A few Hollywood films released in 2023 may not have received their due recognition despite showcasing compelling stories. Here are some for you to binge-watch
List hai toh hit hai
2023 has been a year for excellent films. The pop culture influence of Barbenheimer cannot be understated and may have set the tone for a new era in Hollywood. However, a few films may not have received their due recognition despite showcasing compelling stories. For today’s List Hai Toh Hit Hai podcast, we have curated a list of the most underrated Hollywood films of 2023.
True Spirit - Netflix
Australian actress Teagan Croft slips into the role of Jessica Watson in the biographical drama film, True Spirit. The film tells the incredible true story of 16-year-old Watson who became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe on her own without any stops along the way. The film explores the Australian media coverage of Watson’s solo sailing expedition and the near-insurmountable obstacles she had to overcome. It is based on the eponymous memoir of Watson released in 2010. The film also features incredible performances by Anna Paquin and Cliff Curtis, and it explores themes of existentialism, adventure, isolation, and self-discovery.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves - Prime Video
The year was not short of films and TV shows featuring fantasy, science fiction and adventure. However, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves may have gone under the radar since its release earlier this year. This is unfortunate considering that the film offers just the right mix of humour, action, adventure, and drama. Based on the iconic board game, Dungeons & Dragons, the film stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Sophia Lillis, Regé -Jean Page, and Hugh Grant among others. Helmed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the film failed to live up to expectations at the box office. Despite its relative failure, the film received plaudits from fans and critics alike.
Blue Beetle - Amazon Prime Video rental
2023 has been a reality check for superhero films, with even the Marvel films being affected by the much-prophesied ‘superhero fatigue’. However, DC’s Blue Beetle can be considered among the very few well-received superhero releases over the last few years. While it only succeeded in a modest box-office run, it has become widely popular on streaming platforms across the globe. The film’s heartwarming tale set around Latin American culture in the US, coupled with scintillating action and well-placed humour turned it into a surprisingly well-rounded film.
Gran Turismo - Netflix
The biographical sports drama Gran Turismo tells the incredible story of Jann Mardenborough, an Esports enthusiast turned real-life motorsport racer. The film is helmed by Neill Blomkamp, who is best known for directing the acclaimed sci-fi drama, District 9. The film stars Archie Madekwe in the lead as Jann Mardenborough with supporting roles played by David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Djimon Hounsou and Geri Halliwell Horner. The film was surprisingly met with just a lukewarm reception by critics but has since become a fan-favourite thanks to its fast-paced story and heartwarming sequences.
The Burial - Prime Video
A gripping courtroom starring Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx should have received much greater recognition than it did. The Prime Video original film The Burial, directed by Maggie Betts, is based on the true story of charismatic personal injury lawyer Willie E. Gary, as he defends a funeral home director Jeremiah Joseph O'Keefe. Gary goes up against a multibillion corporation who are attempting a hostile takeover of O’Keefe's business through unethical means. The film features riveting performances by its lead star and a nuanced exploration of race and unethical corporate practices in the US.
Totally Killer - Prime Video
The Prime Video original film, directed by Nahnatchka Khan, is a homage as well as a critique of the 1980s. The story is set 35 years after a series of brutal murders of three teenage girls in a small town. The killer returns to finish the job and kills the fourth teenager who managed to escape his wrath the last time. The fourth victim’s daughter, Jamie, played by Kiernan Shipka of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is inexplicably sent back in time to the 1980s where she meets a younger version of her mother and her three friends before they were murdered. This presents her with the opportunity to save not only her mother but also her friends. Julia Bowen, Olivia Holt, Randall Park, and Lochlyn Munro among others essay prominent roles.
Maggie Moore(s) - OTTplay Premium
Veteran actors, Jon Hamm and Tina Fey star alongside Ted Lasso star Nick Mohammed in the black comedy crime drama, Maggie Moore(s). Directed by John Slattery, this film is inspired by Coen brothers films such as Fargo. The plot revolves around the murders of two women with the same name, Maggie Moore, and the series of unfortunate incidents that lead up to the murders. Hamm essays the role of the town sheriff who is investigating these murders. The film’s dry humour and gripping narrative make it an intriguing watch.
Leave the World Behind - Netflix
Based on Rumaan Alam's 2020 novel, Leave the World Behind boasts a cast which includes Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha'la, and Kevin Bacon. It tells the gripping tale of a family's vacation unravelling in the face of unforeseen news. The Sam Esmail directorial subverts its genre from psychological thriller to dystopian sci-fi as the narrative methodically unravels the plot. While the film’s ending may have been divisive, it is certainly a thought-provoking exploration into several philosophical themes such as nihilism, existentialism, racism, and isolation.
Quiz Lady - Disney+ Hotstar
The Jessica Yu directorial, Quiz Lady stars veteran actress Sandra Oh and Awkwafina in lead roles. The plot follows Awkwafina’s Anne, a quiz show-obsessed young woman, and her free-spirited and reckless elder sister, Jenny, played by Oh. The siblings embark on a mission to clear their mother’s gambling debts by attempting to win the prize money on a popular trivia-based game show. The film garnered praise for its heartfelt narrative and its well-executed humour. While it does feature a few inconsistencies, the film’s positives clearly outweigh its negligible drawbacks.
You Hurt My Feelings - Amazon Prime Video rental
Multiple Emmy Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus essays the role of Beth in the drama film, You Hurt My Feelings. Directed by Nicole Holofcenter, the plot revolves around Beth, a successful creative writing teacher who is on the cusp of publishing her first novel. However, discovering that her husband, Don, secretly dislikes her novel creates a rift in their marriage. The film received praise for its wit and humour and is surely an underrated gem of 2023.
Well that's the end of this episode of List hai toh hit hai, I will see you in the next one, until then its your host Nikhil signing out.
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Written by Ryan Gomez