10. Valkyrie (2008)
The story of the plot that nearly ended Hitler is one of the most underrated movies of the past decade. It’s nowhere near a masterpiece, but is very good and consistent from start to finish. The true telltale sign of the movie’s quality, as well as those of the ilk, is the ability to hold suspense even though most viewers already know the ending.
9. Jerry Maguire (1996)
This one’s not entirely a football or even a sports movie for that matter. The sidebar that is journeyman wide receiver, Rod Tidwell is crazy engaging though. So engaging that, Cuba Gooding Jr. was asking everyone to “show me the money” after this one. Oh jeez, I remember when everybody and their brother was throwing that phase around like air quotes. Oh the 1990’s…
8. Mission: Impossible (1996)
Before Tom Cruise was blowing up aquariums and helicopters, there was indeed a Mission: Impossible TV series…and it was quite dissimilar from the films decades later. Instead of the non-stop explosions and chase scenes, you had taut intrigue and drama. I really can’t think of a TV show that had a more intricate plot than Mission: Impossible. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out immediately.
7. The Firm (1993)
Lawyers are pretty sketchy anyways, but then add in a killer law firm angle and you’ve pretty much got the most horrible thing imaginable. Gene Hackman adds a comforting face to an otherwise terrifying character, making things much worse.
6. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s last feature film is both provocative and utterly haunting. Cruise and Kidman’s real-life romance makes this one even more significant. It’s nowhere near Kubrick’s best, but still a solid entry into a majestic canon.
5. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
This is not exactly the most patriotic entry on the countdown, but Ron Kovic’s frustrations are pretty understandable. Over the course of the movie, you go from a post-World War II utopia to the hell that was Vietnam. This is probably not the “feel good” affair you want to watch with the kids this weekend, but an important film, nonetheless.
4. Magnolia (1999)
Magnolia is one of those movies you either absolutely love…or absolutely hate. In my opinion, the film spends roughly two hours building up a masterpiece before tearing it down with a ridiculous ending. Yeah, yeah…I get the symbolism, but it still doesn’t work for me. The film is much more good than bad though, with an ensemble of actors turning in masterful performances.
3. Minority Report (2002)
This is another of Spielberg’s forgotten gems. Minority Report was a hybrid of old-time, plot driven sci-fi films and those of the last two decades, where non-stop action and special effects were the hallmarks. Like any good sci-fi movie, Minority Report is as much thought-provoking commentary on contemporary times, as it is look into the future. Tom Cruise is incredible in this one as well.
2. A Few Good Men (1992)
The military is a funky place, where disobedience is not really tolerated. That is what it is, but Jack Nicholson’s Jessup took it a bit too far in ordering the infamous “Code Red.” While it was debatable whether or not we could “handle the truth,” what was not, was how horrible it would be to have Jessup as a your boss.
1. Rain Man (1988)
Tom Cruise’s awesome performance has always been overshadowed by that of Dustin Hoffman in the title role. The fact of the matter is, that “Rain Man” wouldn’t nearly be the film it is without the incredible on-screen relationship between the two. The film is now a modern masterpiece and deserves all the adulation it gets.