This time of year brings many thoughts: What gifts to buy the little ones, which charity to send that much-needed contribution to, which Hindu god to blame for once again cursing the New York Jets. It also makes us think of all the great movies this year that no one else seemed to think were great movies, or notice much at all.
Enter our third-annual "Underappreciated" poll, in which we survey the moviedom masses to determine which great films deserved a lot more recognition than they received. (Last year’s winner was the Nazi-hunting picture "The Debt," which many readers felt wasn't given its due for its fine performances and keen sense of suspense.)
After a quick survey of the Los Angeles Times film staff, we've whittled the field to a manageable number of films and their virtues: the hard-bitten police drama of "End of Watch," the endearing time travel of “Safety Not Guaranteed," the quirky character comedy of "Bernie," the dystopian action of "Dredd," the sly, substantive romance of "Ruby Sparks" and the stop-motion horror of "ParaNorman."
And it would be unfair not to include the oft-pilloried "Cloud Atlas," if only because Tom Hanks' Cockney gangster may haunt our dreams if we don't.