There are a ton of movies set Texas, and not all of them are great. But there are definitely ones out there that are deserving of far more admiration.
To be considered for this list, at least part of the movie has to take place in Texas. Doesn't have to be shot in Texas, just needs to be set in state (Spoiler: 'The Longest Yard' remake makes the list, but was filmed in New Mexico.) And while some of the moves on this list may have been well received when they were first released, they have made the list for being seemingly forgotten since.
Right off, this list is an opinion only. Don't think a movie here warrants its accolade, let us know in the comments below!
'Sidekicks' (1992)Set in Houston
Before we had Chuck Norris jokes, Chuck Norris was a pretty decent action movie star. His career was the source of inspiration for the movie 'Sidekicks', about an outcast teen living in Houston who idolizes Norris and regularly daydreams he's his sidekick in movies. I've yet to meet a child of the 80s/90s who doesn't have fond memories of the movie, but its damn difficult to find now. The DVDs are out of print, and no blu ray or digital release seems to be on the horizon. Your best bet is to watch a VHS rip on YouTube.
'I Come in Peace' (1990)Set in Houston
Another Houston-based movie, this was released at a time when Dolph Lundgren was trying to follow in Sylvester Stallone's footsteps and become the next big action star. In 'I Come in Peace', Lundgren is a Houston detective whose attempts to take down a drug lord are side tracked by an alien drug dealer who is killing humans to harvest their adrenaline.
This movie regularly shows up on lists of the worst 90s movies, but has developed a cult following and is slowing earning its place as a go-to cheesy movie to watch for a good time. While it is available for purchase on Blu Ray, you're also able to see it on YouTube.
'Fanboys' (2009)Scene set in Austin
Leading up to the release of 'The Phantom Menace', a group of childhood friends decide to travel cross country to steal a print of the film from George Lucas, otherwise their friend dying of cancer will not live long enough to see it. On their trip they stop off in Austin and end up meeting critic Harry Knowles who helps them gain access to Skywalker Ranch.
'Fanboys' had a difficult release, with the production company insisting they filmmakers cut out the cancer subplot. The subplot was kept in, but the film had a limited release and failed to make its money back at the box office. However, the movie has become a cult classic and has inspired real-life instances of dying fans petitioning to see the upcoming Star Wars movie before its release.
'Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay' (2008)Part set in Texas
Following immediately after their run to White Castle, Harold & Kumar are on their way to Amsterdam when they're mistaken for terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay. After escaping, Harold and Kumar try making their way to Texas to clear their names and stop Kumar's ex from getting married.
The Harold & Kumar series has become the modern day Cheech & Chong, but not all of it is remembered fondly, with their White Castle and Christmas adventures completely overshadowing this one. However, its still very funny, holds the same tone as the other films, and the DVD/Blu Ray release even gives you alternate scenes at points where you can choose what Harold and Kumar do.
'The Longest Yard' (2005)Set in Texas
After violating his probation, disgraced NFL star Paul Crewe is sent to a prison in the middle of the Texas desert. The prison's warden has aspirations of being elected governor, and believes Crewe forming a football team of fellow inmates for a game against the guards will be the right kind of publicity he needs.
Unfortunately, the movie stars Adam Sandler, so its easy to overlook and cast aside. But its actually one of Sandler's better films as he's playing a relatable character and not relying on the lazy humor that's plagued his career as of late. Add in a supporting cast of hilarious former wrestlers and football players along with the iconic Burt Reynolds and you have a remake that really lives up to its original.
'Necessary Roughness' (1991)Set in Texas
After their championship team is disgraced and expelled, the Texas State armadillos are forces to recruit from their existing student body while the new dean looks to completely eliminate the football program from the school. To help the team of misfits, a new quarterback is recruited who was once a promising star, but is now 10 years older than any senior at the school.
This is definitely a movie that was appreciated, but the appreciation seems to have dissipated over the years. It did for football what 'Major League' did for baseball, and is something that is rather timeless and could be enjoyed all over by a new audience today if it didn't vanish into DVD obscurity like it has.
'The New Guy' (2002)Set in Austin
Dizzy has reluctantly accepted his role as the biggest loser in his school. But after an incident with his new medication lands him in prison, he learns what it takes to reinvent himself. Dizzy then plans to switch schools to get a fresh start as the rule-breaking bad boy "Gil".
After a decade of successful teen comedies in the 90s, 'The New Guy' just didn't have what it took to be held in the same kind of esteem as something like 'American Pie', but that doesn't mean it isn't a fun watch. The movie was a financial success, but just didn't have the critical acclaim to push it further into the public eye. But DJ Qualls actually does a great job carrying a movie in his first leading role, believably portraying the geek who finally gets everything he's wanted in wide popularity and the prettiest girl in school.
'Miss Congeniality' (2000)Set in San Antonio
After discovering a terror threat on the Miss USA pageant in San Antonio, FBI agent Gracie Hart is forced to undergo a complete makeover to go undercover as Miss New Jersey, tracking down the mad bomber while making sure she doesn't slip up and blow her cover.
Some might argue that this isn't an underappreciated film, but in this writer's opinion, it should be held in the same regard as Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning turn in 'The Blind Side'. Instead, its fallen out of the public mind and has become one of those movies you come across on cable and think, "Oh yeah! I forgot about this movie!". A terribly sequel didn't help its position either.
'Bubba Ho-Tep' (2002)Set in East Texas
For this, let's just rehash what we said in our post about the Best Horror Movies Set in Texas:
Elvis didn't die. At the height of his fame, the King wanted to get away from the pressures of his life and switched places with an Elvis impersonator who had a drug habit and an affinity for pie. While the impersonator got fat and died, the real Elvis made a living as an impersonator. Now in the twilight of his life, he spends his days living at a Texas retirement home. With his best-friend Jack, a black man who swears he's really JFK with dyed skin to keep him hidden, Elvis must fight a cowboy zombie who targets old people and sucks their soul out of their butts.
This is not a movie to be taken seriously, yet so many still complain about it being ridiculous. With a description like the one above, what else would you expect? Bruce Campbell doesn't do straight movies anymore, and as long as you go in knowing what you are about to see is strange, you'll enjoy every minute of it.