a classic madcap comedy with one of Grant's funniest performances. The film superbly blends absurdity with drama and romance into a truly underrated classic.

7. Gifted (2017)

gifted
Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

While Chris Evans is primarily known for playing Steve Rogers/Captain America in the Marvel films, he's made some other beautiful gems that deserve more attention. In Gifted, Evans plays Frank, a man struggling to care for his niece Mary (McKenna Grace) properly. This struggle increases when Mary's teacher realizes she is a prodigy. Frank must then go against his mother in a fierce custody battle.

Gifted is a lovely and heartfelt story about the importance of choice and the preciousness of childhood. It also showcases a beautiful relationship between an uncle and niece with sweet and moving performances from Grace and Evans. This tender movie also stars Octavia Spencer, Lindsay Duncan, and Jenny Slate.

8. Summer Stock (1950)

summer stock
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Summer Stock is a film that was my gateway into the world of classic cinema. And it's a movie that lovers of musical comedies should give a chance. Those familiar with stars Gene Kelly and Judy Garland likely know Singin' in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz but may not know 1950s Summer Stock. This story is about two sisters, Jane and Abby, musical director Joe, and a theater troupe that takes up residence on their farm, preparing to put on a new show.

The humor is witty, the songs and dance sequences are lively and creative, and the magnetic chemistry between Kelly and Garland makes Summer Stock a fun-filled delight.

9. Knight and Day (2010)

knight and day
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, Knight and Day is a highly underrated action-comedy that never got the attention or praise it deserves. Filled with twists, turns, intensity, and over-the-top action, Cruise and Diaz demonstrate how opposites attract as he drags her into his spy world of deception, car chases, and island refuges.

This is one of those high-octane types of films, but it also adds healthy doses of humor. The chemistry between Cruise and Diaz is genuinely funny because it's often tender and sweet juxtaposed against the danger surrounding them. Knight and Day is a terrific comedic thriller that deserves another chance to shine.

10. How Do You Know (2010)

how do you know
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

How Do You Know is a thoughtful, sweet, and funny film written and directed by the legendary James L. Brooks. It stars Paul Rudd as George, a man potentially facing prison because of his father's (Jack Nicholson) dishonest business dealings. Of course, this comes at the most inopportune time because he's finally met a woman he feels an instant connection with — Lisa (Reese Witherspoon).

Lisa is also at a crossroads in her life, searching for a new path after not making the Olympic softball team and becoming involved with a charming but sometimes thoughtless baseball player (Owen Wilson).

This romantic comedy came and went upon release with little notice. It's slow-paced, but this allows the characters to breathe and grow naturally. The rapport between them all is so genuine, with each bringing so much warmth to their roles. What's most lovely about How Do You Know is that it shows the magical mystery of love and finding the person who lets you be completely yourself.

11. Sun Dogs (2017)

sun dogs
Image Credit: Netflix.

Sun Dogs is a little-known film but a profoundly touching and sensitive one. The story follows Ned, a simple man who wants to join the military in the aftermath of September 11th. With the help of an equally lonely girl, he thinks he's uncovered a plot against the country. But things are not what they seem as Ned discovers how to be the hero he longs to be.

Sun Dogs features nuanced and moving performances from Michael Angarano and Melissa Benoist and fantastic direction from first-time director Jennifer Morrison. Sun Dogs is unexpected in its emotion but delivers beautifully. This film also stars Ed O'Neill, Allison Janney, and Xzibit.

12. The Game Plan (2007)

the game plan
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

It is typically a great time when Dwayne Johnson stars in family-friendly movies, but The Game Plan is often overlooked. It tells the story of a football player and the daughter he never knew he had, who enters his life and turns it upside down.

While there is nothing particularly groundbreaking about The Game Plan, sometimes we want a nice, gentle, and heartwarming film to provide us with laughs and those warm and fuzzy feelings. This film delivers on all accounts with terrific performances and some unexpected twists. It's a real winner.

13. Fly Away Home (1996)

fly away home
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Fly Away Home is a really touching story about what it's like to grieve and find a home in a place you've never been before. In the movie, Amy has just lost her mom in a tragic car accident in New Zealand. She's then sent off to live with her dad, who lives in Canada.

While trying to process everything about her new life, she finds a nest of abandoned goose eggs. She tries to save them and when the eggs hatch, the little birds imprint on her and she starts taking care of them. The real problem, and the true bonding moment between Amy and her dad, is when they need to find a way to teach the little birds how to migrate south for the winter. It's a wonderful story that will melt your heart a little.

14. Raising Arizona (1987)

Raising Arizona 20th Century
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

This early Nicolas Cage movie is a funny film about family and what it takes to become one. A couple, comprised of a former criminal and a former cop, decide the years of being an outlaw (and chasing outlaws) are far behind them. They're actually ready to start a family, but when that proves harder than they thought, old habits die hard when they kidnap a baby from a local family who just had quintuplets. 

15. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)

nick and norah
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

Nick (Michael Cera) is going through a breakup and he's not taking it well, especially when his ex comes to his band's show with a new guy. Norah (Kat Dennings) is on the brink of going to college, looking for one more adventure in New York City. When the two use each other to pretend they are each other's new significant other, it sets off a series of wild adventures the two weren't expecting to get into when they left for the city that night.

Source: Reddit.

Author: Marianne Paluso

Title: Writer

Expertise: Entertainment, Travel, Books

Bio:

Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature from San Diego State University. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture and geek related, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency, Christianity Today, and The La Jolla Light. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disney bound, cosplay, and YouTube video. She resides in San Diego, California.