Friday Fives: The Top Five Underrated Movies That Will Preach

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of something being under-rated. It means that something has achieved a level of greatness that is generally not recognized in accordance with that greatness by the public or those in the recognition business.

For instance, I think Susan Ashton is a dramatically under-rated Christian singer but I also think the same about Casting Crowns. Relatively few know Susan Ashton but I believe she is a powerful vocal interpreter and performer. Many know Casting Crowns but I think the band is even greater in terms of Biblical songwriting and performing than the recognition they receive, which is admittedly significant. Thus, the characterization as  “underrated.”

Persons such as Dennis Ritchie, Billy SundayStan MusialAnn Graham Lotz, Ann Voskamp, Barry Sanders, and Mavis Staples, are all underrated in my view, although most are known on some level.

And, of course, any smart study of “the underrated” must always have 1 Samuel 16:7b in mind: God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart.”

With that as introduction, this Friday Five begins a series that will carry on over the next months, Lord willing, looking at the under-rated. Today, The Top Five Underrated Movies That Will Preach. (Please note, while all five are rated PG-13 or PG, I wouldn’t recommend any of them for young children.)

5. The Prestige

The Year: 2006
The Details: A Christopher Nolan movie based on the novel by Christopher Priest, The Prestige is the story of two magicians who were once friends but become enemies when one blames the other for the death of an assistant. A life-or-death rivalry is begun to find the ultimate illusion. Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine star in an expertly crafted story with, of course, a twist ending. It received just average reviews and largely disappointed at the box office. That makes it one of the top five most underrated.
The Biblical Message: Obsession with anything leads to destruction and pride goes before a fall.

4. Galaxy Quest

The Year: 1999
The Details: What if the cast of Star Trek had to actually fight real aliens in a real alien space battle? That’s the implied question behind this very funny and engaging movie. Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver are lead actors in a cheesy TV space drama whom under-siege space aliens – who have picked up their show’s signal off the satellite – believe can save them. It’s legitimately funny and well acted, although it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Thus its place on this Friday Five’s edition.
The Biblical Message: Hard reality doesn’t have to mean hopelessness.

3. Cast Away

The Year: 2000
The Details: Tom Hanks plays a FedEX executive who is obsessed with the famous FedEx speed of delivery and management of time. He survives a plane crash at sea and spends the next four years alone on a deserted island. Hanks was nominated for several awards for the film, including the Academy Award for best actor. He didn’t win the oscar and didn’t win as many awards as he deserved. With Saving Private Ryan, this is his best film. Totalfilm named this as one of its 20 most underrated movies of all time. Agreed.
The Biblical Message: The things that really matter should be the things that really matter.

2. My Dog Skip

The Year: 2000
The Details: The story of Willie Morris and based on the writer’s book, My Dog Skip features Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane and Frankie Muniz in the story of growing up in Mississippi in the 1940’s. If you watch it, you will cry. I often tell women in my classes that if you want to know what it’s like to grow into manhood in America, this film is a surprisingly poignant look. It’s both underrated and under-appreciated.
The Biblical Message: It’s the tough times that grow us.

1. Facing The Giants

The Year: 2006
The Details: One of Alex Kendrick’s (CourageousFireproof) films, it’s the story of a high school football coach who overcomes only when he determines to put God at the center of everything in his life, including his football team. Based on a study of film reviews and audience response, this was recently named the most underrated film of the last 10 years.
The Biblical Message: Make the pursuit of the Lord’s will your everything and He will honor you by allowing you to know Him.