We are more than halfway through 2023, meaning it’s time to take stock of the year in film. After a slow start, the box office ignited with the release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie in April. Blockbuster season has provided hits like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Fast X, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Plus, Barbie and Oppenheimer have dominated the summer months.
Despite the string of hits, many movies have gone under the radar in 2023. Don’t let the low box office numbers or a lack of promotion fool you. These are good movies that could wind up on “best of” lists at the end of the year. From the rise and fall of a smartphone company to an environmental-action thriller, these are three underrated movies from 2023.
Before the iPhone was the BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone known for its keyboard and exclusive messaging system. The spectacular rise and fall of the phone company is chronicled in Matt Johnson’s comedy-drama BlackBerry. In 1996, Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and Doug Fregin (Johnson) of Research in Motion (RIM) created a revolutionary smartphone. No one was interested until Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton) joined the company as the co-CEO.
With the fiery Balsillie in charge, RIM becomes BlackBerry, and the company soars to immense popularity. However, the chaos behind the scenes would be its downfall. Baruchel and Johnson are terrific, but Howerton’s portrayal of the explosive, in-your-face CEO steals the movie.
Rent Blackberry on Prime Video.
It was only a matter of time before movies explored the COVID-19 pandemic. However, most of the COVID storylines weaved into plots have been ineffective. They feel unrealistic, and many people do not want to revisit this moment in time. Yet, Sick is one of the few films to accurately capture the early days of the pandemic. Strapped with masks and plenty of Lysol, Parker (Gideon Adlon) and her best friend Miri (Beth Million) decide to spend quarantine at her family’s lake house.
As it turns out, they are not alone, as their arrival is shared by a masked killer. Sick uses the secluded location to its advantage as the killer uses the lake house as his murderous playground. Sick is the COVID-19 version of Scream thanks to its witty dialogue (co-written by Scream’s Kevin Williamson), self-aware characters, and slasher storyline.
Stream Sick on Peacock.
Based on Andreas Malm’s 2021 book of the same name, How to Blow Up a Pipeline brings viewers into the world of eco-terrorism. Fed up with the lack of progress to fix the climate crisis, a group of young environmental activists plot to blow up an oil pipeline in Texas. The film paints a sympathetic view into the lives of the eco-terrorists, taking time to explain their actions and what led them to act drastically.
The politics of the film and societal issues will be polarizing to many as the audience is forced to debate the morality of an illegal measure, like blowing up a pipeline. Politics aside, How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a fast, edge-of-your-seat thriller that channels the spirit of a heist film.
Rent How to Blow Up a Pipeline on YouTube.
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