Monday, April 4, 2016

ANNOUNCING: The Undies 2015 Preliminary Winners!

Wow, chickadees. After almost two months of frantic movie watching, arguing, and me constantly reminding you on twitter, you all sent in your votes for this year's Undies Awards, and I can confidently say that this is a super interesting combination of movies. 

And now that we know the top five, the five movies that you guys decided were the best underappreciated films of their respective categories, we can get started on the real project:

It's time to whittle these down and pick the overall winner!

Votes for the Best Overall category are due by April 18 - let me know if you plan to be a voter in the final round and I'll help you make sure you can get all the movies in time. For now, however, let's appreciate the winners from their respective categories. Well done, all! Lots of applause.

Big Budget: Cinderella

While other films were more experimental and inventive (like Jupiter Ascending) or more classically appealing (like Man from UNCLE which took a close second place finish), Cinderella won this round for being supremely well told and surprisingly refreshing. Critics couldn't stand it and audiences were only meh about it, but Cinderella is a great movie that is honest and earnest, which might explain why it ended up on the underappreciated list.

Mid-Range: Chi-Raq

Chi-Raq is far from the easiest or simplest movie in its category, but it managed to beat out big fan favorites like Straight Outta Compton and Sicario by virtue of its unexpectedness. When it comes down to it, Chi-Raq is a movie trying to tell a very different story in a very different way, and as a result no one really knew what to do with it when it came out. While some characterized it as "uneven" or "confusing", they also said that it's the most interesting movie in its category, which apparently counts for a lot.

Micro Budget: Dope

It seriously came down to the wire here, but in the end, Dope won out over Advantageous by a very narrow lead, primarily because of its ability to use humor to get at deep emotional truths. Not trying for a particularly profound story but still managing it anyway, the narrative in Dope takes a familiar high school coming of age story and flips it on its head by examining class and race divides while just making a really fun movie.

Foreign Language: Dum Laga Ke Haisha

Other movies in this category might be flashier, higher concept, or buzzier, but ultimately Dum Laga Ke Haisha seems to have won because you all appreciated its emotional honesty. It's not a particularly complicated story or reinventing the wheel here, but it is a story we've not often heard from a country that's easily stereotyped by American culture. So there's that.

Animated: Home

Also a close race, Home beat out its closest competitor, The Monkey King, largely because it's a concept that we rarely see in film, let alone in children's film. While The Monkey King tells a cleaner and more easily digestible narrative, Home gives us a slightly uneven and bumpy exploration of deeper topics like colonialism and imperialism and cowardice.

These are your 2015 Undies, my friends! Appreciate them, watch them, and spread the word. Like I said above, anyone is welcome to watch these movies and tell me which is the best by April 18, at which point we will determine which movie is hands down the best underappreciated film from 2015. I think it's going to be a pretty interesting race.