[With 2022 all wrapped up and we’ve had time to let the previous year sink in, it’s time for our fifth annual Golden Cages Awards! Over the next two weeks, the staff at Flixist will be announcing the winners in sixteen different categories that range from all different genres and categories before ultimately revealing what our best film of 2022 was. So sit back, relax, and come join us as we take one final look at 2022 and see the notable movies the year had to offer.]
Out of all of the categories that we do for the Golden Cages, Most Underrated is the one I am the most conflicted on. I love the concept of honoring a film that didn’t really get a lot of recognition when it was first released, but it’s such a personal decision when you think about it. Something that you may consider niche may be well known in a select group. On the same note, something that you think everyone is aware of is actually an unknown entity that no one has ever even heard the name of.
It’s in this weird limbo that I find talking about The Menu so fascinating. When this darkly comedic thriller was first released in November, it did fairly well with critics but didn’t really light the world on fire. It wasn’t until it was released on HBO Max in January that it reached the audience it deserved and became, in my opinion, a hit. The comedy is on point, the social commentary is chillingly accurate, and the film is loaded with several brilliant moments that I won’t forget for a long time. It was easily one of my favorite movies of last year. But then that begs the question; if people began to acknowledge the film after its release and has been reappraised, does it still count as being underrated?
In my opinion, it most certainly does. The film launched one week after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which proceeded to dominate the box office for the better part of a month. It wasn’t until January, a notoriously dead month for new releases, that the film garnered the attention that it deserved. Personally, if a movie was overlooked upon its original release, then that counts as being underrated in my books. It did modestly at the box office, making $80 million globally on a $30 million budget, so it didn’t light the world on fire. It did well enough, but it deserved more. A movie like The Menu will always seem underrated in my eyes and years from now when audiences have forgotten about it, it’ll hopefully be remembered as a genre classic. So until then, The Menu will have to suffice with our prestigious Golden Cage for Most Underrated Movie of 2022.