10 Movies Smarter Than Anyone Wants To Admit

These movies look dumb on the surface, but are smarter than anyone wants to cop to.

Total Recall Arnie
TriStar Pictures

Tom Stoppard once said that audiences know what to expect, and that's all they're prepared to believe. The man couldn't have been more right, as anyone who's heard the various excuses why certain films aren't allowed into award ceremonies will tell you. Spiderverse losing to Green Book should go down in history as one of the all time Oscar blunders, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise!

Intelligence can be found anywhere, even in films that seem dumb on the surface. Whether it's because they have some deeper meaning hidden underneath, or just because they do what they set out to do better than anyone else in their field, there are a lot of different ways that movies can be smart.

From action films with more intellectual layers than most give them credit for, to overlooked gems that simply need to be seen to be appreciated, these are the movies that don't get the credit they deserve.

10. Godzilla (2014)

Total Recall Arnie
Warner Bros

When Warner Bros' reboot of the Godzilla franchise first hit theaters in 2014, people were divided purely on the amount of Godzilla in their Godzilla movie. Add onto that the rather boring nature of the characters the movie had take up the screentime instead, and you have a film bound to divide audiences.

But if you look past the chronic lack of Godzilla, you find a movie packed to the brim with genuinely good suspense and a near constant sense of dread that's masterfully built throughout the narrative of the film. And believe it or not, it does this purely through not showing Godzilla as much as most audiences feel they should've.

By showing just enough of the big lizard bastard so that you know that he's there, but not too much so that you know what he's up to, the movie gives you this constant sense of unease. Wondering what side of the moral spectrum Godzilla is going to fall on by the end of it. Will we have three monsters to deal with, or will they fight it out for dominance.

Obviously we got an answer to that, but the film was very good at making one wonder until they were ready to properly answer it.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?