Monday, March 17, 2008

Underrated and Overlooked

It seems to me many of the things – movies, actors, books, television – that interest me are those that have been underrated by the general public. I love to discover writers who may have been overlooked because some massively popular author was publishing at the same time, or perhaps a screenwriter or director whose smaller movie was similar to a blockbuster with big stars that got more attention.

Case in point: While I really enjoyed “Minority Report,” a giant film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, based on a Philip K. Dick story, another, smaller movie came out around the same time that was similar in tone and also based on a Dick short. It was called “The Impostor” and it starred Gary Sinise, directed by Gary Fleder. A wonderful film, possibly better told than the bigger film – tighter in its execution. But because it was released in early 2002, not long before “Report,” it was overshadowed and never got the acclaim it deserved.

Case in point: Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” was a major, MAJOR bestseller, spawning all sorts of film and book franchises, spin-offs and heck, possibly action figures, who knows…but fifteen years earlier, the Italian writer Umberto Eco published a densely-packed novel titled “Foucault’s Pendulum” with many of the same themes and “codes.” It’s not an easy book to read, not like Brown’s page-turner, but it’s just as much of a mystery, far better-written and much more clever.

I’ve debated penning a blog that is devoted to the underrated and overlooked (for personal reasons, I must admit) but I’m willing to bet, just like everything on the internet, there are probably dozens of sites already up that deal with the same thing. Maybe I will…I seem to be moving in that direction on a personal level, if not necessarily a professional one (yet).