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Pleasant Surprises: Movies That Exceeded (Low) Expectations

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Do you have movies that you just did not want to see, but when you did, you found yourself liking it?

 

When I heard they were doing a Footloose remake, I couldn't believe it. I protested! Refused to watch it! Ugh!

But then I hate watched it one day and found...I actually didn't mind it. I know. I ought to be ashamed, but I contend that it wasn't a bad remake. When this movie starts airing on TBS or VH1, I know it will become one that I will always stop to watch, like Dirty Dancing.

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21 Jump Street. I'm not a big fan of Jonah Hill and I was a fan of the 1980's t.v. series. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the movie.

 

Also, 17 Again. It looked dumb so I never even thought about catching it in the theaters. Color me surprised when I discovered that Zac Efron is actually a pretty good actor.

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I rolled my eyes at the previews of We're The Millers. A friend of mine wanted to get together for a movie and that was the one she picked. Wasn't excited about it. Turned out to be one of my favorite movies of last summer.

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Pirates of the Caribbean will always be my #1 in this category.  I was dragged to the theater one afternoon while a friend was here from out of town and she wanted to see it.  I had no desire.  None.  Disney movies annoyed me at the time (live action ones anyway) and I flatly refused.  She finally got me to agree when I realized we had shit else to do anyway.

 

Johnny Depp - at the time - had always seemed like this weird, self important, dick to me and I didn't really like him.  Not to mention up until that moment the only thing he'd ever been in that I considered normal was 21 Jump Street.  

 

I walked out of that theater supremely impressed.  While the other movies of the franchise may have paled in comparison, the first one was damn good.  

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Mamma Mia (the movie). My mother wanted to see it because Greek scenery porn. She hated it. I didn't love it, but it was watchable, less-than-stellar singing and all.

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I went to see Blended a few weeks ago. The movie had been in theaters for 3 weeks and not one person I knew had seen it. Thought it was going to be terrible, and it was pretty good. 

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Maleficent.  I went with such low expectations (my daughter wanted to see it) that I figured I'd end up zoning out or napping.  I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. 

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Megamind. I got dragged out to see it by a friend, and had absolutely no knowledge of what it was except that the title character was a supervillain and he was played by Will Ferrell, whom said friend hates with a fiery and violent "yes, we get it, your rage is very impressive, can we talk about anything else now?" passion, so I have no idea why she was so adamant that we see it. My highest hope for it was "Maybe I won't want to claw my eyes out after ten minutes." I wasn't expecting something that was equal parts ridiculous, genuinely funny, and sweet, with a sprinkling of insight into who the world's real villains are.

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I enjoyed Megamind too, Tabbyclaw.  

 

What's Your Number? was a lot funnier than I thought it would be.  It's a great Sunday afternoon movie.

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What's Your Number? was a lot funnier than I thought it would be.

 

House Bunny too! Although that may fit better in the "stupid movies I watch over and over" thread. Anna Faris really commits to her leading roles, but they are rarely expected to do well. We should have more confidence in our little Anna.

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Fast Five. I had to take a client to see it because she was a huge Paul Walker fan and was dreading it, but the movie was much more enjoyable than I anticipated.

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Undercover Brother. It's not great, but there are some very funny bits, the chicken commercial with Billy Dee Williams in particular. 

 

Oh and About a Boy, I saw Hugh Grant and expected a silly rom-com, but I enjoyed it for Grant's acerbic attitude towards everything around him.

Edited by jellysalmon
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17 Again definitely fits this character for me. Wasn't expecting to like Zac Efron in this but he was good and actually was believable as a forty something stuck in the body of 17 year old.

 

Loved Megamind as well.

 

Also surprised by how much I liked She's Out of My League.

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Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter! I though it would be just another of "those" movies. Boy it was so much more meaningful than I thought it would be. They way the story uses events of the time and his presidency; who ever thought this up was a genus. I actually cried at the end. Check it out.

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47 Ronin-I knew Keanu would try oh so earnestly going. But I ended up enjoying it. Pacific Rim is another one.

I had such low expectations for Pacific Rim since I really don't care for Transformers films. That opening sequence where those damned dirty kaiju started wrecking San Francisco got me super invested in the big-robot drivers killing them all as soon as possible. Whenever one went down, there was a lot of mental fist pumping.

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I ended up being pleasantly surprised by Now You See Me.  I thought it was going to be terrible, but it was actually a very enjoyable movie, and the leads had great chemistry together.  Woody Harrleson in particular was hysterical.

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He's Just not that into you. I thought it was going to be another stupid rom com (especially since Jennifer Aniston is in it), but it turns outs to be a pretty good film. I watch it all the time.

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Spanglish and Click. I expected typical dumb Adam Sandler movies, but instead I got two pretty good movies. Spanglish wasn't even really that much of an Adam Sandler movie- it really was about the relationship between mothers and daughters and materialistic values in American society.

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I had no interest in Edge of Tomorrow, despite that I don't hate Tom Cruise and don't particularly like Emily Blunt.  But it turned out to be my favorite film of the summer.  And yes, it's based on a book, but it was refreshing to have a solid action film that wasn't based on comics or 80s cartoons.

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I am putting this here because I had no expectations when I saw this movie. I wish everyone could have this experience at least once in a lifetime.

When I was young my sisters took me to see a movie I had never heard of. It was opening weekend, and I never saw a trailer, heard a spoiler, or even knew the name of it. It was late (would end past my bedtime!) and the movie was packed. No one moved while the movie played, and when it was over we all gave it a standing ovation. I don't know how it holds up to time because I have never seen it again -don't want to tarnish the memory.

It was E.T.

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I am putting this here because I had no expectations when I saw this movie. I wish everyone could have this experience at least once in a lifetime.

...

It was E.T.

 

I was spoiled, but still enjoyed the movie immensely.

 

I walked into the first Indiana Jones movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark) that way.  Totally had no idea what to expect.  Walked out and all I could think of was that I just witnessed a classic.  I saw it five times in that week.  And each time I watch it in the last 33 years (at least once a year), I still feel it's a classic.

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When I saw the previews for Galaxy Quest, I thought it was going to be awful. 

 

Turned out to be a sci fi classic.  And what a great cast, full of well known veterans at the time and also up and coming performers.  Enrico Colantoni was on Just Shoot Me but had not done Veronica Mars, a young Justin Long, Tony Shalhoub after Wings but before his great role in Monk. 

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I had heard horrible things about This is The End, but I ended up really liking it! Everyone was funny, and even though it was raunchy, it was actually kind of sweet.

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After it had been in the cinema for several weeks, I finally let a friend of mine persuade me to go to Titanic in 1998 with her.

I expected to be bored to tears by the romance and just counting down the minutes until the iceberg showed up and I could enjoy the 'disaster movie' element of it.

 

But in spite of myself, I did actually enjoy the pre-iceberg part of the movie as well as the sinking. 

(not enough to ever bother re-watching it, but I definitely didn't feel like I'd wasted the price of admission)

 

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Interview with the Vampire. I was a fan of the book, and like its author thought that Tom Cruise was horribly miscast, but he proved me wrong and owned the role of Lestat. Likewise Kirsten Dunst overcame my worries about a child actress living up to Claudia, and even Brad Pitt managed not to embarrass himself.

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If watching unpleasant people doesn't bother you, check out The September Issue. It's a month in the life of Vogue magazine, with a marvellous woman named Grace Coddington as the creative spirit driving the magazine and Anna Wintour as the monster at the center of the maze. They even managed to make me feel a tiny bit sorry for Anna Wintour, whose family is uniformly genteelly horrified by the vulgarity of her professional persona (which may, the movie seems to suggest, not be so much a persona).

I don't think I've picked up a copy of Vogue (or any fashion magazine) in 35 years. I've watched it twice so far. Just riveting.

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If watching unpleasant people doesn't bother you, check out The September Issue. It's a month in the life of Vogue magazine, with a marvellous woman named Grace Coddington as the creative spirit driving the magazine and Anna Wintour as the monster at the center of the maze.

 

That sounds a lot like The Devil Wears Prada.

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That sounds a lot like The Devil Wears Prada.

 

Meryl Streep was a much more relatable Anna Wintour than Anna Wintour was.

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I didn't necessarily have low expectations, but I wasn't expecting to like Seeking a Friend For the End of the World as much as I did. I really like Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell together and I really liked the ending

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Pleasantville.  What a beautiful little movie.

 

I saw it when I was 12, and I expected something like that John Ritter comedy about a man and his wife getting stuck in a t.v. universe. I did not expect something that deep. It was great.

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That Awkward Moment. It was surprisingly funny and sweet. Zac Efron was funnier than I ever knew he could be (this was before I saw Neighbors) and I thought Miles Teller was hilarious. Now he's getting awards buzz! Michael B. Jordan was great as always and it was nice to see him do a lighter role. All in all, it was way better than I expected and I wouldn't mind watching it again. 

Edited by SallyAlbright

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Hybridcookie, I thought the ending of Seeking a Friend.... was really well done in its simplicity.  After it happened, the hub and I just kind of sat there, a little stunned; but it's likely what the end would be like.   Despite some real implausibilities in the film,

(like Martin Sheen's tiny plane was really going to get KN  to England?)

 I also liked the movie more than I thought I would, and a lot of that came from the

starkness of the

ending. 

Edited by harrie
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I saw it when I was 12, and I expected something like that John Ritter comedy about a man and his wife getting stuck in a t.v. universe. I did not expect something that deep. It was great.

LMAO! I loved Stay Tuned!

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I was dragged practically kicking and screaming to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D by my hubby and little brother. I expected to hate it but I ended up enjoying it. It's not masterpiece cinema but was funny, had some good action and Megan Fox wasn't horrible. I saw a lot of films in the cinema this summer (Godzilla, Expendables 3, Edge of Tomorrow) but I probably liked this the best,

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Prefacing my comment with the fact that I really dislike all things Jackass, I just saw Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and I have to say that was the funniest movie I have seen since the South Park movie.  I won't spoil any of the pranks - which again, I am normally NOT a fan of - but this raunchy, poignant little gem made me snort-laugh a couple of times.  The kid playing the grandson practically steals the movie with what I can only call a genius performance and actually reveals a lot about humanity without seeming to mean to. 

 

Definitely give this one a chance if you come across it!

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I have two that I immediately thought of when I saw this

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: I'm not a comic book person so didn't know anything about it, but some friends and I wanted to take a road trip to the drive-in and didn't really care what we were seeing. I was ready to snark it to pieces, but I really enjoyed it at the end. 

 

Toy Story 3: Unpopular opinion, Toy story came out when I was 10-13, so I should have enjoyed it, but it just didn't click for some reason. I didn't see TS 2 (because I thought TS1 was overrated), so I wasn't too excited to go to TS 3 with my crew of mid 20-something friends. Boy, was I wrong (and bawling during the incinerator scene). 

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Just watched Blended and it definitely was better than I expected. Still a pretty terrible movie, but it had some parts that really made me laugh and Adam Sandler was pretty charming at times.

 

Also, worth leaving the credits run because he sings a pretty adorable song with his girls over them.

Edited by purplemouth
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I got dragged to see A Million Ways to Die in the West during one port visit on a base where there was fuck else to do. I do not care for Seth MacFarlane, Sarah Silverman after that horrid show of hers or Amanda Seigfried and despite it being free, I expected to get a 90 minute nap or be throwing things at the screen.

But then, the movie was actually good. Sarah Silverman stole the show in a role than upon reflection only someone with her....er, unique sense of humor could play. Amanda Seigfried is still bland as outmeal, but plays off of Neil Patrick Harris pretty well. The only nitpick I have was the trailer spoiling the one notable, obligatory MacFarlane 80s reference (I won't mention it in case anyone doesn't already know, but it's hilarious). Besides that, it makes me see MacFarlane can be funny when he actually tries to not entirely pander to the lowest common denominator.

Ona tangent to that, I later discovered that many of the long time FG fans and those that enjoyed Ted (which I hated) did not care for this film. Make of that what you will.

Edited by Anna Yolei
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ITA with 21 Jump Street and We Are The Millers.  I only saw the latter when it came out because my cousin was in town and it was the only movie out that we were even slightly interested in.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I laughed.

 

And I thought Guardians of the Galaxy would be just a poor man's Avengers, but it turned out to be my favorite movie from last summer.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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Bring It On. I literally saw it because I was waiting for a rain storm to pass and it was starting at the right time. I expected a dumb little inoffensive comedy. I think my plan was if it's awful I can take a nap. It was hilarious! I still do the Brrrr It's Cold in Here cheer from time to time.

Edited by FozzyBear
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I don't know what made me think of it after all of these years, but George of the Jungle.  A friend told me that she took the kids she was babysitting to see and was surprised at how much she like it.  So, I decided to try it and found it quite charming.  Even funny a lot of the time.

 

Bring It On was another one as were other teen-type comedies like Easy A and Clueless.  I really enjoyed all three.

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I can't stand Bring It On (as I recently posted in the Unpopular Opinions thread), but I really enjoy Clueless, and when I saw this thread title I opened it to post about Easy A.  I had never even heard about it when it was in theatres, but when it went through a run of being frequently shown on TV, I decided to check it out based on the adult cast they'd somehow managed to get into what I assumed would be a stupid teen comedy.  The next thing I knew, I owned the Blu-Ray disc and was screening it for friends.  The film is equal parts charming and sharp and has some great things to say while entertaining you, and it's no wonder Emma Stone has gone on to a successful career (I'm assuming this was one of her first major gigs).

Edited by Bastet
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Speaking of Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone, there's Blast from the Past, which is a little more charming than your usual rom-com.  Mostly due to Brendan Fraser and Dave Foley.

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Speaking of Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone, there's Blast from the Past, which is a little more charming than your usual rom-com.  Mostly due to Brendan Fraser and Dave Foley.

I loved them in that movie. I am officially heartbroken that when they finally make the Terry Pratchett Vimes movies Brendan Fraser will be too old to play Captain Carrot.

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