When talking about underrated franchises, the Jason Bourne films might be at the top of the list. They don’t have the profile of James Bond or the MCU, but with a fifth entry on the way, they established a reasonably high standard of quality that belies their airport paperback originals. Credit for that goes both to directors like Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass, and to star Matt Damon, who is clearly indispensable to the entire affair. Liman’s inaugural effort, The Bourne Identity, opened today in 2002.
Similarly, John Huston’s Prizzi’s Honor never quite seems to find a place in the ranks of the greatest gangster films of all time. But it remains a grand effort from one of Hollywood’s true masters, aided by amazing turns from Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and Anjelica Huston, John’s daughter, who won a richly deserved Oscar for her work here. It opened today in 1985.
Finally, if you’re in the mood for black comedies, take a gander at Kind Hearts and Coronets, one of Britain’s famous Ealing comedies and possibly their very best. Decades before Eddie Murphy, Alec Guinness dazzled audiences by playing eight separate members of a noble family who stand between one scheming young man and the inheritance he feels he’s entitled to. What’s one to do except to start bumping off Alecs? Kind Hearts and Coronets opened in the U.S. today in 1950.